Ebbw Vale Garden Festival

The Ebbw Vale Garden Festival of Wales (National Garden Festival 1992) attracted over two million visitors to Ebbw Vale in South Wales.[1]

Ebbw Vale Garden Festival
National Garden Festival, Ebbw Vale - geograph.org.uk - 920769.jpg
Ebbw Vale Garden Festival logo.jpg
Gryff, the festival mascot[1]
GenreNational Garden Festival
Dates1 May 1992 until 4 October 1992[1]
Location(s)Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent, Wales
Coordinates51°44′56″N 3°11′38″W / 51.749°N 3.194°W / 51.749; -3.194Coordinates: 51°44′56″N 3°11′38″W / 51.749°N 3.194°W / 51.749; -3.194


The national garden festivals were a high-profile 1980s initiative by the then Conservative government in response to criticism of their alleged neglect of areas hit by the decline of heavy industry. Environment Minister Michael Heseltine proposed that derelict land should be reclaimed for a Garden Festival as a symbol of the rebirth of such areas. The festivals were held every two years. The first such festival was held in Liverpool in 1984. Subsequent festivals were held in Stoke-on-Trent (1986), Glasgow (1988), Gateshead (1990) and Ebbw Vale Garden Festival (1992) which eventually won the competition. The festivals were highly successful in attracting millions of visitors from all over the country to industrial areas long ignored by British tourists. However they did not always lead to the hoped-for long-term injection of private investment in the affected areas.

The festivalEdit

Ebbw Vale was chosen as the last British Garden Festival site (1992) because of the waste land which had been the British Steel steel and tin works, part of which had been demolished in the early 1980s. The festival began on 1 May 1992 and ran until 4 October 1992. As well as gardens, plant exhibitions and fairground-style attractions the festival also featured a funicular railway, the Ebbw Vale Garden Festival Funicular.

The Festival Park (Garden Festival) site is now occupied by over 1,000 houses, a fishing lake, Festival Church, an owl sanctuary, a large environmental sculpture of Mother Earth,[2] woodlands and a shopping centre.


"In the Nick of Time" clock
The "collapsible" clock in the Ebbw Vale Garden Festival
The clock now in Newport

A mechanical clock known as “In the Nick of Time” by sculptor Andy Plant was installed on the site. The clock was commissioned and paid for by Newport Council at a cost of £100,000. On the hour, the structure would open to reveal the hidden characters inside. After the festival event the clock was relocated to John Frost Square, Newport. The clock is currently located on the roundabout leading to the Glan Llyn development behind Newport Retail Park in Newport. The clock no longer opens.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Ebbw Vale Garden Festival mascot looks back on 'dream come true' role". Wales Online. 27 January 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  2. ^ "TOURISM STRATEGY" (PDF). Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. Archived from the original (pdf) on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2013.

External linksEdit