North East Wales - Castles & Gardens
Chirk Castle was built in 1295 as part of Edward I's chain of fortresses across North Wales. It stands about 7 miles east of Llangollen, guarding the entrance to the Ceiriog Valley. The castle was bought by Thomas Myddleton, whose son was a Parliamentarian during the English Civil War, but became a Royalist. Following the Restoration, he became Sir Thomas Myddleton, 1st Baronet of Chirk Castle. The Myddleton family resided at Chirk Castle until 2004 and it is now owned by the National Trust with the state rooms, towers and dungeons open to the public. The Castle is noted for its gardens, created from William Emes' designs from the C18th. There are formal gardens, a woodland garden with rhododendrons and azaleas, beautiful summer displays in the herbaceous borders, fine topiary and an interesting rockery. The parkland also provides habitat for wild flowers and rare invertebrates and a terrace offers wonderful views over the Cheshire and Shropshire plains. The almost overwhelming wrought iron gates to the parkland date from 1719 and were originally positioned as an entrance to the castle.
Rhuddlan Castle stands next to the River Conwy between St Asaph and Rhyl on the North Wales coast. The Normans invaded Gwynedd in the late C11th and Rhuddlan was fought over by the Princes of Gwynedd and the Earls of Chester. In July 1277, at the outbreak of the Welsh Wars, Edward I left Chester and by August reached Rhuddlan; 3 months later it was ceded to the English Crown. Construction began on the Castle, during which lengthy period (1277-82) the river course was straightened and dredged to allow ships to sail inland along a man-made channel. Rhuddlan Castle was attacked by forces of Owain Glyndwr in 1400, when the town was badly damaged but the castle held out. In the later 15th and 16th centuries the castle's condition slowly deteriorated and its importance waned. However, it was again garrisoned by Royalist troops during the English Civil War and taken by Parliamentary forces after a siege in 1646 before being slighted in 1648. Today the castle is managed by Cadw, the Welsh Assembly Government's historic environment service.
A very special place with one of the last surviving C18th formal gardens; its large walled garden is one of the most important in Britain. Erddig boasts extensive designed parkland, a canal, pond, Victorian parterre and rare fruit trees. There are fine gates and railings and 13 miles of footpaths. It is open March to November and stands just south of Wrexham.
Garden House, Wrexham
Five acres of gardens on the Wales/Shropshire border at Erbistock, overlooking the River Dee, featuring shrub and herbaceous plantings based on a colour wheel by Gertrude Jekyll. Garden House also includes a sculpture garden, parterre, large lily pond, Victorian dovecote and a secret garden.
Bodrhyddan Hall has been in the same family for over 500 years. Its historic gardens of about 8 acres include a Victorian parterre, a Pleasance and the Dingle. There is also a woodland walk, summerhouse, kitchen garden and ponds. Situated near the North Wales coast one mile east of Rhuddlan.