Gelli Aur Country Park
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Gelli Aur was home to the Vaughan family, who built a mansion here in 1565. The 16th century house was destroyed by fire in 1754 and replaced with a house in fashionable neo-classical style. When the Vaughan family line died out in 1804 the estate passed to the Cawdor family.
In 1827 they called in architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville to build a new mansion in romantic Renaissance style, like a miniature castle. The mansion took 7 years to complete because Wyatville was preoccupied with his work on Windsor Castle for George IV.
The Cawdor's established a new garden surrounding the 19th century house, complete with an arboretum, planted in the 1860s. The peaceful parkland was designed to offer views over the Towy Valley.
The house was used as a base for American soldiers during World War Two. It was later leased to Carmarthenshire County Council for administration offices, and served as a campus for Carmarthenshire College. It was sold to a Trust in 2011, and restoration of the mansion is underway, with plans to create a public art gallery.
What to See
The country park brings together historic gardens from several time periods, based on the 16th century deer park. Nature trails lead through pleasant woodland and open parkland, past ponds and meadows. See if you can spot all 5 species of orchids blooming in the meadow in summer.
There is a 20 acre deer park with a resident herd of fallow deer. In the 16th century heyday of Gelli Aur the deer park covered 400 acres and was home to over 600 deer.
The arboretum offers 10 acres of trees and shrubs, including giant redwood, Monterey pine, and fern-leaved beech. The trees are given a boost of colour by azaleas and rhododendrons from May.
As of September 2015, the nature trails are open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. A 1 million pound project over the next ten years will restore and re-open the 19th century gardens and arboretum and the cafe. A new children's playground and a Himalayan garden are planned.
The plans to redevelop Gelli Aur seem to have stalled. On our last visit there were no obvious signs of activity - in fact the whole place seemed to have fallen into a state of decay. There were no visitor signs and the parking area had grass growing from the pavement. We'll update this page as soon as we know more.
Most photos are available for licensing, please contact Britain Express image library.
About Gelli Aur Country Park
Address: Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, Wales, SA32 8LR
Attraction Type: Garden
Location: 2 miles south west of Llandeilo, off the A476 and B4300
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Dinefwr Castle - 1.4 miles (Castle)
Aberglasney Gardens - 1.8 miles (Garden)
Newton House - 1.9 miles (Historic House)
Dinefwr Park - 2 miles (Garden)
Dryslwyn Castle - 2.7 miles (Castle)
Paxtons Tower - 3.5 miles (Historic Building)
Carreg Cennen Castle - 4.4 miles (Castle)
National Botanic Garden of Wales - 4.8 miles (Garden)
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