Margam Park and Castle is in the industrial town of Port Talbot. Known for its steel trade, Port Talbot has been a place of criticism for its pollution.
But across from the burning iron works is Margam Castle and Park. Spotted from the M4, Margam House is positioned atop a hill, with views of the steel furnaces.
But should you visit?
Personally, I have always driven past Margam. I look at it nestled away in the greenery. It’s a favourable view, compared to the other side of the M4. Yet I’ve never had the opportunity to stop.
That was until I was on my way back from Carmarthen, and decided a visit to Margam would be on the agenda.
The clue is in the title. An extensive park and a Manor House. The 19th century Tudor mansion was designed by architect Thomas Hopper for Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot, the man who’s empire was the steel works. The house was built during 1830-40.
Approaching the house up a steep hill, it certainly is a rather impressive site. Large and gothic, it sits comfortably surrounded by greenery, with views of the burning fires of the steel works.
Can you go inside the Manor House?
The main entrance hall and the main staircase is open to the public, but that’s about it, which is really disappointing. Owned by Glamorgan County Council, the place that is accessed by the public has a display of the history of the site. So if history is your thing, then you won’t mind reading this. Yet it’s a shame that where doors used to be are now blocked up, and the windows you see from the outside, with multiple rooms, are left the imagination.
If you can’t go in, then why should I go?
Well, that’s a good point. However, the sight of the Manor House is worth seeing. Also, the park goes for miles, so there is plenty to explore.
On a good day, you would be able to spend the whole day at the park. Take family, or a couple of friends, and set up a picnic. Or simply go exploring.
Outside the house are gardens, with flowers growing and bees feeding in the summer months.
Margam park regularly hosts history re-enactments on the site, too. There are also plenty of bank holiday activities going on throughout the year.
After you’ve been to the house and seen the blooming flowers, why not go further into the park and spot the deer?
That’s right. The park is home to a deer population that have been on the site since the Norman times. Of course, the deer aren’t that old! But their family line is! You may even see peacocks, which roam the grounds.
Take a visit to the orangery, where citrus trees grow. The building was used to house these trees and plants, but now can be hired for events, such as weddings.
Also on the site of Margam is Margam Abbey. Once a beautiful building, Henry VIII’s dissolution act of monasteries meant that the abbey was ruined.
You can walk through the ruins, and walk underneath the roof, which still exists. See what it used to look like with information boards. The whole time, Margam Manor will tower above you, as if Mr. Talbot is still watching.
If you’ve never been to Margam, then Margam Manor and Gardens is worth a visit. It’s a shame you can’t explore the manor wider, but enjoy the park around you. You may even fancy jumping on the steam train, which runs throughout the summer through the park!