Llysdinam House is about 8 miles from us here and I have long admired it up on its bluff, as we've driven past. It is set in 20 acres of beautiful gardens and has been owned by the Venables family (now Venables Llewellyn) for over 180 years. In fact, Lady Delia Dillwyn-Venables-Llewelyn (1910 - 2006) was a great influence upon the romantic and naturalistic style of the present gardens. She gardened until shortly before her death at 96.
Ragged-Robin, I know your ears will have pricked up at the words Llysdinam and Venables and yes, there is a strong Kilvert connection here. He was staying here in August 1873, when the Venables* family went to Garth Flower Show, Dog Show, Poultry Show, Bqazaaar and Athletic Sports (mustn't miss any out) and Kilvert took himself off to visit Llanleonfel church (there is a post about it when I visited earlier this year). (*The Rev. Richard Lister Venables was the Vicar of Clyro, so effectively Kilvert's boss).
In September 1874, he wrote: "Went to Llysdinam. I never had a lovelier journey up the lovely valley of the Wye. A tender beautiful haze veiled the distant hills and woods with a gauze of blue and silver and pearl. It was a dream of intoxicating beauty. I saw all the old familiar sights, the broad river reach at Boughrood flashing round the great curve in the sunlight over its hundred steps and rock ledges, the luxuriant woods which fringe the gleaming river lit up here and there by the golden flame of a solitary ash, the castled rock-towers and battlements and bastions of the Rocks of Aberedw, the famous rocky wooded gorge through the depths of which the narrow mountain stream of the Edw rushed foaming to its Aber to meet the Wye, the house of Pant Shoni gleaming white through the apple-laden orchard trees, the green Castle Mount, Llanvareth Church half hidden by its great dark yew, the sudden bend of the river below Builth, the Yrfon mouth above the little ancient town, and last but not least the grey-towered house of Llysdinam sitting on its green sunny hill backed by dark woods, and looking towards the river and mountains of the South."
His description of the beautiful Wye valley, which we regularly drive on our way to Hay or Brecon, sums it up perfectly. We are fortunate indeed. The house of Pont-Shoni (Sioni now) which he mentions is the one Tam and I went to an Open Garden Day at last year.
Bits of Newbridge-on-Wye peep through the trees. Builth is 6 miles in this direction.