The Haverfordwest and Area Society for Mentally Handicapped Children & Adults opened the Stackpole Garden project in 1983 providing meaningful work experience for local adults with learning disabilities.
The Society leased the 3.3 acre walled garden at Stackpole from the National Trust and set about reclaiming what had become a sadly neglected site. Over the next 20 years the garden became productive again and the Society introduced recognised entry level horticulture qualifications for its participants.
By 2000 the garden was at its limits in terms of production and the decision was made to renegotiate the lease to include the remaining 2.5 acres of the original garden which had been used in the past by various projects, the last of which had been a sensory garden.
The additional land was in a sorry state, the topsoil had been removed and the ground was overgrown and full of rubble. Several years of hard work by staff, students and volunteers returned the garden to a useable condition. This area now houses our straw bale built visitor centre, which includes Cawdors tea room and the Garden Shop, a kitchen garden and our often photographed wild flower meadow. There is also a large lawn which has proved to be a wonderful event venue.
In 2008 the Society became incorporated and was renamed Pembrokeshire Mencap Ltd and it continues to offer the City & Guilds ‘Skills for Working Life’ course with support from Pembrokeshire College. This course develops essential work related skills in areas such as health & safety and personal & social development along with basic horticultural skills. The students all have the opportunity to develop their own vegetable plot. They select what they wish to grow, tend their crops and harvest the produce for use at home. They also work on the main gardens and the vegetables and plants grown by the students are for sale in our garden shop, which is open daily.