The Vivian family, who lavished so much time and money on the house during their ownership here in the 1800s, were exceptionally keen gardeners. Algernon Walker-Heneage-Vivian, known locally as simply "The Admiral", inherited the estate from Graham Vivian. The Admiral was responsible for some of Swansea’s most spectacular gardens (notably Clyne) but lived at Parc-Le-Breos prior to inheriting the Clyne estate.
Old documents relating to the house hold fascinating descriptions of the gardens, making reference to the types of shrubs and trees which were planted, and notes about the old conservatories and melon houses. Unfortunately many of these features were lost prior to the 1950s. When the house was purchased by Tom and Gladys Edwards in 1953, having no money to see them through their first winter here, they sold many of the large trees on what was known as The Admiral's Walk, around a steep sided valley that we now call The Dell. The gallery on this webpage contains some old photos of the trees on lorries at the front gate - a real shame because they were huge! For the following 40 years, the woodland was used as a farm tip!
We started restoration work on the walk in 2001, but found the dump was full of, amongst other things, excellent cut stone, window sills and flag stones from old buildings that had been pulled down around the estate. We began to sieve out the stone and top soil using an old power screen and a JCB digger called Sophie. Over 10 years we screened around 10,000 tons of soil and eventually re-landscaped the garden. Just the very bottom end of the garden remains to be finished where the valley abruptly terminates in a beautiful water-washed limestone amphitheater which is just begging for an ornamental pond and water feature to be created at sometime in the near future!
Having completed the heavy landscaping, we are slowly replanting the garden with (amongst other plants) rhododendrons - some rare species of which have still survived in the grounds. At the top end of the walk are the trout ponds. Originally there were cart ponds here, where the carts were left in the water for a time in the summer to ensure that their wooden wheels did not dry out and shrink. In the 1970s they were expanded into larger ponds which we now keep stocked with trout. They are a haven for wildlife, with a mix of domestic ducks, mallards and the local moorhen family.
In 2016 we began major work again - After making a tough decision to close the pony trekking side of the business, we were able to take down the corral, menages, and tack rooms which were situated adjacent to the house. This allowed us to enlarge the gardens surrounding the house and connect them with the areas we had already restored, to make one continuous garden of over 7 acres and finally setting the house into the backdrop that was originally intended.
Renovating the gardens is a passion, and is fast turning into a life time of work. We are really looking forward to the next phase, planting out the new areas and adding points of interest. We welcome any input, advice, and ideas from anyone who wants to be a part of this project.
Parc Le Breos House