Tenby’s Secret Garden

Allens View is the hilltop woodland viewpoint alongside the Pembrokeshire Coast Path on the first hillcrest north of Tenby. It was gifted in two parts to the Friends of Tenby in 1965 and 1974 from land owned by Miss Jessie Allen of Clovers, Northcliffe, Tenby.

 VIEWS OVER TENBY

A working party of National Park Coast Path volunteers rest at Allens view’s south viewpoint

 

Having retired, I settled in Tenby in 1999, because it was my favourite place in Wales  and I have pursued photography, watercolours, pastel portraits, and being a member of Tenby Civic Society ever since.

My initial disappointment with the partial view of Tenby from Allens View has been replaced by a growing affection for the peace and outlooks of this woodland spot and especially for its magnificent Monterey Pines.  Hopefully those of you who haven’t shared that yet will soon walk up to see and enjoy it. To whet your appetites read on….

Allens View’s story starts, not surprisingly with Miss Jessie Allen who retired from a college in Cheltenham in the 1930’s and made her home in Clovers on the hillcrest. Born in Tenby in 1885 on her return her involved herself in the social life of the town. Being a keen gardener she made many improvements on Clovers extensive plot. She wanted to share the wonderful views with the town so she gifted a south-facing triangle of land adjoining Clovers to The Friends of Tenby.  An adjoining second area was first gifted to her landscape gardener Peter Hainsworth, who passed it to the Friends in1974. This parcel contained many more trees and the fine northern view to Monkstone Point.  The Friends later became Tenby Civic Society, who continued to maintain the site.

Twenty-five trees species are recorded among the 180 mature trees on the site, this rich variety including many native trees as well as a similar number of flower species. Paths run from the Coast Path through the site and connect back onto the Coast Path.  The hilltop affords two good viewpoints, one north towards Waterwynch Valley and Monkstone Point, the other south over Tenby to Giltar Point and Penally.

Allens View is particularly valuable as a viewpoint as many parts of this section of the Coast Path are confined between or by hedges, so views along the coast are rare. There are benches and a picnic table for walkers to enjoy. The only access to the site is on foot. The litter bins are well used, little litter being left on the site, a sign it is well-respected by users.

Over 50 years plants flowers and some trees have been added.  Benches were donated by Society members and local societies. New paths were cut, a stone viewpoint cairn erected.  Sadly trees have grown up on land around Allens View so part of the view Miss Allen enjoyed of Tenby’s rooftops is obscured by larches and pines planted by the banker Julian Hodge.   The main views north and south remain rewarding, looking over the adjoining slopes because that owner helpfully maintains these slopes as grass.

Recent changes, including the advanced maturity of many of the trees, mean the Society has had to change its approach, whilst maintaining Allens View’s semi-wild character. So a 50th Anniversary project was launched in 2015 to raise the additional funds needed to improve awareness, signage, views, re-stock planting and ensure a balanced sequence of tree replacement as over-mature trees die or are removed for safety reasons.

Suitable indigenous tree and flower species will be chosen for reinforcement and replacement planting. Felling needs care to avoid ‘wind-tunnel’ damage risks to existing trees used to having the protection of a group of trees.  Gates and an information panel are also planned.

Anyone interested in helping with the many volunteer work tasks the Project involves should contact Harry Gardiner at harry.gardiner@uwclub.net or on 01834 844257.

Costs of materials and tree-surgeon work are considerable so anyone wishing to help financially can send donations to the Society’s Treasurer, Albie Smosarski, at Cofion Books, Bridge Street, Tenby, SA70 7BU, payable to Tenby Civic Society.

Gifts in kind can be equally helpful; contact Harry above if you can donate woodland flowers, native evergreen bushes or young hedging trees.  Tree and bulb planting is in the Autumn, so gifts then of native daffodils, bluebells, snowdrops, or primroses would be especially welcome.

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