A true north Wales secret
The hidden gardens of Plas Cadnant are a sheer pleasure to visit. They are really several gardens in one: formal, cottage, hillside and waterside and you can spend a pleasant few hours slowly exploring them all. Coupled with a lovely tea room and knowledgeable, friendly staff, Plas Cadnant is a must-do for anyone who enjoys exploring a beautiful garden.
This unique 200 acre private estate is situated in a picturesque hidden valley, overlooking the Menai Straits and the mountains of Snowdonia. Described as one of North Wales best kept secrets, the hidden world of Plas Cadnant Gardens perch on the side of the Menai Straits, hidden from view on the road between Menai Bridge and Beaumaris on the Island of Anglesey.
In 1996, the present owner bought the 200 acre Plas Cadnant Estate and work began on the restoration of the historic garden and grounds. Since then, large parts of the gardens have undergone a spectacular transformation and have been restored to their former glory.
Former owners of Plas Cadnant were related to the Tremayne family of Heligan House in Cornwall , now famous for its Lost Gardens of Heligan and in its time, like Heligan, Plas Cadnant was home to a stunning garden. Over time, nature regained it hold until a new owner began, in 1996, to restore the gardens to their former glory.
Three different gardens have been discovered, including an unusual walled garden with curving walls and pool, a secret valley garden with three waterfalls and river, and an upper woodland garden with stone outcrops and the remains of a 19c. folly.
The first stage was to rescue the house and lodges, and to carefully restore the outbuildings and gardener’s cottage using traditional techniques and materials; these are now let as holiday accommodation to provide some supporting income.
Work started on restoring the gardens and grounds in 1997, this was a huge undertaking as large areas had not been maintained for over seventy years. In 1998 the area immediately behind the main house became a ‘herb garden’. The following year the sheltered courtyard between the cottages was planted as a garden.
Rather than restoring the grounds to their original plans, a new garden is being created at Plas Cadnant based on an historic site. It is steadily becoming a plantsman’s paradise and is considered amongst the liveliest twenty gardens of Wales. They feature in a new book ‘The Finest Gardens of Wales’ by Tony Russell’ and have also been included in ‘Discovering Welsh Gardens’ written by Stephen Anderton and photographed by Charles Hawes.
There is still much work to be done and you can keep up to speed by visiting Plas Cadnant in person or through a virtual visit to the garden’s website.