The National Botanic Garden of Wales is entering a new era of splendour with the official launch of its £6.7 million Regency restoration project.

Since the multi-award winning, newly-restored landscape opened to the public in March 2021, the garden has boosted visitor numbers to almost 200,000 which is the largest annual attendance since the gardens first opened in May 2000.

The work has restored features of a Regency period landscape which were created in the late 18th and early 19th century for Sir William Paxton, in what is now the Waun Las National Nature Reserve. It includes two new lakes, bridges, dams, cascades, a waterfall and an extensive network of paths all set in 300 acres of wooded parkland.

The original owners of the estate were the Middleton family who began laying out the formal gardens in the late 16th century.


However it was not until the estate was bought in 1789 by the Carmarthen MP Sir William Paxton, that the grounds really came into their own.

Protegé of the world-famous landscape architect Capability Brown, Samuel Lapidge was commissioned to design the gardens to include a water park linked by a network of dams, sluices, bridges and cascades.

Using the source material of specially-commissioned watercolours of the estate which were painted in 1815, the project has now transformed the 300-acre area into a woodland and water wonder.

The two-year development phase was followed by four years of construction and delivery of the largest project which the garden has ever undertaken.

“This is an outstanding example of the past being brought back to life for us to learn from yesterday, enjoy today and pass on to tomorrow,” concluded Andrew White.

Meanhile interim director Catrin Evans described the undertaking as a ‘supreme team effort’.

“It was kick-started by an amazing fundraising campaign, huge community involvement every step of the way and fabulous work by our volunteers, staff, designers, ecologists, local craftspeople, architects, engineers and many more,” she said. “This carefully created integration of botany, landscape, heritage and agriculture brings benefits for the visiting public as well as the wider tourism industry as a whole.”

The project’s official launch takes place on Friday May 27.