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Dyffryn (also known as Duffryn)


The gardens are the result of a remarkable partnership between the owner and horticulturalist Reginald Cory (owner 1906-34) and Thomas Mawson. The structure of the gardens, combining the expansively formal and the intricately intimate, survives almost in its entirety, with some later modifications within the general framework. Within the gardens are many notable trees, including some very early introductions. A major restoration programme was underway from 1998 to 2007, when the gardens re-opened. In the longer term, the property is to be leased to the National Trust.

The formal gardens are at the north, south and east of the house, and have balustraded terraces, lawns and flower beds. There is a Great Lawn, which is bisected by a central water lily canal.

There was a courtyard garden to the west of the house in Moorish design. This no longer survives. The walled kitchen gardens, which probably originated in the 16th or 17th centuries were further west and south of the house. To the south of the kitchen garden Mawson laid out his series of intimate enclosures. These are arranged with paths, walls, compartments and clipped yew hedges. Each compartment has its own character both of design and planting, a result of Mawson's professional skills and Reginald Cory's profound knowledge of plants.

The south-west facing terrace has a herbaceous border running along its full length. Beyond the border are the garden rooms. These include the Lavender Walk, Paved Court, Bathing Pool Garden, Rose Garden (also called the Round Garden or Topiary Garden), Theatre Garden (also known as the Japanese Garden) and the Pompeiian Garden. Other features include an arboretum containing many notable trees, and an informal area of lawns and woodland clearings known as the West Garden.

An enclosed garden was set in the south-west corner of the grounds. This was used by Reginald Cory for his large-scale dahlia trials, which improved the popularity of the dahlia plant. This garden area is no longer extant. A lake was planned at the south of the west garden, but the project was abandoned when filling the lake caused flooding of the house's cellars. There are two further garden areas close to the site of the lake. These are the Pool Garden and the Heart Garden. These may have been the last areas with which Mawson was involved, and work ceased with the outbreak of World War 1.

Reginald Cory resumed work on the site after the war, but since World War 2 financial constraints have had an impact on the planting and maintenance of the site. Recent funding from the Heritage Lottery has enabled the restoration of the site to its Edwardian grandeur.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


01443 336000

Access contact details

The gardens are open daily, with shorter opening hours during the winter.


Follow the A4232 from junction 33 of the M4 (signed for Barry). Take the A48 to Cowbridge then follow signs for Dyffryn Gardens.


Dyffryn Educational Centre


The site was bought by John Cory, philanthropist and ship and coal owner, in 1891. It had been the home of the Button, Pryce, then Bruce families since the 16th century. Cory built a new mansion on the site between 1893 and 1894. By 1900, some changes had been made to the parkland, but to the west of the house the walled gardens had been retained. Thomas Mawson was commissioned in 1903-4 to re-design the gardens, and work began in 1905-6. John Cory died in 1906, and his son Reginald saw the work through to completion.

The inspiration for the design came from the Arts and Crafts movement. Close to the house there were flower beds, lawns and formal terraces, with more intimate enclosures further away. Most aspects of the design were seen to completion, and most survive intact. Reginald Cory moved from the site in the 1930s and died in 1934. The house and grounds were sold in 1937 to Cennydd Traherne, and were leased to Glamorgan County Council. The site is now owned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council. Additional areas, the rockery and rockwork water garden were created in the 1950s, and several important items of oriental sculpture were added at this time.


  • 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
  • Early 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
Associated People
Features & Designations


  • CADW Register of Landscapes Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales

  • Reference: PGW(Gm)32(GLA)
  • Grade: I
  • CADW Register of Listed Buildings in Wales

  • Reference: Dyffryn House
  • Grade: II*
  • CADW Register of Listed Buildings in Wales

  • Reference: fountain to south of Dyffryn House
  • Grade: II
  • CADW Register of Listed Buildings in Wales

  • Reference: Pompeian Garden
  • Grade: II
  • CADW Register of Listed Buildings in Wales

  • Reference: walled garden
  • Grade: II




  • Mansion House (featured building)
  • Description: Dyffryn House is a large mansion in French Renaissance and English Baroque style. It was created by E.A. Lansdowne.
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  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: Small one-storey stone building.
  • Tower
  • Description: Brick built Observation Tower designed to overlook the lake which was never filled.
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  • Pool
  • Canal
  • Description: The canal bisects the main south lawn
  • Planting
  • Description: Water garden.
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  • Tree Feature
  • Description: Arboretum contains many notable trees including large specimens of Davidia involucrata, Acer griseum, Notofagus procera and Picea breweriana.
  • River
  • Description: The River Waycock bounds the garden at the north.
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  • Description: Heather garden.
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  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: This feature is the walled garden, which originated in the 16th or 17th century.
  • Herbaceous Border
  • Description: The south-west facing terrace has a herbaceous border running along its full length.
  • Planting
  • Description: Sunken garden.
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  • Description: Theatre garden.
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  • Description: Pompeiian garden.
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  • Planting
  • Description: Bathing pool garden.
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  • Description: Rose Garden (also called the Round Garden or Topiary Garden).
  • Fountain
  • Description: Oriental fountain in canal pool south of mansion
  • Planting
  • Description: Paved Court
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  • Description: Pool Garden.
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  • Description: Heart Garden.
  • Water Feature
  • Description: Rockwork water garden and rockery.
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  • Topiary
  • Description: A distinctive feature of Dyffryn are the clipped yew spheres composed of both the dark green and the golden varieties of fastigate yew. These are clipped such that the top half is golden and the lower half green, with a distinct divide between the two.
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Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


20th Century (1901 to 1932)


Part: standing remains



Open to the public