Two walks in picturesque surroundings, but which are both within the city boundaries; one almost in the heart of the city itself
Roath Park and Roath Park Lake.
by bus: Service numbers 64 or 78 or 80 or 82 from Central Station,
by car: from City Hall north along Park Place, at traffic lights at end, turn right over railway bridge and swing round left. At end of Cathays Terrace straight across traffic lights along Fairoak Road. At roundabout take second left. The most convenient parking spot is at the north end of the lake, although parking is available on many of the roads around both park and lake.
A 5 kilometres (3 miles) walk, as easy as it is satisfying to eye and nose, around a lake and through some splendid displays of a vast variety of shrubs and flowers. Roath Park is probably the jewel in the crown of the city parks. The lake-side walk balm to the soul yet still within sight and sound of some busy roads.
The walk can be started from any number of places and no instructions other than the map are needed, but there are many things to look out for. Not least the Scott memorial, situated at the south end of the lake and reminding us indirectly of the glory that was once the Welsh coalfields, for it was the availability of Welsh steam coal that caused the Terra Nova to choose Cardiff as its port of departure. Around the north of the lake particularly can be seen a variety of bird life; this is not without its hazards, as the Canada geese seem to have the ambition to fertilise even the asphalt paths if possible. If you have a moment to spare, and 60 pence, pop into the conservatory at the southern end of the park. There you will find a variety of exotic plants, a multiplicity of tropical fish and some terrapins. If you are very lucky you may even spot the pair of African whistling tree ducks therein.
Along the banks of the Taff
if you start from the Castle, you are already there. If you start from Llandaff not a bad idea, you need to catch the 33 bus from the Hayes or Central Station and get off at the Black Lion, Llandaff. Cross the road go up the High Street and down past the cathedral to the river bank.
Whilst still not a serious rival to either the Danube or the Seine, the Taff has improved scenically and significantly over the last decade or so. This is due in part to the decrease in the amount of waste discharged into its valley tributaries as the heavy industries of South Wales have declined and disappeared, and partly due to the commendable amount of flood control and general tidying work carried out over that same period by various authorities.
This 8 kilometre (5 miles) walk starts within sight of the Castle walls and continues through to the north-west edge of the city, allowing views of Llandaff Cathedral from a new angle as you go.
This again is a walk that needs no written directions, the map will be sufficient. As it is up the river on one bank and down on the other, or vice versa, there is no danger of getting lost.
Trevor Ings and John Isaacs
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