Bedwellty Park

Bedwellty Park

Bedwellty Park

Once, this was one of the most envied Parks in Gwent with its rich and glorious woodlands, beautiful ponds and wildlife. Unfortunately time and nature took its toll and over the years the Park lost some of its lustre. Thankfully with the grant funding, secured by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, the 26 acres of parkland was fully restored to its former glory, not only by enhancing what remained in 2010 but by refitting what were once originally there such as the fountains.

Within the Park grounds there are various attractions some with history and some which just bring beauty.

Bedwellty Park - The main entrance to Bedwellty Park, Morgan Street, greets you with grand Memorial Gates which were placed there in 1951.

Bedwellty House - A grade II listed building which originally started its life as a small farm built in 1803 and since then has undergone several extensions and renovations to become the House we see today. With the grant funded renovation works completed the House was restored to its former glory and once again has become a focal point for Tredegar. It past is rich in history from being the residence of Tredegar Ironworks' Ironmaster to becoming the home of Tredegar Urban District Council and finally the home of Tredegar Town Council.

Circular Gardens - These are situated at the front of Bedwellty House and were formed as a commemoration for Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1952.

Cenotaph - Situated approximately 60 metres to the east (in front of the House), this memorial is to all the men who fell in the First and Second World Wars. It was dedicated by Viscount Tredegar on 14th December 1924 and each year sees the Armistice Sunday Service for the wreaths laying.

The Ice House - The Ice House was built for Samuel Homfray in 1820 to be used as a "fridge". During the winter snow and ice would be collected and compacted in the deep chamber inside where it would remain frozen due to the lack of ventilation in the chamber. The chamber was then used to store food for the summer and for other domestic purposes. This building is rare in that it is unusual for a stone upper building to be sited over the brick-lined chamber. However it is believed the upper building was the owner's private chapel and in fact in a belfry on the gable roof is a bell cast at Tredegar Ironworks in 1837. This bell was rung for many years by the Park Keeper to signal the closing of the Park at dusk. This building is now also grade II listed.

The Kitchen Garden - This was used to grow all the produce for Bedwellty House but unfortunately over the years this is one area which became lost to nature, only the original shape/layout remains. During the 2010/11 renovations this area was completely restored with new boundary walls built and replanting to once again supply produce for the House.

Block of Coal - The original weight of the Block of Coal was an amazing 20 ton and it was the largest block of coal in the world to have been cut. It was cut in the Yard Level by John Jones ("Collier Mawr") with the intention for it to be transported to London for the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851. It was planned to be the centre piece of the Tredegar Iron Company's stand with models of various engines and machinery. Arrangements were to transport the block on specially made low carriages but this was nigh on impossible and after just moving some several hundred yards the track way on which it travelled became badly damaged resulting in a piece of coal, approximately 5 ton in weight, breaking off. But despite its reduced size, to 15 ton, it is still the largest block ever cut. It was decided to cut a smaller 2 ton block of coal from the same seam and exhibit this in the Festival of Britain.

The Ponds - Once full of wildlife and with its gentle cascade of water from the top pond down to the lower pond it gave a serene feeling to the Park. The ponds themselves are filled with natural water running from the surrounding mountains into the Park. Once again nature gained control and the ponds became over grown with shrubs and also polluted with litter. Thankfully this too has been fully restored during 2010/11; the ponds' stone walls have been rebuilt by hand, litter and excessive shrubs removed, and the natural water cascade from the top pond restored.

Long Shelter - This was originally the pavilion for spectators watching tennis or musical entertainment on the grassed court area in front. In later life it was home to the Chartist Mosaic commissioned by Tredegar Town Council. Unfortunately both the Long Shelter and Chartist Mosaic were severely damaged by fire which meant for safety reasons it had to be boarded closed. Thankfully, as part of the 2010/11 Park Restoration, the Long Shelter has been fully restored to its original glory - without the Chartist Mosaic - and now also includes the establishment of new gardens in front in place of the grassed area.

Ladies Shelter - This was formally an attractive wooden structure and feature which contained facilities for women and their children. Underneath the structure there were toilet facilities. Only the base of the original structure now remains and, as there is no building to renovate as part of the Park Restoration, it as been decided that this base will be used in the future to home a work of art/sculpture.

The Bandstand - This was built in 1911 using funds raised by Bedwellty Park Athletic Club and was officially opened in 1912 with a concert given by the Royal Marines Artillery (The Blue Marines). It has remained a focal point for various types of entertainment ranging from the summer band concerts to folk dancing and boxing/martial arts exhibitions. It is also a Listed Building which over the years has undergone extensive restoration work, thanks to grant funding plus match funding from Tredegar Town Council.

Grotto - This archway, sometimes called "The Crocodile's Mouth" or more commonly called "The Devil's Arch", is made from sharp inwardly pointed stones. It can be found at the rear of Bedwellty House and leads into a grotto containing a fountain and flower beds. The 2010/11 restoration project incorporated the return of this fountain which for many years has been disused and as this area is quite a shaded part of the Park the original planting of ferns and shade loving plants as been resumed.

Photographs of the Park pre-Restoration can be found in the gallery, Bedwellty Park.

Click on the links below to view pictures of the Park and House during its 2010/11 restoration:-

Park Renovations 1Park Renovations 2Park Renovations 3Park Renovations 4.

Further details and information on forthcoming events at the Park can be found at www.bedwelltyhouseandpark.co.uk .