Bishop Park Walled Garden, Abergwili

The winning team will renovate an 18th-century walled garden which is set within the former grounds of the old palace of the Bishop of St Davids and features a range of historic features and structures including the bases of three disused glasshouses and a dipping pond.

The project is part of the wider ‘Tywi Gateway’ initiative which will restore the octagonal lodge and historic park landscape and transform the disused dairy into a new visitor center featuring a museum, café, toilets and offices.

Pembroke-based Acanthus Holden Architects won the RIBA Stage 4-7 contract to restore derelict Bishop’s Park and other derelict outbuildings surrounding the Old Bishop’s Palace four years ago.

According to the brief: “This project will restore and revitalize the walled garden, work with the local community to preserve and protect the remaining historic features, and create a multi-functional space.”

“It will enable the delivery of a range of health, wellbeing, educational, training and community services based on horticulture, food production, nature conservation and event management. We will improve safe public access to all parts, restore greenhouses to meet future needs, and promote the strong functionality of the various garden areas.”

Located just outside Carmarthen, the park surrounds a historic house that began life as a college for priests in the 1280s. The medieval building became the palace of the Bishops of St David’s from 1542 to 1974, and is believed to be the place where the New Testament was first translated into Welsh.

The historic building was significantly modified during the 19th century and converted into the Carmarthenshire County Museum (in the picture) in 1978. The Welsh Historic Parks Trust began its search for an architect to draw the initial stages of the project in the summer of 2015.

The team selected for the final contract will drive the RIBA Phase 3 to 4 Walled Garden restoration, securing planning consent and submitting an application for NLHF Phase 2 funding in August 2024.

Interested teams must have at least £5 million employers’, public liability and professional indemnity insurance. Bids will be evaluated 70% on quality and 30% on cost.

Contest details

Project Title Bishop Park Walled Garden Project – Architect
client Trust Tywi Gate
Contract Value 500,000 British pounds
Deadline for the first round Midday 29 September 2023
Restrictions Applicants must be chartered architects with relevant qualifications, knowledge and experience in working with other similar early 19th century gardens, garden features and buildings.
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