Dyffryn House and Gardens handed over to National Trust
4:00pm Friday 11th January 2013 in News
DYFFRYN House and Gardens - described as a 'great treasure' and a 'hidden gem' - were officially handed over to the National Trust last week (January 4).
The Trust has taken over management of the Grade II listed house, as well as the 55 acres of land forming the Grade I listed gardens, on a 50-year lease from the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
Justin Albert, Director of The National Trust in Wales, said the organisation was 'proud and honoured' to be taking over stewardship of the mansion and gardens.
"Growing and shaping a glorious garden is a long-term project," he said.
"The work done so far by all those involved with Dyffryn Gardens since its inception - the Cory family, Thomas Mawson, the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cadw and Heritage Lottery Fund - has produced an amazing site.
"The passion that has gone into creating Dyffryn Gardens over the years, from volunteers, staff and supporters, cannot be taken for granted, and we want everyone to join with us in harnessing that passion for a new stage of Dyffryn's journey."
Cllr Gwyn John, cabinet member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development for the Vale Council, handed over the keys to Mr Albert on Friday.
They then went on to ceremonially plant a tree on the North Lawn, replacing a 300-year-old oak that had been knocked down in a lightning storm in 2007.
Cllr John described the handover as 'an important move to secure the future of the house and gardens, and a boost for local tourism'.
He said: "The property has an exciting future as part of the National Trust's portfolio, and we look forward to seeing the gardens and house developed further, which will benefit tourism in the Vale and secure the future of this important and historic estate.
"I'd like to thank all our staff who have worked on the project and the Heritage Lottery Fund for the support they have given us over the years. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with the Trust."
As part of the handover, the House will be open from April, and visitors will be able to tour several rooms that are set to be refurbished, after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) granted £600,000 towards partial restoration of the House.
The Blue Drawing Room, Red Drawing Room, Morning Room, Billiards Room and Great Hall will open to the public. The upstairs Master Bedroom, which overlooks the gardens, will also be transformed into a plant hunters room.
Jennifer Stewart, Head of HLF in Wales, said: "Dyffryn House and Gardens are one of Wales' most significant heritage gems. We are delighted that the investment of over £6 million of lottery funding will now be sustained through the expertise and experience of the National Trust.
"We will continue to work closely with the team at Dyffryn House and Gardens and the National Trust and look forward to seeing the re-opening of the house in 2013."
Geraldine Donovan, who will be overseeing the developments as project manager, said she is 'really excited' by the prospect.
"I think it's really going to put Dyffryn on the map," she said.
"It's been a hidden gem for so long, but I think the National Trust will really raise our profile."
* Local people are invited to become volunteers on the estate, with an introduction to volunteering day being held on January 16. For more information contact 029 2059 3328.
* The Vale Council acquired Dyffryn House and Gardens after local government reorganisation in 1996. It will retain ownership of the property.
MIKE Calnan, the National Trust's head of gardens, said: "We are proud and honoured to be taking over stewardship of this very special Welsh garden.
"Dyffryn is an exceptional example of Edwardian garden design - with Thomas Mawson, garden designer - working closely with his gifted client John Cory.
"The gardens are subdivided into a number of garden 'rooms' each with its own distinct horticultural character.
These are surrounded by a pleasure ground of sweeping lawns dotted with statuary, water features, a rockery and kitchen garden and many rare and exceptional trees, including some of the UK's 'champions'.
"With so many features within the garden, there is certainly plenty for visitors of all ages to enjoy."