I last visited the gardens (and did a blog post) in May when they were full of spring colour. Yesterday (11th. Aug) I returned to see how they look in summer.
Bodnant gardens cover an area of about 80 acres, some formal gardens and lawns, and the dell which is a wild area. The gardens were given to The National Trust by Lord Aberconwy in 1949, but are still managed by the family, who continue to live in the hall.
The entrance and reception are fairly new, and make entering the gardens safer. You now walk under the road instead having to cross it. Through reception, and you are met with a colourful border.
The hall was built in 1792, and was bought in 1874 by Henry Davis Pochin, whose son-in-law was the 1st Lord Aberconwy. At that time the gardens were victorian shrubberies and lawns.
As you walk across the front of the building you come to the statue of priapus and a wonderful view across the Conwy valley, before turning to the side of the building and the Upper Rose terrace.
In May when I was last here there were no roses in bloom of course. now the terrace is full of colour and the perfume was intoxicating.
From the Rose terrace there is also a view across the Lily pond below and across the conwy valley.
Now I walked down to the Lily Terrace, and the wonderful display of Hydrangeas.
The Terrace was designed around the two Cedars which still stand at either end of the Lily Pond.
After the Lily Terrace I made my way down to The Canal Terrace and Pin Mill, passing more colourful borders along the way.
The long narrow stretch of water on the Canal Terrace has water-lilies at either end. At the north of the terrace is an open-air stage with a background of clipped Yews. At the southern end of the Terrace is the Pin Mill, originally constructed as a garden house in about 1730 in Gloucestershire. In 1938 it was in a decayed state. Lord Aberconwy bought it and incorporated some of it into the Pin Mill.
Leaving the Canal Terrace I made my way down the path leading to the Old Mill. The mill-race is of Tudor origin and was originallu used to power a blast furnace on the banks of Afon Conwy. Later it was used to turn the wheels of the flour mill, and later still to work the estate saw mill.
The Dell is the wilder part of the gardens, planted with many different conifers as well as Cypress, Wild cherry, Larch etc. The first conifers were planter in 1876 and many are now well over 100 feet high. The most notable are the Wellingtonia, Redwood, Western hemlock and Douglas fir.
Paths run up both sides of the Dell and which ever path you take you will see great tress and a variety of other plants.
Once over the bridge the path climbs alongside a stream, with the colourful Hydrangeas again in evidence.
As I continued up the path I got a view of the mausoleum. This was built by Mr Pochin as a last resting place for himself and his family.
I now followed paths leading back towards the hall, on the way passing more glorious coloured flowers and wonderful trees.
Now I’d arrived back close to the hall. I had another slow walk around the terraces and sat in the sun for a while.
Now it’s time to leave and I make my way back to the car park, and a welcome cup of coffee in the refreshment pavilion. Now a last look back, above the roof of Bodnant Hall across the Conwy valley.
If you’re in North Wales it’s worth visiting Bodnant Gardens, it really is a splendid day out. More details, opening times etc can be found here: http://www.bodnantgarden.co.uk/