Amazing landscapes in Wales
National Botanic Garden of Wales
It has long been known that the National Botanic Garden of Wales occupies what was once one of the finest Regency landscapes and water parks in Britain but what is less known is that a remarkable record of its beauty was created 200 years ago.
A rare and valuable collection of paintings is paying a fleeting visit to its original home in south West Wales.
The paintings, thought lost for ever when they were stolen in the 1960s, are today in the hands of the descendants of Sir William Paxton, the empire nabob, businessman and politician who established his country retreat on the estate that went on to become the first national botanic garden of the new millennium.
Paxton commissioned Thomas Hornor to paint the scenes in 1814 to commemorate the beautiful parkland he had created.
Today, Hornor is almost forgotten but, in the early 19th century, he was a sensation, one of the foremost landscape watercolourists of his generation who famously developed a technique for reproducing accurate topographical representations of the scenes he painted.
Seven of Hornor’s original fourteen paintings survive and they are a unique record of the vision that Paxton realised.
Garden Director, Rosie Plummer, taking delivery of the paintings commented: “We are delighted to have the pictures back here for the first time in nigh on 200 years and are immensely grateful to the Paxton family for their generous loan and permission to reproduce them.
“Not only are they fine and decorative in their own right but they will also be the blueprint for what will be the largest landscape restoration project in Wales.
“The vistas that Paxton created all those years ago are fundamentally unchanged but lost to view beneath two centuries of growth. The largest of the lakes he created was drained in the 1930s but is capable of being restored to its former glory and used, as it was then, for the benefit and pleasure of visitors to the estate.
“This represents another step for us along the road to fulfilling one of the original aims of the Garden’s early supporters. Hornor’s paintings will help us recreate the original planting regimes, even down to identifying varieties and species of plants, reinstate the impressive dams, falls and cascades and the images, once they’re professionally photographed, will be put on display for all to see.”
* High resolution versions of all seven of the Hornor paintings are available
* Imagery reproduced with the kind permission of the Grant family
CB300 WEBSITE GOES LIVE…………………………
The AGT are delighted to announce that the CB300 site Celebrating 300 years of Capability Brown’s stunning landscape designs has now gone live at:
www.capabilitybrown.org, click on the link to explore the site and to quote them, Discover, Learn and Enjoy.
Giving to Heritage Survey
The Heritage Alliance is currently developing a £500,000 HLF funded fundraising programme for the independent heritage sector: Giving to Heritage. This is a once in a generation opportunity to equip heritage enthusiasts with the skills and know-how to improve our fundraising capability and diversify our incomes for a more secure future.
To make sure the programme delivers what the sector needs we need to know more about what people want. We set out in our first round bid our general approach but now we want the views of as many people as possible from organisations large and small working across the range of heritage interests to refine this further.
To capture that information we've put together a straightforward 5 minute survey, which you can access immediately by clicking on the link below:
Please take a few minutes to fill it in yourself, and just as importantly, please forward it throughout your networks and e-bulletin so we get the maximum input and optimum end result for our various constituencies. The deadline for responses is the end of August.
Thank you. And of course please let me, or Gail Caig our new Giving to Heritage Development Officer, have any queries.
With all best wishes
The Heritage Alliance
Clutha House 10 Storeys Gate
Westminster London SW1P 3AY
DD: 0207 2330 800
Giving to Heritage background:
The project has been developed by The Heritage Alliance, in partnership with the Institute of Fundraising, in response to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s 10 Point Philanthropy Plan. It has successfully secured first round funding under the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Catalyst programme. It is now in development phase, working to submit a second round submission to the HLF by the 30th September.
Giving to Heritage intends to deliver over 8,500 training opportunities to heritage enthusiasts working with:
· The Historic Environment,
· Museums Libraries and Archives,
· Historic Landscapes,
· Industrial, Transport and Maritime and
· Intangible Heritage such as oral histories.
The training will be rolled out regionally, over 2014-15, by the Institute of Fundraising’s network of professional trainers supported by heritage experts. It will be delivered through training workshops, advice surgeries, peer to peer learning, mentoring and online tools.
It will cover a range of topics including:
developing fundraising leadership,
trusts and foundations,
full cost recovery,
using digital and social media and
audience analysis and marketing.
Information on the Giving to Heritage project can also be found on The Heritage Alliance website at:
The Alliance's comment on the plans for English Heritage following the Spending Review
The Heritage Alliance is a company limited by guarantee in England and Wales no 4577804 and registered charity no 1094793.
Inspirational Horticulturists – Rooted in Wales
at NBGW room 3 of the Apothecary's Hall
A new exhibition curated by our National Botanic Garden of Wales Library volunteers and designed by students from Coleg Sir Gar.
This exhibition is a snapshot of horticulturists and garden-makers, past and present, rooted in Wales, whose work is seen as making a significant contribution towards garden-making within the UK and beyond. We hope it will be a catalyst for developments in gardening in Wales in the 21st
century – to bring together preservation with development, food production with leisure and therapy activities and the spreading of knowledge and practice from the gardeners of yesterday, through the gardeners of today to the gardeners of tomorrow.
We see these gardeners as an initial selection from the many whose horticultural knowledge and enthusiasm through the ages has reached out to a wider audience through their writings in books and journals, their public lectures, through private visitors and by opening their gardens or creating gardens for the public at large. They represent a cross section by time, location, speciality and gender.
Historic, by date
- Sir Edward Stradling – St Donat’s Castle, Glamorgan, 1529-1609
- Sir Thomas Hanmer – Bettisfield, Flintshire, 1612-1678
- Ladies of Llangollen – Plas Newydd, Llangollen (Sarah Ponsonby 1755-1831 & Eleanor Butler 1739-1829)
- Thomas Mawson – Dyffryn Gardens, Cardiff, 1861-1933
- William Pettigrew – Roath Park & Cathays Park amongst others, Cardiff, 1867-1947
- Arthur Tysilio Johnson – Bulkeley Mill, Caernarfonshire, 1873-1956
- Loveday Gee – Llanllyr, Talsarn, Ceredigion
- Charles Hawes and Anne Wareham – The Veddw, Gwent
- Tony Ridler – Cockett, Swansea
- Ivor Stokes – National Botanic Garden of Wales and public parks
- Medwyn Williams – Llanor, Llanfairpwll, Anglesey
- Sue and Bleddyn Wynn-Jones – Crûg Farm, Caernarfonshire
The future of our past — consultation launched
Friday 19 July 2013
The Welsh Government’s Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths AM, visited Blaenavon Ironworks on 18 July 2013 to launch, The future of our past, the consultation on proposals for the first legislation on the historic environment that will be specific to Wales.
Wales's heritage attracts large numbers of visitors and employs over 30,000 people, contributing £1.8billion to the Welsh economy every year. However, the historic environment is fragile and the significance of historic buildings and archaeological sites can be lost through carelessness, neglect or unsympathetic change.
The Heritage Bill and associated measures will aim to modernise, streamline and simplify controls while making protection more effective where it is needed.
The consultation includes proposals that may affect many areas of our historic environment. They include:
- the simplification of the listed building process by giving clarity on what works require consent;
- the introduction of more effective measures to protect our ancient monuments and historic buildings from unauthorised works and ensure that fines act as an effective deterrent;
- the introduction of greater transparency when deciding which historic sites need protection, giving owners a clear voice;
- the introduction of agreements that allow positive long-term management of historic buildings and monuments whilst reducing bureaucracy; and
- the consideration of options for the merger of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales with Cadw.
Speaking before the launch the Minister said:
'The historic environment is an important contributor to local distinctiveness.
'It’s central to our tourism offer with heritage being one of the top reasons people give for visiting Wales.
'Moreover, the historic environment can contribute to life-long learning, through formal education and informal learning and by developing skills and confidence through active participation. It also plays a role in the fight against poverty, making an important contribution to regeneration, renewed community confidence and inward investment.
'This consultation includes proposals for the first ever heritage legislation specifically for Wales, which will guide the sector for years to come.
'The historic environment belongs to us all so I would urge people to respond to this consultation and get involved.'
The consultation document is now available as a pdf from the consultation pages of the Welsh Government website. You will also find a response form there that you can save to your computer and complete at your leisure.
The three-month consultation will close on 11 October 2013, so please be sure to submit your response before that date. Full details on how to respond are available in the consultation document and on the response form.
A consultation response report will be published later in the year.
If you have any questions about the consultation, please email
or telephone 01443 336090/1.
Pastures New at Bodnant
From July 1 the Old Park will open to visitors who can enjoy a stroll through this picturesque meadow brimming with wildflowers and mature native trees.
Bodnant Garden is slowly giving up its secrets as the gates open to areas which have, until now, been closed to the public.
The Old Park is the oldest area of Bodnant Garden. It was landscaped when the original house was built in the 1700s in the naturalistic style of the day, with a ha-ha (a ditch) to keep sheep and cows away from the mansion.
It has remained unchanged over the years as the rest of the Garden has evolved.
The area has always been visible from the public garden, offering visitors views of swathes daffodils in spring, wildflowers in summer, leaf colour in autumn and snowdrops in winter.
However from next week people can enjoy it close up.
Visitors will be able see the work being done to preserve the area’s wildlife. When surveyed in 2010, the meadow contained 23 species of grasses and wildflowers.
It will be cut in August, the hay removed to keep soil fertility low, which encourages wildflowers to grow, then grazed in the autumn. Visitors will now have the chance to spot some of the 23 varieties of flowers and grasses present, as well as butterflies, day-flying moths and bees. The public will be able to enjoy new views of the house, garden and Snowdonia, whilst strolling through gently swaying grassland.”
Work is underway to open other parts of the Garden in the near future too.
Next year we will be opening The Yew Dell at the far south of the garden is a tranquil wooded area planted with rhododendrons, reminiscent of a Himalayan valley. Visitors will be able to get a sneak preview of the Yew Dell over the summer in a series of special walks.
Following this, in 2015, there are plans to open the area known as the Skating Pond at the far end of The Dell.