South Wales, United Kingdom (PressExposure) January 05, 2012 -- Bedwellty House and Park in South Wales has been returned to its former glory thanks to a three-year, £6 million restoration project.
Working for John Weaver Contractors and also with architects Austin-Smith:Lord, UPM Tilhill was the main landscape contractor for the site which was where Aneurin Bevan, founder of the National Health Service, started his political career.
Bedwellty House is a listed, Regency villa in the town of Tredegar in South Wales. It is surrounded by a historic garden that was established in the early 19th century for the Master of Tredegar Iron Works.
Bedwellty House and Park are intimately linked with the early social history of Industrial Wales. Its relevance continued when the house and park were given to the people of Tredegar in 1901 and consequently housed the town council. The site became a centre of the labour movement in Wales and Britain.
Funded mainly by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the initial restoration activity by UPM Tilhill involved remedial work to the park's trees. Many of the trees had to be completely removed because of their very poor condition and neglect over the years and surgery work was carried out on others.
Within the park there are a number of significant Grade II listed structures including the icehouse, the bandstand, the boundary stone, the war memorial and the world-famous Great Exhibition block of coal - 15 tonnes hewn in a single block. All these help to attract visitors to the park, in addition to other historically important features such as the long shelter, kitchen garden, fishponds, grotto and cast-iron fountain.
Sadly all these features were overgrown and none of the original planting had survived. The project Architect Sophie Teague, from Austin-Smith:Lord, developed a new scheme to reflect the park's original design. By making reference to old photographs and drawings, the new planting scheme carried out by UPM Tilhill has helped return the park to its former glory.
UPM Tilhill Contract Manager Chris Williams said: "We are very proud to have worked with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, John Weaver Contractors and Austin-Smith:Lord, to help bring a nationally important site back to life on behalf of the people of Tredegar and Blaenau Gwent."
The restored Bedwellty House and Park is already attracting large numbers of visitors who now enjoy being able to walk through the 26 acres of parkland. The buildings and park in Tredegar have been transformed into a hub for the local community and are set to become a major tourist destination in the Heads of the Valleys. Until recently the house had been used by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council but, under Austin-Smith:Lord's proposals, it has been transformed into a heritage asset, a Registry office and an elegant visitor attraction.
The culmination of the restoration work comes more than eight years after the idea was proposed thanks to Blaenau Gwent officers Dave Watkins, Leisure Services Manager, and Frank Olding, the borough's Heritage Officer.
Established more than 60 years ago, UPM Tilhill is a national company operating from a network of offices throughout the UK, with a turnover in excess of £100 million.
UPM Tilhill provides landscaping, arboriculture and environmental services throughout the UK. Clients include civil engineers, developers, landscape architects and local authorities as well as landowners. The company is a member of BALI and is registered with Construction Line, Achilles and Link-up, and has a CSCS Gold Standard Certificate. UPM Tilhill operates a stringent code of practice and complies with ISO 9001:2008 (quality assurance), ISO 14001 (environmental management), and OHSAS 18001 (health and safety) standards.
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UPM leads the integration of bio and forest industries into a new, sustainable and innovation-driven future. Our products are made of renewable raw materials and are recyclable. UPM consists of three Business Groups: Energy and pulp, Paper, and Engineered materials. The Group employs around 24,500 people and it has production plants in 16 countries. UPM's annual sales exceed EUR 10 billion. UPM's shares are listed on the Helsinki stock exchange. UPM - The Biofore Company - http://www.upm.com