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The National Botanic Garden

of Wales

The Great Glasshouse

The National Botanic Garden was opened in 2000 in the grounds of the fire damaged Middleton Hall near Llanarthne, south of the Towy. The Gardens are maturing with additional features being added such as the Tropical House and double walled garden. The centrepiece is the Great Glasshouse, designed by world-renowned architects Norman Foster and Partners. 

The Middleton family built a mansion on the site in the early 1600s In 1789 William Paxton purchased the estate and built a new hall regarded as one of the most splendid mansions in South Wales. He also created a water park and using elevated reservoirs equipped the house with water closets. Paxton, a Scotsman, had started his career in the Navy but moved to India and turned to banking, eventually establishing a Merchant Bank. Standing for Parliament he promised to build a bridge over the Towy, but following a false rumour that he was about to be bankrupt he lost the election. The election cost him 15,690 in 1802 in what was called the Pig and Swill Election. A friend of Nelson, he had Nelson's Tower otherwise known as Paxton's Tower built in his memory, using the money he had set aside for the building of the bridge. Originally a track led from the Hall to the Tower and carriages would transport guests to the tower where the first floor was a dining room with magnificent views over the Towy valley. The architect for hall and tower was S P Cockerell, a descendant of Samuel Pepys the 17th century diarist.

The Double Walled Garden

The Tropical House

Inside the Great Glasshouse



Mediterranean Planting in the Great Glasshouse

The Pye Sculpture with Paxton's Tower

Paxton's Tower A National Trust Property



The Coach House


Lakeside and Japanese Water Garden


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Site and Photographs Geoffrey Davies 2008-10  Contact info@enchantedtowy.co.uk