The area covers approximately 12 acres and was once a working coal mine, employing local labour including women and children to dig the coal out and bring it to the surface. There are two deep mine shafts in the gardens, both approximately 150 metres deep. Coal mining here ceased about the turn of the century. The shafts have been capped and fenced.
When the land together with the old house and adjoining barn known as Begelly Bottom Farm was bought by the Phillips Family it was, until 1950, run as a smallholding and the meadows that are now transferred into gardens were used for hay and the grazing of livestock. The barn was built around 1744.
After this time the land was no longer used for farming and fell into dereliction.
After 1970 the last of the old house's inhabitants passed away, and the house and land also succumbed to the ravages of time.
In 1997 we were looking for a new challenge. We'd moved to Pembrokeshire 20 years previously and had bought and renovated several old houses in the area, the last being Holgan Farm where we ran a flourishing trout fishing enterprise and guesthouse. This business was also started from a derelict barn and field so we knew a little about sheer hard work, coupled with boundless imagination and the ability to get the job done.
When we first saw the site, it was completely derelict and overgrown, the mineshafts had filled with water and it was freely running across the land, turning two thirds of it into bog-land. Brambles, bracken and gorse covered the whole site. Bluebells, campion, meadowsweet, ragged robin and many other wild flowers abound.
The site was cleared and drained over the next three years creating a small lake and many other pools and water features, and then the planning began in earnest.
The gardens are a combination of water gardens, formal gardens, informal gardens, japenese gardens and woodlands.
Ken and Margaret Hester