Llanerchaeron is a National Trust property that is located two and a half miles from the picturesque harbour town of Aberaeron. This 18th Century Georgian property is truly unique as it has not been altered in the last 200 years and has a long history with agriculture. You are able to see aspects of this throughout the house and grounds.
Llanerchaeron was originally a farm house and was renovated in the 1790s by the famous architect John Nash. When he began the work on the farmhouse John Nash was a little known architect from Carmarthen. Mr Nash later established his reputation in London as a regency architect for the Prince Regent after undertaking work on Buckingham Palace and the Royal Pavilion. Mr Nash is also known for his work on St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire.
Although Llanerchaeron does look rather simple from the outside, it has been located so that you are able to enjoy the picturesque landscape with many of the main rooms surrounding a central top lit stair case hall. To the rear of the property you will find the servant area and even toady it clearly shows the distinction between the everyday life of the family and the everyday working life of the staff. The kitchen still uses the Edwardian range and fresh welsh cakes along with other produce that is produced at Llanerchaeron is available to purchase at the shop or to enjoy in the Conti's Cafe.
The service courtyard is one of the most important areas of the estate and is almost unique in that it is still in its original form and has survived the 10 different generation of the same family that have owned Llanerchaeron before it was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1989 by J.P.Ponsonby Lewes. This is a great location to see all the different aspects of how an 18th century estate works.
In the service courtyard you will find the diary, dairy scullery, cheese press room and store, the bake house, smoke-house, salting room, brew-house and laundry room. The yard was designed to maximise efficiency and tells the untold story of how hard the staff would work at the estate.
The walled gardens have been producing fruit and vegetable for over 200 years. Within the walls of the garden you will find productive kitchen gardens, ancient fruit trees, remnants of horticultural technology spanning the lifetime of the garden, herbaceous borders and a wonderful herb gardens.
The south facing walls were all heated by fire pits and evidence of which remains along with 2 beds heated by hypocausts which were used to produce fruit. Along the south facing wall is a Victorian greenhouse that was heated by a circulating hot water systems which is still in place although not in use and there is also a gently decaying concrete 1950's Edwardian green house.
Along the south facing wall you will find 25 rectangular beds that look like 'piano keys' and are filled with culinary and medicinal herbs. The herb garden is also home to a large variety of pollinating insects which are essential in order for gardens to thrive.
In the frame yard you will find a fire pit that was used to heat the cold frames that would have been situated near the greenhouse along the south facing wall. A cold frame was used traditionally to harden seedlings before they were either planted out or planted in the greenhouse.
Llanerchaeron has a large fruit orchard that is home to 51 varieties of apple. Although some may be very old some are a lot younger. Why not test your knowledge and see how many you are able to identify!
Llanerchaeron has a long history of being self-sufficient along with providing the local community. Even today they continue to carry on this tradition and rear their own meat and produce from the garden. The estate is home a herd of Welsh Black cattle; rare Welsh pigs and Llanwennog sheep. All the life stock is reared to the highest possible welfare standard and certified by the RSPCA's freedom food scheme and The Welsh lamb and beef producer's farm assurance scheme. The estate is also home to a number of chickens, ducks, doves and a herd of Welsh Mountain ponies.
'Save our magnificent meadows' is a nature conservation partnership project that was made up of 11 organisations including the National Trust and Plant life. The project was started as a 3 year project that was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project aimed to improve nearly 6000 acres of meadows and grassland across 9 locations around the UK. In Ceredigion they worked across 9 sites from Llanerchaeron's iconic parkland hay meadow to the damp and humid marshy grassland of Rhos Cwmsaeson. The scheme was not only designed to help the local wildlife but was an opportunity for visitors to learn about the damages that losing the habitats can make and the decline this causes in wildlife numbers. The estate uses it livestock along with its Welsh mountain ponies to graze its historic parkland and the flower rich hay meadow. This ensures that there is no further damage done to the locations when working on them as normal heavy machinery will damage the rich and nutritional undergrowth.
'Saving a population of Pearl Border Fritillary' is the latest scheme that the Llanerchaeron estate is supporting. They are working on a site just outside New Quay at Cwm Soden. Cwm Soden is a steep sided valley and the site is the location of this beautiful butterfly's habitat. The number of these butterflies has decreased over the year due to the side not being managed as it was in the past and the site has become overgrown. The estate is undergoing a project to maintain the habitats that are there and also to create new ones. The estate are using their herd of Welsh mountain ponies as a way to preparing the ground for the local wildflowers that have been unable to grow.
Although they are working on maintaining the habitat at Cwm Soden this is not the only site in which they are working. They are working on finding new locations so that they are able to build a suitable habitat in the hope that some of the butterflies will move to the new location.