Tredegar House is gorgeous this time of year, and when we were invited to join in with a scaffold climb to see the great work being done on the house we leapt at it! We arrived early, and so took a wander around the walled gardens first, seeing all the flowers in bloom, and watching the birdlife before making our way to the stunning stable block to start our tour.
Our guides Dave and Stuart were great. We had a short health and safety brief, and donned a high visibility vest and hard hat (as, of course, it is a working building site we were heading on to) and set off towards the house.
The climb itself wasn’t up ladders (happy to say), but proper steps – 68 of them in total, up to a platform where we were at eye level with the roof. The scaffolding continued up above us, and the whole site was enclosed, so that the builders could work in any weather.
The views out from the platform were amazing – especially in the gorgeous sunshine. Worth the climb just for that!
Our guides were very knowledgeable, and told us how the 10,000 new slates were being fitted, and that they are Welsh slates, and the closest match to what they were replacing. When originally built, the house had clay tiles, but this was changed to slate many years ago. Some of you may remember the slate we signed back in February, we did look for it, but couldn’t pick it out amongst all the others!
Not only is the roof being replaced, but the 5 chimneys are being repaired (with some being rebuilt using the same brickwork), and 12 dormer windows for the attic rooms are being replaced. We could see the old woodwork, as well as the new frames and leading going on. It would have been very cold and damp in those servants quarters without the work being done!
We also chatted about the Morgan family history, and everything the family did in the local area.
If you haven’t been, I’d highly recommend you book yourself on one of the free tours. You can’t pre-book the tours ahead of time, but pop into reception and they can arrange you to be booked in on the day. The tours take about 35 minutes or so, and we managed the stairs easily, even with a fear of heights! It is important to remember it is a building site, so you can’t go up in ballet pumps, flip flops or high heels, and make sure your camera has a good strap on it, and your phone is in a pocket! There are 4 climbs daily (not weekends or bank holidays), with 12 spots on each and under 16 year olds do need to be at least 1.5metres to participate.
If heights aren’t your thing, there is still plenty to do at Tredegar House. Why not go on one of the ‘Lifting the Lid’ tours of the property, or just stroll around the house to see the amazing furniture and rooms. Over the school holidays there is lots for the kids to do – An Easter trail and Easter Egg Hunt, outdoor activities and the kids can tick off some of the things to do on their ‘50 things to do before you turn 11 and ¾’ challenge, all encouraging exploring nature and outdoor fun.
Don’t forget to stop into the tea rooms on your way out – home-made cakes and goodies, meals and great tea and coffee are a certainty, and they do try and cater for those among you who have special dietary requirements.
For more details regarding dates and times for scaffold climbs, and any other events at Tredegar House don’t forget to check out their website!