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Aberglasney celebrates momentous milestone next month

Aberglasney, once overgrown and derelict, is thrilled to celebrate a significant milestone next month: the 25th anniversary of the gardens' restoration and public opening.

The history of Aberglasney dates back to medieval times, with references to its 'nine green gardens' found in a poem from that era. Documented since the days of Henry VIII, the grade II* listed mansion at Aberglasney has hosted numerous notable residents over the past 500 years, including a famous poet, artists, and a bishop. By 1995, Aberglasney was on the brink of collapse but was saved from ruin.

The Aberglasney Restoration Trust, funded by American benefactor Frank Cabot, purchased the house and gardens. The restoration project, conceived by William Wilkins CBE—founder of the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust and initial promoter of the National Botanic Garden of Wales—saw the development of a master plan for the gardens and mansion. Wilkins played a crucial role in fundraising and served as the first chair of the Trust. Aberglasney officially opened to the public on 4 July 1999, with restoration efforts continuing ever since.

William Wilkins recently expressed his pride in the project, saying, “As the founding Chairman of the Aberglasney Restoration Trust and Project Director of the restoration, I am very pleased to be part of this year’s 25th anniversary celebrations at Aberglasney. I am proud that it continues to go from strength to strength and continues to be an inspiration.”

To commemorate this milestone, Aberglasney will host a celebratory event starting at 11am on Thursday, 4 July 2024. The event will feature performances by pupils from Llandeilo Primary School, traditional folk dancing by Dansio Llanarthne, and a celebratory cake cutting by Aberglasney’s longest-serving gardener, Will Gibbon, who has been with Aberglasney for 25 years. Additionally, Côr Curiad Llanelli will perform, and the winner of the children’s 25th birthday card design competition will be announced.

Eleanor Keatley, Chairman of Aberglasney’s 25th Anniversary Celebration Group, shared, “We have planned an exciting programme of unique events and experiences to celebrate this landmark at Aberglasney. We hope our members and visitors will join us over the coming months to help celebrate this latest milestone. There will be opportunities to learn about Aberglasney’s history while work gets underway on exciting new projects to enhance our venue for the future.”

For the anniversary celebration weekend on 6 and 7 July, entry to the gardens will be priced at the 1999 rate of £3.95.

Jim Stribling, Aberglasney’s Director of Operations, commented, “This year is an exciting one for the future of Aberglasney. Later this year, work will begin to replace the terrace marquee of the Tearooms with a permanent dining area overlooking the pool garden, allowing for year-round enjoyment, regardless of the weather. Additionally, work has started on Allt Aberglasney, the woodland area adjacent to the gardens. We are improving access and conducting forestry work to beautify and make the site safe for future visits. Pathways and sympathetic plantings are planned, adding a new dimension to the Aberglasney experience.”

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