Sowing seeds of success for kitchen garden in Wales

Plans to transform the neglected Bishop’s Park in Abergwili into a community jewel and put it firmly on the tourist map have taken another major step forward after the Tywi Gateway Trust received a £23,500 from Allchurches Trust.

The grant will help fund the sensitive restoration of the under-used Bishop’s Park site, particularly the revitalisation of the walled kitchen garden and adjacent bothy, which is leased from the Church in Wales. The Winter Kitchen Garden will be available for both horticultural and community use, including providing therapeutic opportunities for people with disabilities and a base for garden volunteers.

The new Tywi Gateway Centre will be a hub for the local community, boosting the local economy and making it a draw for tourists as the starting point for the Tywi Trail.

Working with the local community, the Tywi Gateway Trust is seeking to reverse the years of decline, adding extensive visitor facilities by converting the former Bishop’s Palace larder, dairy and laundry in a semi-derelict wing of the County Museum into learning and interpretation spaces and a coffee shop.

The restoration and conservation of the grounds, including the Pleasure Grounds, Great Meadow and Bishop’s Pond, are also part of the Trust’s plans, providing outdoor learning facilities, a place for relaxation and recreation and a thriving habitat for wildlife.

Grants officer at Allchurches Trust, Paul Playford, said: “Bishop’s Park is not only historically important, it is treasured by local people. This project will help restore the extensive grounds to their former glory and give the community a facility to enjoy and be proud of; a place that celebrates their cultural heritage that they can share with visitors from all over the world and that will boost their health and wellbeing. We are delighted to have been able to provide funding to take the Tywi Gateway Trust a step closer to making their ambitious plans a reality.”

Local people have already been engaged in planning for the project, including children from Abergwili Primary School, who visited the site to plant daffodil bulbs and try their hand at pressing apples.

Tywi Gateway Trust manager, Louise Austin, said: “This project will reverse the loss of the built and natural heritage of the Bishop’s Park, give the people of Abergwili a shared focus on this vision of a fantastic community facility and boost the local economy through tourism. We’re delighted to have the support of Allchurches Trust, which means we are now even closer to our fundraising target.”

You can find out more about the Tywi Gateway project at www.tywi-gateway.org.uk

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