The Bishop’s Park History

The Tywi Gateway Project is an exciting and innovative community driven historic landscape restoration project based at the Bishop’s Park, Abergwili.

Once set on the banks of the River Tywi, at the heart of the beautiful Tywi Valley, for 431 years the Bishop’s Park was the private garden of the Bishops of St. Davids. Today, what remains of the park is now open to the public all year round and is a much-loved place to take a quiet stroll, following in the footsteps of generations of the Bishops of St Davids.

The palace seen from the south east lawn towards the end of the nineteenth century
Courtesy of Carmarthenshire Museums

Over its long history the parks landscape has gone through many changes reflecting both the personal taste of the bishops and the fashion in parks and gardens at the time.

The most recent changes were made in the 1970s when part of the park was used as the ground on which to build a new Bishop’s Palace, ‘Llys Esgob’, which today remains the current home of the Bishops of St Davids.

The old Bishop’s Palace eventually became the home of the fascinating Carmarthenshire County Museum. Preserving over 60,000 years of human history in the region, no visit to the Bishop’s Park is complete without exploring this jewel of a museum.

gallerymuseum

Gallery, Carmarthenshire Museum

Despite the many changes that have taken place over the centuries, as we look around the Bishop’s Park today, we can still see elements of these earlier parks. The wonderful but overgrown Walled Kitchen Garden with its quaint cottage ornée, the old pathways through the trees, the ha ha overlooking The Great Meadow and the Bishop’s Pond with its secret island all offer us a hint at the one time splendour of these historically and ecologically important and peaceful grounds.

The Park Lodge around 1910
Courtesy of Carmarthenshire Museums

This undiscovered jewel set within a landscape famously known as the Garden of Wales is a truly unique site and though its glory is somewhat faded the Tywi Gateway Project is working to restore the wonderful Bishop’s Park to its former grandeur.

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