Cardiff is a great place for walking and outdoor exploration; even right up into the town centre itself. The course of the river and the Taff Trail, which stretches from Cardiff Bay, 60 Km north to Brecon, provide some gorgeous Welsh scenery to walk around and its numerous parks, gardens and nature reserves are a joy to stroll through. So for nature enthusiasts, spending time in the capital where can you go to get a spot of fresh air?
Cardiff Bay Trail – Since its rejuvenation the bay has been steadily growing as a destination for walking. When the Ponte Werin People’s Bridge was opened last year it completed a circuit that circumnavigates the fresh water lagoon of Cardiff Bay. Over its 5.5 miles of track you can follow the shoreline, walk through the old docks area and take in the Nature Reserve at Windsor Esplanade, explore the Sports village and marvel at the wonder of the barrage itself. If you don’t feel quite up to the full circuit there are regular river buses along the route that could cut your journey in half and still leave you feeling like you’ve explored this historic area of Cardiff.
Bute Park – Situated behind Cardiff Castle forms a marvellous gentrified country walk in the heart of the city. The trail has footpaths that criss-cross the landscape and traverse the playing fields, then you can meander through the riverside woodland which gives you a peaceful journey along the River Taff, across Blackwier, past the football pitches on Pontcanna Fields to the County Cricket Ground at Sophia Gardens. This is a surprisingly tranquil stroll considering you are in the middle of a busy city.
Wenallt Hills – Looking north from Cardiff you will see the majestic hills of the Wenallt framing the skyline, stretching from Tongwnlais with its beautiful Germanic looking Castell Coch right the way over to the suburbs of Newport. The hills are an area of unspoilt natural beauty that have been preserved and left in tact for people to enjoy. A walk here covers ancient forests, pastures and rugged scrubland. It has steep challenging runs and easy flat sections, a destination for walkers of all abilities. And from its peaks you have unsurpassed views across Cardiff, the Severn estuary to the Somerset Levels.
Glamorganshire Canal Nature Reserve – Below the Coryton roundabout on the M4, just off the A470, you will find this mile long stretch of the old abandoned Glamorganshire Canal that once linked the city to Merthyr and the Rhondda valley. This area of natural wetland has long been the perfect city habitat for many birds, animals and plant life native to the area. There are plenty of hides and trails for visitors to view the wild life and take stock of this natural setting in the city landscape. Along with the remnants of the canal is a section of the old coal tramway and the pastoral pleasure of Forest Farm Country Park, all nestled neatly along the banks of the River Taff.
Roath Park – This is a 130-acre, classic Victorian park on the eastern suburbs of Cardiff, laid out in 1894 it has four distinctly different green spaces. The southern edge holds “The Rec” playing fields, this is followed by a formal garden, glass house conservatory and arboretum. The main feature of the park is the large lake with its lighthouse memorial to Captain Scott and the crew of the Terra Nova, which set sail on its fateful voyage from Cardiff Docks. The area to the north of the lake has been left unspoilt as a natural woodland habitat. The park still has an elegant feel to it and has a traditional café, paddleboats and rowing boats for visitors to enjoy during the summer months.
Map showing the locations of the Parks in Cardiff
If you would like to find out more about exciting day trips and tours around Cardiff or the Welsh countryside or the many other memorable festivals, please contact Travelling Content for more information.