Twyn yr Hydd

By Joyce Hunt - Horticultural Renovation Officer

Twyn yr Hydd Project - October 2018-June 2019

Phase one of the Twyn yr Hydd garden restoration project has been very successful so far, the herringbone path revealing Ralph Hancock’s work, and the grass seeds sewn in June have grown laying a bare canvas for the original rose bed designs, restoring the grade 2 listed walled rose garden to its former glory.

During our research into the garden we have enjoyed many visitors, former Park Manager Basil George, former Parlour maid Diane James, and the Chauffeur Bill Jones’s granddaughter Rosemary Jones, who were able to recount tales of Twyn yr Hydd social history during the 1950’s which has been recorded with some interesting photos.

 We have also visited the only other known Royal Horticultural garden, which is at St Quentin’s House, Llanblethian with Margam Parks Head Gardener Jeanette Dunk, meeting Lorna Callaghan’s gardener, where there are fine examples of Ralph’s signature features Westmoreland stonework, clairvoyees and a magnificent sundial designed by Bramley, Ralph’s son.

Photos are recorded on the Twyn yr Hydd group page.

We are also learning and developing alongside the project with Jeanette Dunk and Lisa Roberts who is a member of the park staff and Garry Davies, Duty Manager who are advising us as to which are the original plants in the garden, and which ones to remove.

During our restoration bees, bats, the apple orchard and the Hebe collection have all been on the agenda, as well as a session pond dipping to record the amphibian biodiversity.

During my research into the “missing fountain mystery” I met Sir Martyn Evans-Bevan at the Felyn Fach Inn Griffin in the Brecon, (who promised me original photos of the grade 2 listed garden during the 1950’s) which will help with defining the rose beds. Lady Evans-Bevan told me that they didn't have the fountain!

However, during a recent visit to Felin Newydd, (Sir Martyn and Lady Jennifer’s former home) where the Evans-Bevan family took the whole household during the shooting season in the 1950s, I saw the Twyn yr Hydd fountain in the grounds. Huw Evans-Bevan later confirmed that this was taken from Margam to Felin Newydd Brecon when Sir David sold the estate and went to Jersey mystery solved!

Following a visit by Robert Jones Head of Neath Port Talbot Council, Tata Steel has agreed to fund a new fountain and sundial, the fountain will be a bronze twisted dolphin in keeping with the Orangery fountains, and I have designed a barley twist column a signature feature in Ralph’s gardens with a Friends of Margam Park logo deer on the top.

Our dedicated volunteers have been working alongside Margam Parks own gardeners throughout the summer, until work can be resumed in October at Twyn yr Hydd. We have uncovered more of Margam Village road to the pub that was originally there, weeded the walled garden and planted flowers.

Research is still ongoing regarding the sundial, and the original and Victorian gardens. There is also the link between the Twyn yr Hydd and castle terraced gardens, and the Orangery with a view to showing visitors historic gardens at the park.

A very rewarding project undertaken by Friends of Margam Park who would like to thank all park staff for their help.