Saturday, 4 July 2020 at 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Saturday 4 July at 1pm
A visit to Dewstow Gardens and Grottoes, Caerwent, Monmouthshire NP26 5AH
Cost: Members £12 and Guests £14 to include refreshments
We will travel across the Severn Bridge in early July to visit Dewstow Gardens and Grottoes, one of the less well-known attractions in South Wales, but also one of the most interesting.
Imagine discovering a lost garden with tunnels and underground grottoes buried under thousands of tonnes of soil for over 50 years. That’s what happened at Dewstow Gardens and Grottoes. Built around 1895, the gardens were buried just after World War Two and rediscovered in 2000. The gardens contain many ponds and rills, but also a labyrinth of underground grottoes, tunnels and sunken ferneries. The rock gardens are made up of a mixture of real stone and faced stone using Pulhamite.
In 1893, Henry Roger Keane Oakley became the owner of the Dewstow Estate. One of his main interests was the growing and cultivation of ferns, tropical flowers and plants. Shortly after his arrival at Dewstow, he embarked on the creation of a garden which is remembered by some older generations in the area as a wondrous and magical place.
‘This was a garden, the likes of which is not known to exist anywhere else’. On the ground level, there were many rock gardens, ponds, water features, ornamental areas, tropical glass houses and a vast variety of plants, shrubs and trees from around the world. These were spectacular, but not unique.
It is only when you go below these gardens, and you enter the subterranean world underneath, that you begin to understand the extent of the vision and enormous amount of work and skills involved in creating gardens that were distinctive at the turn of the C20 and, as far as we know, are still unique at the start of the C21.
Most of the surface gardens were filled in at various points over the years, but excavation has shown that what has been uncovered so far is in excellent condition.
All the glasshouses have long gone, as have the ornaments and many special features around the gardens which have been either broken up or sold by previous owners. The underground network is now opened up and, but for a few repairs, is in good condition.
We have looked into providing transport for these visits but the costs and complexity of the Avon area prevent us from achieving an affordable outcome. Arrangements for car share for any visit can be made through Peter Hills and every effort will be made to couple up attendees where requested.
For bookings on all events, please contact Peter Hills – [email protected]; phone 01275 858 809 or 07748 507 166 [Mob] for details; or post the attached booking form.