The Pin Mill at Bodnant Garden
This summer visitors will get a bird’s eye view of our famous rose gardens in all their summer glory, when we open the Pin Mill upper floor for the first time following several years of conservation work.
The old Pin Mill is one of the most recognised and photographed features of the Grade I listed garden and from June visitors can explore inside, and see the Italianate terraces as the garden’s donor family would have done themselves, many years ago.
Bodnant Garden's five terraces were built in the years between 1904 and 1914. They were designed by Henry McLaren and his mother Laura (Lady Aberconway) both renowned horticulturalists. Over the course of a decade five levels were carved out of the grassy hillside which sloped westward from Bodnant Hall to the River Hiraethlyn in the valley below, creating garden rooms with flower-filled borders, rose beds and water features.
Henry later added classical statues and furniture, including the statue of Bacchus on the Top Rose Terrace, the French Baroque fountain on the Croquet Terrace, the William Kent style seat on the Lily Terrace, the stone sphinxes on the Lower Rose Terrace. As the grandest finishing touch, in 1939 he added the Pin Mill on the lower Canal Terrace.
Dating from the early 1700s, the Pin Mill originates from Woodchester in Gloucestershire. Believed to have been built as a summerhouse for an Elizabethan hunting lodge nearby it later served as a manufacturing building at Frogmarsh Mills and as a tannery, but by 1938 had become derelict. Henry McLaren headed a local appeal to restore the building in its home but when this failed he bought it himself and dispatched his estate workers to move it, brick by brick, to Bodnant Garden. It was re-erected as the centrepiece of the Canal Terrace and the McLaren family used it as a garden room.
In recent decades the upper floor has been out of use, in need of restoration. In 2013 the exterior of the Pin Mill underwent extensive repair work, followed by conservation work to renovate the interior, including the winding wooden staircase, beautiful parquet flooring, panelled walls and leaded windows… from which visitors will now be able view the garden which has also undergone much conservation and renovation in recent years.
Entry to the Pin Mill will be free with public access on selected days during the summer (weather permitting). Watch this space for more details...