Belle Vue Park
The land on which the park stands was a gift to Newport from Godfrey Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar in 1891 to provide a public park for its citizens.
An open competition to design and construct the park was won by Thomas Mawson. Mawson's winning design was, in fact, designed for the neighbouring field, the site of the then Newport and Monmouthshire Hospital, after Mawson misunderstood directions on his first visit to Newport. The mistake wasn't realised until the first site visit, after the contract had been awarded; Mawson had to quickly re-think some of his plans!
Belle Vue Park was Thomas Mawson's first win in an open competition. He went on to become one of the foremost landscape architects of his time, responsible for the design of many gardens in his adopted Lake District, including Holker Hall and Rydal Hall as well as Dyffryn Gardens near Cardiff.
In November 1892 Lord Tredegar performed the ceremony of cutting the first sod; construction began and the park opened on 8 September 1894. The final cost of the park is recorded as £19,500.
Belle Vue Park has many features typical of a Victorian public park, including the conservatories and pavilion, bandstand and rockeries.
Additional features were added to the park throughout the years. The Gorsedd Stone Circle was erected in 1896, for the National Eisteddfod, held in Belle Vue Park in 1897. The bowling greens were opened in 1904 and a Tea House added in 1910.
The bandstand and original series of cascades were restored in 2006.
Belle Vue Tearooms is run by a Cardiff Charity called Vision 21 Cyfle Cymru who are in partnership with Newport City Council. Vision 21 (Cyfle Cymru) offers people with a disability the opportunity to undertake vocational training with a view to employment. The students of Vision 21 receive catering training in the Tea Rooms which includes food preparation, serving the public, till training, social interaction and a chance to gain OCN qualifications. The Belle Vue Park Pavilion in which the Tea Rooms is situated is available for hire by the public at an hourly rate and catering services are also available from Vision 21.
Belle Vue Park contains a number of rare specimens.
In early Spring the Himalayan Magnolias produce huge goblet-shaped pink flowers and the branches of the Judas Trees can be seen covered with clusters of rose-lilac flowers in May. In June and July the Tulip Tree produces its distinctive orange tulip-shaped flowers.
Autumn brings glorious leaf colour to many of the trees and shrubs. Of particular note are the clear yellow leaves of Ginkgo biloba, one of only four deciduous conifers that can be seen growing in the British Isles today, and the glorious crimson leaves of the Liquidambar, a native of the eastern United States.
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