The Physic Garden is located within the grounds of the Old Hall in the centre of Cowbridge and is bounded on its south side by the medieval town wall. Basically, if you head for the church you won’t go far wrong.
It has a fascinating history which can be found on its website (scroll down, the link is there).
In 2004, with commendable support from The Vale of Glamorgan Council, a group of volunteers had the vision to create the Physic Garden as you see it today. The garden was completed in August 2006. Planting began and the public were admitted to see the garden in progress. Thanks to the committed work, enthusiasm and successful fundraising, the ancient walls and building were repaired, beds laid out, plants sourced and planted. In June 2008 the Physic Garden was officially opened by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
With careful nurturing, volunteers maintain the garden to an exceptionally high standard, something recognised by the garden winning Green Flag Awards for each of the past nine years and receiving the highest accolade in the RHS Wales in Bloom ‘It’s your neighbourhood’ category. The layout and content of the garden are typical of the 18th Century, incorporating the formal, the functional (not only medicinal but also culinary, perfumery, cosmetics and dyestuffs) and the aesthetic. Interestingly, only plants found in Britain before 1800 are included.
Twelve central beds feature plants which, over many centuries, have had medicinal properties attributed to them, and some of which have a recognised medicinal value today. Each of these beds contains plants specific to a part of the body or a particular illness and each bed is appropriately labelled (Kidneys, Eyes, Nerves, and Lungs to name a few).
Around the perimeter, the emphasis is on colour and fragrance but here, again, the medicinal and ‘soothing’ value of the plants is acknowledged. Fruit trees include apple, pear, walnut, quince and mulberry. The vines trained against the walls were a gift from Cowbridge’s twin town of Clisson.
The Physic Garden is an oasis of calm and this is enhanced by the central fountain. Seats in the pavilions and alongside the paths enable visitors to enjoy the space at their leisure and, we can quite honestly say, there is no more relaxing place to be in Cowbridge on a sunny day.
Monday – Sunday: 10am-6pm
Monday – Sunday: 10am-4pm (Closed Christmas Day)
Entry is free
More information here
While you’re in Cowbridge…
Cowbridge is renowned for its eateries. Our favourites include The Bear Hotel, Quarter Penny, Bar 44, Arboreal and if you’re looking for home-cooked treats, then Happy Days Vintage serves up some excellent, reasonably priced fayre (and it’s a brilliant place to mooch around in being packed with retro and vintage items.