Returning home from my break in North wales I decided to stop off at Bodnant Garden, a National Trust site in the Conwy Valley. It’s known for it’s extensive gardens spanning 80 acres of hillside and includes formal Italianate terraces, informal shrub borders, ornamental ponds, lakes and riverside walks, with plants from all over the world.
The site was gifted to the National Trust in 1949 by Henry McLaren, Lord Aberconway. However, the family still own the estate and Michael McLaren inherited the estate in 2003 on his father’s death and plays an active role as garden director. The house is “out of bounds” as it’s occupied by the family and the large shop/Garden Centre is owned and run by the estate and not the Trust. Personally, I’m never comfortable with these arrangements, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the gardens.
Most National Trust properties have a reasonably priced guide which will explain the history of the site. This wasn’t the case at Bodnant where the guide was a hardback costing, if I remember rightly, £30. Being rather stingy I decided against purchasing a copy, so was going to do some research online after my visit. However, Eunice posted an excellent detailed account on her blog just a short while after my return so she’s saved me some work!
I spent a couple of hours wandering round the gardens and more or less following the riverside paths in “The Dell” down to, and round, the Skating Pond, before making my way back through the Glades and Yew Garden to the house.
Returning to the house I visited the Craft centre and bought a rather attractive small porcelain hanging sculpture decorated with impressions of local flowers by Charlotte Bellis an artist who studied in Cumbria but who had grown up in Snowdonia.
Checking the pedometer app on my phone I found that I’d walked just over 2 miles exploring and wandering around the grounds. There were long queues in the two cafes on the site so I decided to give them a miss before returning to the car. The drive home along the M56 and M6 was not fun, but then it rarely is! I was surprised how busy the motorways were as it was only early afternoon and the roadworks “upgrading” the M6 to a so called “Smart Motorway”. didn’t help. Still, it would have been worse later in the afternoon.
I’d had an enjoyable solo stay in North Wales and was pleased that I’d managed to get up on to the Cardennau. I’d also been surprised on just how nice the coast was here and how my enjoyment hadn’t been affected by the proximity of the Expressway, which I hardly noticed at all. Arriving home I decided I needed to return to this stretch of coast, the mountains and the Conwy valley before too long.
Thanks for the link to my blog, I enjoyed doing the research on the garden’s history. I’m not surprised you didn’t buy the book, £30 is ridiculously expensive. It’s good to see your take on the gardens, especially the parts I didn’t see this time. I did take a photo of the Bath but it was in partial shade so didn’t look as pretty as it does in your shot. The mausoleum looks interesting, I really must explore round there before too long.
Thanks for that excellent tour, and Eunice’s, will save me £10 if I get to visit.
I walked the N. Wales Path 6 years ago and would highly recommend it for variety. Coast and Mountains. Bangor to Prestatyn. https://bowlandclimber.com/2016/07/22/north-wales-path-croeso-i-cymru/
I’ve been through your posts on that walk. Yo’ve certainly given me an idea! HMy sister in law lives in Prestatyn, so free bed and board at one end!)
I remember reading Eunice’s post and wanting to visit that garden after. With your gorgeous photos I now definitely want to go.
I think you’d like the garden. It’s some way for you to travel but you could combine with a walking (and sightseeing!) holiday in North Wales. Definitely recommended!!!
Great photos. I think some of the property owners want the best of both worlds but, as you say, it allows us access to interesting and beautiful sites that we wouldn’t otherwise see.
Love wandering someone else’s gardens!
I wish the gardeners would come over and sort out my miserable little patch!
I always have ideas, usually when I can’t sleep, in the winter or bad gardening days, but then I need to put things into action…sigh! =)