Category Archives: News

Call for Volunteers

Following the initial cutting back of the dense bramble in the garden we are now looking for volunteers to help with the next phase of clearing.  Supported by Keep Wales Tidy we are planning to spend two days in the garden:- Monday 14th DecemberIMG_20151106_150529_hdr and Tuesday 15th December (these are firm dates and replace the tentative long weekends previously published) Small oak tree - south gardenThere are a number tasks we want to complete on these two days, including raking up the vegetation we have already cut back;  preparing a ‘heeling-in’ area for a number of saplings that need to be moved and given space to grow;  clearing bramble and weed roots from the base of some of the more mature trees and the old greenhouse bases;  and sorting and moving old garden equipment and other items we found during the initial clearance. We would be delighted if you are able to offer some time on one or both of these days. For further information please contact the clearance team at   grangegardenjans@yahoo.co.uk We look forward to seeing you!  

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Walled Garden Project Timetable

View looking north across garden with hospital in background. Source: BDP
View looking north across garden with hospital in background. Source: BDP

The timetable to restore the Walled Garden at Llanfrechfa Grange will depend on when approval is granted by Welsh Government for the new Specialist and Critical Care hospital planned to open on the site in 2019/20. This is because the Walled Garden has always been part of the building plans to provide a walkway for staff between Grange House and the new hospital. Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Torfaen Local Authority are committed to supporting the restoration of the garden as a community project and would like it to open to the public ahead of the hospital opening date.  The project is therefore working closely with the hospital planning team and the building contractors to make this happen. The dates below provide a guide to the schedule that the project is working to. We will provide updates to this as the project moves forward. Project timetable as at Nov 2015.001

Autumn Update

Welcome to our Autumn update on the Walled Garden project. autumn headerDesigning for the future

We recently contacted everyone on our distribution list asking if anyone who had landscape design experience or qualifications would like to get more involved in helping us translate everyone’s ideas for the Walled Garden into a design scheme. Thank you to everyone who got in touch and met with us on 26 October. We have now put together a small design team with those who took part. Over the winter the Design Team will plan a basic layout and planting scheme for the garden, e.g. the shapes and sizes of the beds, borders and lawn, and consider what facilities we need to include within the walls. We already have a number of features identified such as walkways and entrances, but we are eager to have your contributions to the plans. We will therefore be planning further events in early Spring to invite members of the public and staff from the Health Board to come along to view the layout ideas and have their say.

autumn header 2SG

Planting for the future

Some of us may find autumn windfalls messy but others enjoy this time of year when the leaves change colour and plants die back towards winter. We’d like to know what plants and shrubs give the best autumn show, and what would be appropriate for the Walled Garden. There are some plants that are at their best now and we’d welcome your suggestions. Perhaps you have a favourite that you can share with us? We hope that our garden will have areas that make the best of all seasons, and have something to enjoy all year round. Take a look outside and let us know what catches your eye over the next month or so whether it’s a tree in the park or something you enjoy in your own garden. You can post your suggestions on the comments form below or send us an email to WalledGarden.ABB@wales.nhs.uk

Clearing the undergrowth – Can you help?

Our next steps involve clearing away the undergrowth so that we can find out if there are any old features that we should preserve and include in the design layout for the future.

Jan Smith and Jane Nehaul at the end of a soggy November day clearing the garden.
Jan Smith and Jane Nehaul at the end of a soggy November day clearing the garden.

Given the derelict, overgrown and somewhat unsafe state of the garden, we felt that initial clearance should involve cutting back the bulk of the bramble and long grass, leaving a more workable environment for a more thorough clearance to follow.  The Health Board’s Facilities Directorate has kindly undertaken this initial clearance using a small tractor with flail and mower attachments.  Project team members Jane Nehaul and Jan Smith worked with a small group of  gardeners and managed to clear much of the ground area.

Visit our Gallery page to see a slideshow of before and after pictures of the garden.

The garden after clearing the brambles.
The garden after clearing the brambles.

Now that the initial clearance is done we have a much better idea of how much more needs to be done. There are however a number of things we need to put in place to assure the Health Board that we will be working safely before we can bring volunteer groups in to undertake further work in the garden.  This includes safety equipment, registering volunteers, insurance, access to toilets etc.

After the initial clearance.
After the initial clearance.

 

We have penciled in three consecutive long weekends when we will be looking for volunteers to give some time to help in the garden.

These are:

Friday 20th November – Sunday 22 November. Thurs 26 Nov – Sun 29 Nov Thurs 3 Dec – Sun 6 Dec

 

Please contact us at WalledGarden.ABB@wales.nhs.uk if you would like to get involved.

Autumn Newsletter print version

Llanfrechfa Grange Walled Garden Continues to Inspire

The Llanfrechfa Grange Walled Garden Community Project continues to attract new people to its cause through two recent public events.

Visitors browsing the Llanfrechfa Grange history stand 21 August.
Visitors browsing the Llanfrechfa Grange history stand 21 August.

On Fri 21 August 2015, volunteers joined forces with the Oxford House Industrial History Society to share the history of Llanfrechfa Grange. The event included a tour of the house, walled garden and grounds of Llanfrechfa Grange by John Venn from Oxford House. Visitors were also able to read the latest updates on the history of the site and its former owners, collated by Jan Smith from the Llanfrechfa Grange Walled Garden project and published as new history pages on the Walled Garden’s website.

Main Entrance and Lodge c.1910
Main Entrance and Lodge c.1910

The event attracted over 40 people, many of them new to the project. Visitors shown around the house learned what each room was originally used for when it was a private house and were shown the location of other buildings within the grounds including the site of a murder which took place in the 1920s.

Karen Jones and Angela Fry manning the Walled Garden stand at the Aneurin Bevan UHB AGM and Health Fair.
Karen Jones and Angela Fry manning the Walled Garden stand at the Aneurin Bevan UHB AGM and Health Fair.

 

The Walled Garden project also had a stand at the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s AGM and Health Fair held at the Health Board’s Headquarters, St Cadoc’s Hospital, Caerleon, on 16 September 2015. Several visitors to the Health Fair stopped to ask questions about the project and expressed their support.

Next Event 21st August 2015 – Llanfrechfa Grange: Past, Present and Future

Our next event is being held in association with the Oxford House Industrial History Society. Read on for details.

© Copyright Roger Cornfoot and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
© Copyright Roger Cornfoot and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Friday 21 August 2015

6 pm onwards

In the Main Hall, Llanfrechfa Grange, NP44 8YN.

Come and find out what we have learned to date about the history of the house and grounds. Help us fill in the gaps.

  • Opportunity to visit the grounds and gardens and some interesting parts of the house with members of the Oxford House Industrial History Society
  • See the latest timetable for restoring the Walled Garden
  • We will be launching our new History pages on the website
  • See plans for the new Specialist and Critical Care Centre
  • Find out how you can get involved.

All Welcome

For more information you can email us at walledgarden.abb@wales.nhs.uk or telephone 01633 431716.

Coffee Morning Helps Launch Project

Visitors to the Walled Garden at Llanfrechfa Grange 14 April 2015 coffee morning event.
Visitors to the Walled Garden at Llanfrechfa Grange 14 April 2015 coffee morning event.

On 14 April, we held a coffee morning in the Main Hall at Llanfrechfa Grange to raise awareness about the project to restore the old Victorian walled garden and to encourage people to get involved.

ABUHB Chairman David Jenkins takes a stroll around the Walled Garden - April 2015
ABUHB Chairman David Jenkins takes a stroll around the Walled Garden – April 2015

The event was hosted by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board with volunteers from the project on hand to chat to visitors about the garden and show them around.  David Jenkins, Chairman of the Health Board and Judith Paget, Chief Executive, attended to show their support and welcome visitors. We were delighted so many people came to register their interest including local residents, members of like-minded community groups and staff from the Health Board.

Luckily the sun was shining, so we were also able to take visitors into the garden itself to see the size of the challenge! However no one seemed at all daunted but really welcomed the prospect of turning this plot into a beautiful and uplifting space that would benefit lots of people living and working in the local area as well as patients, staff and visitors to the new hospital.

Former Head Gardener Mr Karl Earnshaw (1980s-90s) and Mr Peter Kelly, son of the Head Gardener in the 1920s-30s,
Former Head Gardener Mr Karl Earnshaw (1980s-90s) and Mr Peter Kelly, son of the Head Gardener in the 1920s-30s,

One of our projects is attempting to chart the history of the Llanfrechfa Grange site so it was really interesting to be able to hear people’s memories and stories from the past. Mr Karl Earnshaw was among the visitors. He was head gardener at Llanfrechfa Grange in the 1980s and 90s and was able to tell us about what was grown in the garden at that time. We were also joined by Mr Peter Kelly who was born in the old gardener’s cottage (long since demolished) in the 1920s. His father had been head gardener in the 1920s and 30s before the Grange was turned into a health facility. Mr Kelly had lots of stories to tell.

We are planning to repeat the event on Monday 11 May 5.30 – 7.00 p.m. for people who could not make it first time around. All welcome.