enquiries@tywigateway.org.uk Parc a Gerddi yr Esgob, Abergwili, Sir Caerfyrddin SA31 2JG


Horticulture is a key aspect of our heritage at Bishop’s Park, and a major part of our ongoing restoration. In unearthing the site’s gardening past we aim to understand how the historic methods and techniques of yesteryear can be used to inform a more sustainable future, both for the people and for the wildlife that share this unique and special place.

Bishop John Jenkinson’s redesign

The period 1825 to 1840 was a time of great change at Bishop’s Park. Bishop John Jenkinson was resident at the palace and took a keen interest in the grounds and their development, inspired by the Gardenesque landscape style of John Claudius Laudon. When re-designing the site, he made a conscious effort to blend some of the more stately informal elements, inherited from Bishop Lord George Murry, with prominent formal ones. It was the bare traces of this re-design that the Tywi Gateway Trust in turn inherited in 2018, with the purpose of restoring it back to former glory.

But although our restoration focuses on reinstating some of the distinctive garden and landscape features that Bishop John Jenkinson created in the 1830s, the site’s horticultural lineage goes back much further still, with the grounds having undergone many changes over the centuries. Those changes brought with them new and exciting horticultural discoveries and transformations.

From the Victorian glasshouses in the Walled Garden, to the ha-ha, and the many stately trees across the Park, the site’s august residents were often at the cutting edge of garden and landscape design and innovation.

So, while attempting to remain as faithful as possible in recreating the grounds to something Bishop Jenkinson would recognise, we also try to maintain the pioneering spirit that would have driven him – and many of the other Bishops who lived here – when creating their beautiful estate.

restored and conserved

The Park now boasts a number of discreet areas, each with their own special horticultural qualities and with much to offer the visitor. The Jenkinson Garden is a re-design of the formal garden Bishop Jenkinson constructed there, with roses, perennials, herbs and hedges all rubbing shoulders. The Woodland Garden, a relaxing stop-off with majestic views of the Towy Valley, is planted with native and historically introduced trees and shrubs. And the Walled Garden, slowly coming back to life after many years of neglect, will one day play a central role in the sustainability of the Bishop’s Park, providing produce for the café and a space for events and educational activities.

The story is still being written…

All these areas tell the history of the Bishop’s Park in their own way, but the story is still being written. At a time when sustainability and working with nature is of such high priority, horticulture at the Bishop’s Park is perfectly placed to put these centre stage.

As far as possible we garden organically, using muscle power to control weeds, and encouraging a balance of wildlife by providing crucial habitat and food resources for a host of native flora and fauna.

Over time we also aim to offer courses in fundamental approaches to gardening that people can take home with them, and undertake in their own gardens.

Above all, the gardens at Parc Yr Esgob-Bishop’s Park are intended to provide a beautiful, relaxing and stimulating environment, inspiring people to learn about our living history and get closer to the wonderful array of wildlife right on the doorstep of Carmarthen.