It's not known who originally created Rhyl's Botanical Gardens
As part of a guide to the region's urban parks, Rhyl South West Central Residents' Association give an insight into the chequered history of Rhyl's Botanical Gardens
The origin of the park has yet to be discovered. It is likely that the gardens were once part of the Ty'n Rhyl estate, reputedly the oldest house in Rhyl (1672). The earliest reference to the Rhyl Botanical Gardens discovered is in 1878 when it was sold by RD Roberts at public auction at the Royal Hotel in Rhyl, 2 September.
1672: Gardens part of private estate
1878: First written reference
1928: Opened to public
1970s: Start of long decline
2004: Locals win fight to save gardens
Between 1878 and the 1920s there were several owners but in the 20s the site was acquired by Rhyl Urban District Council and the Botanical Gardens were opened for Rhyl Council by their parks manager J. W. Jones in 1928 and the park has remained in the sole ownership and management of the Local Authority ever since.
On 25 March 1937 'The Coronation Gardens' were celebrated by having an avenue of trees planted and which still line the Vale Road entrance to the playing fields. Improvements continued into the 50s.
It is difficult to determine when the gardens once again fell into decline, but Rhyl suffered a general crisis of visitor demand from the 1970s and into the 1980s. At some point the children's cycle track was requisitioned by the council and this portion of the garden has been lost for a council depot facility.
However, by the 1990s the gardens became increasingly neglected and by 2003 were in a very sorry state. The café was derelict and boarded up with almost nothing besides the barest of maintenance in the garden. At this point the council proposed chopping down the trees and developing a two storey registry office and car park.
However, members of the community realised the value of this public space and the Rhyl South West Central Residents' Association mounted a spirited campaign to save the gardens. A total of 4,000 signatories petitioned against the loss of the amenity and, since 2004, have worked to reinstate all the facilities that were available in the 1930s.
Features and facilities
The site has gardens, tennis courts, bowling green run by the residents' association as well as a children's playground. There is a cafe run by a team of volunteers from the residents' association which is also used as a meeting place for community groups.