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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Tudor garden rediscovered
Gwydir Uchaf
The garden lies behind Gwydir Uchaf chapel
A rare Elizabethan garden which used to belong to one of the Conwy valley's most influential families has been uncovered.

The bowling green and ornamental viewing mount were rediscovered near the summerhouse of the powerful Wynn family at Gwydir Uchaf above Llanrwst.

The Tudor grounds, which is part of a Cadw-registered historic site, had lain forgotten in dense woodlands since the first half of the last century.

But it came to light once again when local schoolchildren set about clearing the area.

I would like for it to be restored so that local people can go there to enjoy and learn about the history of the place
Historian Gwyn Jones

It has a round-shaped bowling green and a ziggurat - a mount shaped like a "Walnut Whip" sweet, with paths spiralling up to its top.

The 17th century summerhouse belonged to the powerful Wynn family who lived at Gwydir Castle lower down the valley - regarded as one of the finest Tudor houses in Wales.

Gwydir Uchaf now belongs to the Forestry Commission which has offices there.

The cleared grounds lie behind the old family chapel at Gwydir Uchaf and local historian, Gwyn Jones from Llanrwst Historical Society, has called for the site to be excavated.

He says that more research needs to be done there.

"Nobody realised the ziggurat, which is like an Elizabethan maze with spiral footpaths, had been there for centuries.

"It has a wonderful view over the Conwy valley.

"Before the war, the people of Llanrwst used to go up to the old bowling green to sing hymns.

"Lady Willoughby would hold bean feasts for the poor of the town there.

"But there are no pictures of the site, I am trying to find out more about the place and how it looked."


Mr Jones says the site has many other historic gems which need researching such as "Celtic stones" which are said to line a Tudor footpath from the garden down to the road below.

In woods behind the garden is the steep crag of Carreg Gwalch which, says Mr Jones, was the hiding place of the 15th Century outlaw, Dafydd ap Siencyn, dubbed the "Welsh Robin Hood."

"In Wales we don't take notice of our historical sites - if this was in England, they would spend a lot of money on it," added Mr Jones

"I'd like to see archaeological excavations done there.

"And ultimately I would like for it do be restored so that local people can go there to enjoy and learn about the history of the place."

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15 Jul 03  |  Wales

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