Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Insole Court, Cardiff

I visited Insole Court for the first time this morning.
This mansion in Llandaff, Cardiff, was built by the Insole family, who were coalmine and shipping company owners. The original building dates from 1856, but was added to extensively as the family became wealthier.

In 1932, the building was acquired by Cardiff Corporation. Today it is a local community centre managed by Cardiff Council, where you’ll find childcare facilities, arts and language courses, yoga and other activities.

Refreshments are available from The Panty, a small café serving mainly tea, coffee and cakes. The house, which can be hired for weddings and other events, has the benefit of attractive gardens. At the back are lawns (one for croquet), well-tended flower beds, some notable trees, and a shady woodland walk. There’s an Acer Memorial Lawn off the drive leading to the house, where some colourful borders can also be found.

A recently-established feature is the Community Garden, towards the back of the house, past the old stables and the preserved World War 2 garages. Cultivated plots are emerging from an area that was previously just weeds.

It is interesting to see the different approaches to reclaiming this land for productive use. This garden is ideal for members of the local community who want a piece of land to cultivate, but do not want anything as big as an allotment plot (and allotments around here are oversubscribed in any case).

There's a small area of newly-planted fruit trees, patches of beans and potatoes, tomatoes and courgettes, and some ripening heads of wheat, while herbs are liberally interplanted around the plots.

Along one wall, a couple of local schools have been gardening, with colourful flowers predominant.
Back in the house, the 50+ Friends of Insole Court host an interesting series of talks on Wednesday mornings; including ones about apples (Oct 12), salmon fishing (Oct 19) and beekeeping (16 Nov).

Insole Court, Fairwater Road, Llandaff, Cardiff CF5 2LN

Good news regarding lottery funding and Insole Court:

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