Victorian bathing habits laid bare at Wales retirement park

Hidden charms: the historic wallowing pool was only discovered after the ornamental pond had been drained</em srcset=

WHEN RESTORATION work began on a Victorians.

For when the water had been drained, the pond revealed a secret that had been immersed for over a century – a rare wallowing pool built for the gentry of the times.

Up until then, the ornamental pond sto all appearances – simply the attractive centrepiece of a walled garden at the Llantwit Major park.

But once emptied, restone benches.

Experts from the local histoday’s high-tech spa pools.

But instead of being filled with warm bubbling water, the wallowing pool would have been fed by natural rainfall which ran down from its circular enclosure.

For more than 100 years, the park's pond has been home to fish and water lilies while its secret lay hidden</em data-recalc-dims=

Here, residents of the former manor house would sit and relax on warm summer days, either knee deep on the top benches or chest deep on the lower tiers.

“It was a stunning find, and something which nobody suspected existed!” said David Curson who is operations director of Berkeleyparks which has owned Ham Manor for over 30 years.

“The wallowing pool is built from Welsh bluestonehenge.

“Very few examples of these structures still exist, and when news about it got out, we started receiving requests for visits from historians and archaeologists from across the country.

“We were delighted to its function of the past hundred years, and now our koi carp have their home back.

“But it’s certainly added another layer of charm and mystery to this lovely garden!” added David.

The original Victo around 100 park homes for people in or near retirement.

Ham Manor is one of 50 residential parks throughout the UK under the umbrella of multi-award winning Berkeleyparks which has been family-owned since its formation 60 years ago.

There is more information about the group and its parks at