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Clyne Gardens worth visiting in Swansea

How to get there

Address:       Mumbles Road, Blackpill,  Swansea SA3 5AS


Opening times:      open daily   dawn till dusk

Admission : free

Pedestrian entrances at : Mumbles Road, Mayals Road and Westport Road

Car parking : limited parking shared with Woodman Inn, Mumbles Road.  Large pay car park at junction of Mumbles Road and Derwen Fawr Road.  

Coach parking : contact 07920 560 219

Bus : any bus to Mumbles; alight at Blackpill 

Access : steep paths in places; some not suitable for wheelchairs.

Dogs : well behaved dogs on leads preferred. 

Refreshments : picnics allowed but no fires or barbeques.  

Limited refreshments on site.        

Woodman Inn and Junction Café nearby.


Nationally renowned collection of Rhododendrons and Azaleas.    Fine collection of mature trees, heathers and perennials.   Colour and interest all year


See also information about The Tree Register. Link button below.

History of Clyne Gardens

William Graham Vivian - the millionaire of Clyne - purchased 'Clyne Castle' in 1860 and lavished time and money on it to reflect his wealth. Three important trees planted by him can be found in front of the Castle; one Wellingtonia 'Sequiodendron giganteum' and two Monterey Cypress 'Cupressus macrocarpa', one a fastigiate form which is also one of the tallest recorded in Britain. The estate passed to his nephew Algernon, 'The Admiral' in 1921 who owned it until his death in 1952. He had the greatest influence on the gardens as we see them today.He sponsored plant collecting expeditions overseas, and many of Clyne's rhododendrons still bear their original collector's numbers. The Admiral's influence can also be seen in the landscaping, which includes a Japanese Bridge, the Admiral's Tower and the Gazebo.The Admiral received many famous visitors at the Castle, including the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), Neville Chamberlain, Stanley Baldwin and Adelina Patti.The oak woodland is a remnant of Clyne Forest, an important 11th Century Norman landmark.The tallest recorded Magnolia in Britain 'Magnolia campbellii var. alba' can be found here.Many of the Admiral's hybrids can be seen growing in the gardens. He named some of them after his family; Rh,Graham Vivian, Rh, Dulcie Vivian, Singleton Blue and Clyne Castle.

Owners of Clyne Castle & Gardens

Only a small number of owners have been involved in the development of Clyne since the end of the 18th century;   and three of those were of the well-known Swansea family of Vivian, who became wealthy through copper smelting.   In 1954, the land and the house were separated for the first time; the gardens became a public park and the Castle was sold to the University for a hall of residence.


Richard Phillips 1790-1800

Richard Phillips was the younger son of a Carmarthenshire landowning family.  Like others of his time he came to Swansea seeking his fortune through the exploitation of the mineral wealth of this area.  In 1790 Phillips bought 27 acres of land between Mumbles and Swansea, choosing a site for his new house on a slight rise, protected by woods, but with a view of the sea.   No subsequent owner has changed the position of the house.  He built a Classically- styled two-storey castellated mansion in local sandstone in 1791, calling it, appropriately, “ Woodlands “.   Other than clearing some trees there is no evidence of his building a pleasure garden.

Richard Phillips took an active interest in the development of his adopted town.   As a Trustee of the Swansea Harbour Trust he was closely involved in the building of the first Mumbles Lighthouse.

He died in 1798 and his heir James Phillips, a nephew, died only the following year.  The house and the estate were made available for sale.


George Warde 1800-1830

George Warde was born in Kent and came to Wales after retiring from an undistinguished army career.   In 1800 he bought mining interests on the east bank of the Loughor Estuary.  He bought  

“Woodlands” in the same year for £1800, bringing his wife and family to live in the small house built only nine years earlier.    He too involved himself in local affairs.  Because of his interests in a mill near the Pottery on the Tawe he vigorously opposed the building of a floating harbour which delayed the development of the docks area for a generation.

He was promoted to Major-General in 1805, even though he had retired a number of years earlier.  His rank and army training enabled him to become Inspecting Field Officer of the local Yeomanry. He used what he now called “Woodlands Castle“ as the Yeomanry Headquarters. 

Warde had the original house extended and remodelled to a fashionable Gothic style, firstly in 1800 and again, more extensively from 1817.    It is known that a garden was laid out in 1805 to the north of the house. 

During his 30 years at “Woodlands Castle”, Warde built up the estate to over 330 acres, including land near the house and in Mumbles.    However his income did not keep pace with his expenditure and at the time of his death in 1830, the house was mortgaged.    His heir, eldest son, George, was forced to put the estate up for sale.



Charlotte Berrington & Jenkin Davies Berrington 1830-60

The encumbered estate was bought by Benjamin Hall of Llanover in Monmouthshire for £8000.  Benjamin bought the estate on behalf of his sister Charlotte who was an heiress in her own right.

In 1827 Charlotte married Jenkin Davies Berrington of Swansea and Woodlands Castle became their home.   Warde’s changes to the house, only 10 years earlier, were too big for their needs and expensive to run.     Consequently sixteen rooms were demolished from the north wing.   They also sold some of the properties in Blackpill and along the turnpike road to Mumbles.

The Berrington family, including their son and heir, Arthur moved to Monmouthshire in 1857 to be nearer the now ennobled Lord Llanover and his eccentric wife, Augusta.  It was intended that Arthur should become the heir to the Lord and Lady Llanover but irreconcilable differences between strong willed people later prevented that.  In 1859 William Graham Vivian of Singleton Abbey started negotiations to purchase the Woodlands estate.  The connection with the Vivian family would last almost 100 years.



William Graham Vivian, Dulcie Charlotte Vivian and Admiral Algernon Walker-Heneage-Vivian

Pen portraits of the above who became the next three owners is in preparation and will be published in the future


©PMM 2018



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[ Photograph © City and County of Swansea ]

A walk around the gardens

a map of the gardens at Clyne

A map of the gardens. Click on link below for a larger copy.

Clyne Gardens in Swansea is one of the gardens of the Botanical Complex and part of the botanical gardens complex. The garden located in Blackpill near the sea front in Swansea,   It is part of the City of Swansea's Botanical Complex which is supported by the 'Friends'.  The current park was formed from the landscaped gardens created by Glynn Vivian of the Vivian family who purchased the castle in 1860. The estate passed to his nephew Algernon, 'The Admiral' in 1921 who owned it until his death in 1952. He had the greatest influence on the gardens as we see them today. It is one of the Gardens worth visiting in Swansea. 

[ Map © City and County of Swansea ]

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