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Historic hall to introduce charges

Created on 14/04/2011 @ 13:58
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Where can you shake hands with a giant, view lichen that survived the pollution of the Industrial Revolution and stroll through an ancient oak woodland with spectacular formal gardens?
The answer is the 750-acre Gregynog Estate, near Newtown, described by Welsh heritage guardian CADW as “one of the most important parks and gardens in Powys, dating from at least the 1500s”. And this year the Hall is to charge for visitors to the gardens and walks in order to fund its upkeep.
To open up some of the most important and spectacular parts of the estate, four new colour coded walks have been created together with interpretation panels, a map leaflet and a bird hide, thanks to funding from the Countryside Council for Wales.
The historic estate, which comprises landscape ranging from formal gardens and parkland to marsh, farmland and woods, is located on the fringe of Tregynon village, about six miles from Newtown. Focal point is Gregynog Hall, a picturesque conference and event venue run by the University of Wales that was once the home of famous sisters Margaret and Gwendoline Davies.
Granddaughters of Victorian tycoon David Davies of Llandinam, the sisters amassed the largest collection of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works in Britain, which were bequeathed to the National Museums and Galleries of Wales.
To help visitors, including local people, fully appreciate the estate, the new Lily Lake Walk, Warren Walk, Great Wood Walk and Valley Walk have been created.
They offer something of interest for everybody. Walkers pass a buzzing bee apiary to the secluded Mellor’s cottage, take in the Davies sisters’ painting shed and Quakers Hall, which is perched in the middle of the lily lake and they can even shake hands with a giant or watch wildlife from a bird watching hide high up in Garden House Wood.
They can also enter a courtyard beneath the Gregynog dragon, stroll through the gnarled oaks of the Great Wood, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and view lichen which survived the pollution of the Industrial Revolution.
Gregynog Hall gardens promise to be a blaze of colour this spring as 20,000 newly planted bulbs and 400 roses come into bloom at various points, including the recesses of the famous yew hedge.
“Although there were a number of existing footpaths throughout the estate, the most important and dramatic areas were not necessarily accessible by these,” explained Gregynog Hall’s director Karen Armstrong.
“The wildlife interpretation panels, which we have installed with support from the Countryside Council Wales, enable visitors to understand the importance of the natural environment within Gregynog.”
To support the upkeep of Gregynog, visitors will be charged £3 for admission to the formal gardens from April 15 this year in addition to a £2.50 charge per car for the estate walks. An annual membership scheme costs £15 per individual and £25 for a family. Details are available from Gregynog on 01686 650224.
A new Easter range will be on offer in the gift shop. Gorgeous locally sourced food will be served in the courtyard café and there will be an Easter bunny hunt and storytelling from April 22-25 April from 11am to 3pm. A Wedding Fair takes place on the 8 May, being a rare opportunity to see the beautiful interiors of Gregynog Hall.
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