The castle and garden is in Welshpool, Powys. The gardens are spread out over several Baroque terraces leading down through shrubs and giant cloud-shaped yew hedges to a large lawned area and a former kitchen garden and a woodland walk. All backed by a patchwork of fields, villages and hills of the Welsh border countryside.
The terraces include an Orangery and an Aviary with the sheltering walls angled towards the south-west providing a mild climate in which a number of shrubs and climbers can be found. In spring pretty blue ceanothus spreads like a cloud and pale yellow roses pick up the tones of the red sandstone walls.
There are a number of lead statues in the gardens, most found on the grand terraces and from the workshop of the Flemish sculptor John van Nost. The lead used most likely came from the Powis family’s own lead mines at Llangynog, Montgomeryshire.
The Yew trees are magnificent. The fourteen specimen ‘tumps’ that sit on the upper terrace along with lead urns as well as the bulging hedge at the northern end were probably planted in the 1720s. Other evergreens include darker Irish yews and towering walls of boxwood.
Each terrace has its own theme. Drier conditions on the narrow Aviary Terrace allow for sun-loving Mediterranean, Californian and Southern Hemisphere planting including cistus, carpenteria, broom, lavender and iris and silver artemesia. The roof is draped in wisteria and troughs of creeping figs. Fuchsias are a speciality and often grown in the old basketweave pots.
Lead figure of Hercules on a stone plinth. Hercules is depicted wearing a lion-skin and slaying the hydra (carved in stone), using a club which is made of wood. Behind is the spectacular yew hedge.
On the third terrace you find the Orangery and long, box-edged borders.
The bottom of the garden is now lawned (Great Lawn) and used for playing croquet. It used to be the kitchen garden, but now all that remains are the rare, old varieties of apple trees.
Ground cover, bedding plants, including hardy geraniums, roses and delphiniums stretch out from the half-timbered gardener’s bothy.
Here you can wander out of the formal garden and into a wilder woodland landscape, with a path curving towards the western ridge. This area is formed of acid sandstone in contrast to the limestone of the castle ridge and allows the planting of azaleas and rhododendrons.
The path leads to an ice-house and a Ladies’ Bath, both dating from the 19th century and you have views out towards the Long Mountain and Breidden Hills and across to the daffodil strewn paddock to the castle and terraces.
Returning to the western side of the castle we’ll have a peep into the courtyard and entrance to the castle (though I have yet to go inside as I always seem to spend my time in the gardens).
And a final look at the flowers in the woodland area, in springtime.
Size: 25 acres (10 hectares)
- Street: Powis Castle and Garden
- Postcode: SY21 8RF
- City: Welshpool
- County: Powys
- Country: United Kingdom
If you like a walk, long or short, then please visit Jo for her regular strolls in the UK and the Algarve and maybe you would like to join in too. She’s very welcoming.