New wildlife-friendly gardens take shape this month at the Bishop’s Park, Abergwili, Carmarthenshire


© Emma Reardon

New wildlife-friendly gardens take shape this month at the Bishop’s Park, Abergwili, Carmarthenshire

Two new gardens are being created at the Bishop’s Park, Abergwili this month, 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 David’s, now home to Carmarthenshire Museum, and the new gardens form part of the wider restoration and conservation of the site, 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.  Educational resources and lesson plans showcasing the planting and installation of the garden are being created in partnership with local primary schools.

Andrew White, Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said:

“Nature is our oldest form of heritage and it has never been more important to look after nature and help people to understand its importance. Nature can also boost our mood; reduce stress; help us to relax; improve our physical and mental health and it should be accessible to everyone.

“Funding nature and landscapes is one of The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s key strategic funding priorities in Wales and we are very happy to be working in partnership with the Welsh Government to award this ‘Local Places for Nature’ grant to the Tywi Gateway Trust so that people of the area can learn more about and benefit from their own natural heritage.”

The new Bishop Jenkinson’s Garden

The new Bishop Jenkinson Garden under construction.

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 to 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 new woodland garden area lies at the edge of the main woodland at the Bishop’s Park and was first opened up 5 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 and spring-flowering bulbs and the introduction of bird and bat boxes will enhance the native flora and fauna and benefit woodland wildlife.  The new woodland garden area will be planted up with the help of two apprentices from the Dyffryn Tywi project, Dan and Ossian.

Dan and Ossian from the Dyffryn Tywi Project.

Louise Austin, Trust Manager, said “We are thrilled to receive this Welsh Government and National Lottery grant which is enabling us to create attractive new garden and woodland areas, using heritage plant varieties and benefitting pollinating insects and other wildlife. We are greatly looking forward to working with more local schools and community groups to develop a wide range of educational activities and materials for visitors, children and the local community.“

Community Focus

The Tywi Gateway Trust are keen to ensure the park is accessible for and enjoyed by all.  The project will enable local young people to work with the Tywi Gateway Trust’s Head Gardener Piers Lunt learning how to prepare, plant and care for the garden areas, including planting traditional Welsh varieties of apple trees such as Tinyrwydd and Bardsey.

The installation of the new gardens are part of the wider programme of restoration and enhancement of the Bishop’s Park managed by the Tywi Gateway Trust to conserve and restore the park and gardens to the period of their last major re-design in the 1840s.  This includes bringing the attractive walled kitchen garden back into production and improving public access to the adjacent Great Meadow, which will be managed to benefit the rare flood plain meadow habitat.  The project will also conserve the Bishop’s Pond ox-bow lake which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and restore the outbuildings of the Old Bishop’s Palace for use as a learning and interpretation centre with café, which will open in Autumn 2021.


Notes to editors

About the Tywi Gateway Trust

The Trust was set up in 2016 to: “promote for the benefit of the public at the Bishop’s Park and its cultural setting in Abergwili the conservation, protection, improvement and understanding of the built and natural environments.”

The Tywi Gateway Trust are currently delivering the Tywi Gateway Project at the Bishop’s Park, Abergwili, a £2.4m Parks for People project funded with a £1.2m grant by the National Lottery.

The Trust are a tiny charity with the equivalent of just 3 full time staff, relying on the generosity of volunteers and supporters to continue our work.

To give monthly to the Trust visit:

To find out more about the work of the Trust visit:

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About the Grant
‘Local Places for Nature’ is a Welsh Government grant scheme intended to enable communities in Wales to restore and enhance nature. The National Lottery Heritage Fund provides a financial contribution to the scheme and manages the scheme on behalf of Welsh Government.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.   Follow @HeritageFundCYM on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

Further information

For further information, images and interviews please contact Louise Austin at the Tywi Gateway Trust on 07399 265237, email: