The Manor gardens have seen an equally changeable past and today are heavily used by the local community. Originally, the Manor held two Kitchen gardens, one of which appears to have been communal. Here families would have grown vegetables and raised animals, relying on the area for self-sufficiency. This would have been an even more important element of the Farm during the War years when food was heavily rationed.
The Kitchen garden which remains today has only recently been bisected by the main road running alongside the Manor. Before the mid-20th century, the garden was over double this size and spread up towards what is now the Llanyrafon shops. It was not until the 1980s that the Torfaen Museum Trust installed the boundary wall, thereby creating a quiet space of seclusion so close to the busy main road.
Today, due to funding received from the Rural Development Plan with additional support given by the Community Foodie project, the Manor garden has re-emerged providing a horticultural haven and complimentary landscape to Llanyrafon Manor. With a wider wildlife interest, the grounds encourage some larger creatures found in the eco system and is currently successful host to bats roosting in the old cottage. The gardens are overseen by the Llanyrafon Manor Community Group and based upon their research and ideas the design realises formal spaces as well as pockets of tranquillity alongside a traditional working kitchen garden.
Extensive introduction of new wildlife habitats have increased the gardens biodiversity. This coupled with the use of “companion planting” as one of several gardening approaches has resulted in the garden being an inviting sensory experience. Careful selection of tree stock, seed and horticultural methods contribute to the ethos of the manor with species chosen to re – introduce crops that would have been found growing in the gardens during, medieval, Victorian and WWII periods. This in turn instils a feeling of times gone by, revealing plants and skills that have been long forgotten. The group’s hard work has ensured that the space remains a site for food productivity and the foods produced re used within the café on site.