Plas Tan y Bwlch
Discover the beautiful gardens and grounds of Plas Tan y Bwlch, a spectacular Victorian garden nestling in dramatic mountain scenery within the Snowdonia National Park. Covering 13 acres, this 'garden for all seasons' hosts a magnificent collection of flowering rhododendrons and azaleas in spring which includes a 120-year-old rhododendron tunnel. In summer, shrubs, roses and herbaceous plants growing in the warm south-facing sunny borders are a delight and in October and early November the autumn leaf-colours are not to be missed.
Overlooking the garden is a dramatic Victorian-Gothic mansion, which was once home to wealthy slate-quarry-owners the Oakeley family. Now run as the Snowdonia National Park Authority Centre, it is also possible for garden visitors to view inside this historic building.
Much of the garden seen today was originally laid out for William Edward Oakeley by Head Gardener John Roberts in a period lasting from 1879 until 1912. This garden post-dates earlier landscapes works which were carried out on the estate in the romantic picturesque-style very much in favour during the 18th and early 19th centuries. These earlier works, commissioned by William Edward Oakeley’s grandfather William Oakeley, included improving the agricultural land in the valley, which until his arrival was a tidal estuary (today the actual coastline is two miles away). He built nearly a mile of embankments to contain the river and reclaimed the land from regular flooding. It is also suggested that he altered the river’s course and created a series of graceful meanderings to improve the aesthetic nature of the view from the mansion above.
During the winter of 2013 – 2014 North West Wales was battered by a succession of terrible storms culminating in the "St Valentine's Day Storm" which subjected Plas Tan y Bwlch to wind speeds in excess of 103mph on the 13th and 14th February 2014. Visitors in 2015 have the opportunity to view parts of the garden undergoing a fascinating restoration following extensive damage during those storms.
Visitors can also enjoy a tasty home-made cake in the Dwyryd Tea Room with spectacular views over the garden and valley. There is a video presentation on the history of this astonishing estate and a leaflet for you to follow the estate walks which lead past the beautiful waters of Llyn Mair (Welsh for Mary's Lake) to Tan y Bwlch station, where the Ffestiniog Steam Railway can be joined.
The Centre organizes a wide range of residential and day courses and activities covering all aspects of the environment, countryside, culture and history for both the general public and training for those working in the environmental sector. The facilities are also available for private functions, meetings and seminars, please enquire for further details.
Garden open daily 10.00am until dusk
Tea Room open from Easter to October 11.00am to 4.00pm
Gardens £4.00 adults, £2.00 children
Snowdonia National Park Centre
Plas Tan y Bwlch
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