Whether you're a nature-lover, a garden enthusiast or simply in need of a bit of peace and tranquillity away from every-day life, Colby Woodland Garden in Pembrokeshire, South Wales is the place to go. A beautiful walled garden, bothy tearoom with upstairs gallery, meadow and woodland walk, come together at this National Trust site to provide a full day's outing with something for everyone, including families, couples and visiting elderly relatives.
The legacy of John Colby, an 18th century landowner, Colby Woodland Garden is unusual in being located on the site of a former coalfield. Now, there is little evidence of the garden's industrial past, and visitors can enjoy picnics in the wildflower meadow, walks through the extensive woodlands, relaxing by the stream or having fun on one of the rope swings.
Complementing the wildness of the woodland garden is the more formal, walled garden. Originally a vegetable garden, it is now home to flowers and shrubs, providing colour whatever the season, and a gazebo, with an interior painted by the American artist Lincoln Tabor. This is a fine example of trompe l'oeil or 'trick of the eye' where aspects of the room that appear to be real are in fact painted on the walls.
If you didn't bring a picnic, the bothy tearoom serves lunch from 12 noon until 3pm. The menu includes a range of delicious salads, such as warm pear salad with red onion, gorgonzola and walnuts, ciabattas with a variety of fillings, as well as hot and cold drinks, including Fentimans traditional lemonades and Frobishers juices. Meals cost between £7.25 and £8.95, and there is a children's option. Homemade cakes and clotted cream teas are also available.
The gallery above the tea shop exhibits and sells jewellery, bags, cards, prints, pottery, and other items all made by local Pembrokeshire crafts people.
An added bonus of Colby Woodland Garden is Amroth beach, about 10 minutes' walk down the lane. This Blue Flag (eco label) sandy beach is half a mile long and there is a shop, café and pub close by.
For visitors with limited mobility, there are wheelchairs available at the shop where entry tickets are sold. Most of the paths around the walled and woodland gardens are navigable by wheelchair, although there are quite a few hills, so it can be heavy going at times.
Free to National Trust members, the entry fee to Colby Woodland Garden is £4.80 with gift aid per adult and £2.40 per child, with a family ticket costing £12. It is easy to find by car if you follow the brown signs from the A477 Tenby to Carmarthen road.