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‘Bishop’ comes from the Greek word for ‘overseer’. So a bishop is a senior Christian minister authorised to have oversight for God’s people. As well as duties given to deacons and priests, bishops confirm and ordain.

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Green shoots

Something is going on at the bottom of the Bishop’s garden

Bishops Park Abergwili [Caryl Thomas]

Two new gardens are taking shape at the Bishop’s Park, Abergwili, thanks to a grant of £22,900 from Welsh Government and the National Lottery Heritage Fund Local Places for Nature fund.

The Park surrounds the old palace of the Bishops of St Davids, now home to Carmarthenshire Museum, and is adjacent to the present Bishop's Palace, which was built in the 1970s.

The new gardens form part of a wider restoration and conservation of the site by the Tywi Gateway Trust, including the transformation of derelict outbuildings to house a new café and learning and interpretation centre.

Historic plant varieties are being used to create attractive new planting displays beneficial for wildlife, as well as providing educational opportunities and activities for visitors and children.

Bishops Park Abergwili Carmarthenshire 1843 map

Bishops Park Abergwili Carmarthenshire - The Masterplan

Then (1843) and Now (2021)

The new Bishop Jenkinson’s Garden

Bishop Jenkinson Garden [March 2021]

The entrance area which currently greets visitors to the site is being transformed to provide a new garden for year-round interest, taking its design inspiration from the time of Bishop John Jenkinson (1825-1840). It will be circular in design, with attractive planting including espalier Welsh heritage apple and pear trees and a large range of culinary and medicinal herbs and plants available in the mid-19th century.

The garden is designed to provide a combination of native and ornamental plants providing nectar and pollen sources for insects, reflecting both the sustainable aims of the project and the rich history of the site.

New Woodland Area

The Great Meadow at the Bishops Park Abergwili - [c] Carol Thomas

The new woodland garden area lies at the edge of the main woodland at the Bishop’s Park and was first opened up five years ago when a mature beech tree had to be felled due to fungus making the tree unstable. This now forms an attractive sheltered open area in a natural bowl, looking out across the flood plain meadow where visitors will be able to sit and enjoy the plantings with the backdrop of the Tywi Valley and enjoy the wellbeing benefits of being in woodland.

New ornamental shrubs, small trees, spring-flowering bulbs and the introduction of bird and bat boxes will enhance the native flora and fauna and benefit woodland wildlife.

A programme of events for this year includes a celebration of meadows at a Haymaking Picnic in July, a Kite Flying and Kite Making Festival in August, and the revival of the Bishop’s Park Horticultural and Produce Show for September.

Details can be found on the Tywi Gateway website.