Gnoll Estate Country Park Early April
by Mike Davies
The Gnoll Estate is situated to the eastern side of Neath town centre in, South West Wales.
Rising above Neath town centre, the grounds of a landscape park lie in their original rural setting long famed for its picturesque beauty.
The grounds of the estate once served Gnoll House, sadly demolished in 1957. The grounds are now owned and managed by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.
The Gnoll Estate has become a major attraction for both locals and visitors.
The landscape of the Gnoll consists of a combination of industrial and ornamental features. Landscaping was carried out during the eighteenth century over several phases, including the exceptional early 'transitional layout' by Thomas Greening, in the style of Stephen Switzer, with formal and informal elements, including the formal cascade, which has been recently renovated in 2010.
Later landscaping phases include an outstanding informal cascade of the 1740s in Mosshouse Wood, and the later eighteenth-century follies of a rock-hewn grotto, adjacent to the water course.
The Ivy Tower, however forms a prominent, and perhaps most well-known landmark at the beginning of the Neath valley, although the shell now stands in a rapidly decaying state.
Although the park's historic character has been diluted through the loss of the house and planting, many of its structural elements remain intact having been restored or rebuilt.
View the video here including live shots: