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Piercefield Park, Chepstow

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Map ReferenceST59NW
Grid ReferenceST5274095722
Unitary (Local) AuthorityMonmouthshire
Old CountyMonmouthshire
CommunitySt Arvans
PeriodPost Medieval

Piercefield is the par excellence outstanding example of an early 'sublime' landscape, which became one of the most famous sublime/Picturesque walks of the second half of the l8th century and an essential part of the 'Wye Tour'. The present park is largely the creation of Valentine Morris the younger who, from about 1752, transformed the entire estate and greatly enlarged it.

The parkland lies along the west bank of the River Wye immediately to the north of Chepstow, and stretches as far as the village of St. Arvans. It is a roughly triangular area of about 120 hectares (300 acres), radiating north from Chepstow. The house, now a roofless shell (nprn 20654) stands in the middle of the park, near the cliff on the edge of the Wye valley. The park is gently rolling except for the eastern edge where the densely wooded ground drops precipitously, with cliffs in places rising to several hundred feet above the River Wye. The river loops in two enormous bends along the eastern boundary and this naturally dramatic scenery, on both sides of the river, led to the fame of Piercefield in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

The western side of the park was largely open grassland, known as the 'Upper Lawn' (the northern end) and the 'Lower Lawn' (the southern end, in front of the house) with scattered trees and clumps, some of which survive. At the southern end is a small deciduous wood, Park Grove, and along the western boundary a narrow strip of large mature deciduous trees, some of which may date to about 1794 when the boundary wall was built. The wester edge of the park is occupiued by Chepstow Race Course. The eastern side of the park, along the Wye valley, is largely wooded with semi-natural woodland, mostly beech, yew, limes, and in places several species of whitebeam. On the less precipitous slopes the woods have a relict coppice structure, with some standard trees.

A kitchen garden lies to the north-west of the house (700322). In the later eighteenth century the park became famous for its picturesque walks (700321).  

Cadw 1994: Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales, Gwent, 120-22 (ref: PGW(Gt)40.
RCAHMW AP965073/49-52

RCAHMW, 27 June 2022

application/pdfCPG - Cadw Parks and Gardens Register DescriptionsCadw Parks and Gardens Register text description of Piercefield Garden, St Arvans. Parks and Gardens Register Number PGW(Gt)40.
application/pdfCAM - Cambria Archaeology Project ArchivesDigital copy of a report entitled, "The Piercefield walks and associated picturesque landscape features: an archaeological survey." The survey was conducted by K. Murphy of Cambria Archaeology.