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Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth University


The whole campus has been extensively landscaped with planting chosen to complement the modern buildings, to suit the exposed and windswept sloping site, and to tolerate the salt-laden air.


A windy hill

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The campus gardens are open to the public. There is a visitors car park beside the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, which is a public facility on campus.


From Aberystwyth take A487 north-east up Penglais Hill. The University is the next right turn after that to the National Library of Wales.


University of Wales

Old College, King Street, Aberystwyth, SY23 2AX

The campus was acquired in three stages: Six hectares in 1897, 36 hectares in 1929, and 85 hectares in 1946. The exposed site overlooks the Cardigan Bay, and so the buildings have been grouped in several tiers down the slope.

The university buildings began in 1937 to designs by Percy Thomas. The landscape has been threaded with vehicular drives and a system of walkways. Sir William Holford devised a master plan in 1957 which guided further development until 1965, when Percy Thomas provided a new one.

In 1946 the University purchased the estate of Plas Penglais.

The whole campus was extensively landscaped with planting chosen to complement the modern buildings, to suit the sloping site, and to tolerate the salt-laden air. The early planting was devised by James Ingoldsby, a landscape architect who advised the Percy Thomas Parership, and the Botany Department.

In 1963 Brenda Colvin provided designs for an area between Pantycelyn hall and the Biology Building, and for an area between the main raod and the football pitch. The former is of interest as one of her few schemes which have survived.

Between 1960 and 1980 the greater part of the planting was by the Curator of the Botany Garden, Basil Fox, under the direction of Prof P.F. Wareing. Fox exchanged seeds and cuttings with major institutions worldwide and introduced many maritime plants from South America and Australia which are rarely seen in British gardens outside Aberystwyth. Cotoneaster, Hebe and Olearia species were particularly suitable for this site and species were hybridised and used in the plantings. A nursery was established at the Botany Gardens to propagate plants, many of which were not commercially available, for use in the campus.

Associated People
Features & Designations


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

  • Reference: PGW(Dy)47(CER) part of
  • Grade: II*



Key Information





Principal Building






Open to the public


Civil Parish