Roath Recreation Grounds, Cardiff
If you’re looking for some of the best dog walks that Wales has to offer (and in video!), then you've come to the right place. Join us on our adventure, where we plan to travel all over Wales, seeking out the best spots to take your dog (or dogs!) and we want to share our adventure with all of you.
We only started filming our new series ‘Walk of the Week’ back in August, and have already visited a bunch of the coolest dog walks Cardiff has to offer. Share our adventure with us, and discover some of the best-kept secret walking locations in your local area!
To watch episode nine, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Where’d we go this week?
This week we visited one of the better known spot’s in Cardiff, especially in the summer time; Roath Recreation Ground (or ‘Roath Rec’ for short!). The Rec (find on maps) offers a huge open space, around 4+ pitches wide, long (that makes sense, just read it a couple of times!). Roath Brook flows alongside the grounds, and you can follow it through to Roath Pleasure Gardens.
Roath Pleasure Gardens (find on maps) is a complete change in scenery from the Rec. You’ll find tennis courts and bowl’s greens here, and the park is very well kept. Expect to bump into plenty of friendly dogs (and their owners) as you follow the paths around and take in some of the beautiful plants, flowers and trees that you’ll find there.
An Overview of Roath Recreation Ground
Roath Rec is pretty much a huge open field. There are a number of rugby and football pitches there, but most of the time it’s empty and free to use for whatever you like. You’ll always find dog walkers, as there’s plenty of open space to run and play. Following the small path around the Rec, you’ll find outdoor gym equipment every hundred meters or so. Along the one side of the Rec is Roath Brook. This flows all the way from Roath Park Lake, through Roath Pleasure Gardens and then along the Rec. There are plenty of spots for your dog to venture down and get their feet wet too. All in all, the Rec is a great spot to visit. Although it doesn’t have too much going on (apart from the big open space), it’s a dog-friendly walk, and is pretty easy to access from anywhere in Cardiff!
Past the Rec sit’s Roath Pleasure Gardens. This park offer’s a completely different feel to the Rec. You’ll find plenty of well-kept flowers and trees. They have tennis courts, as well as bowls greens; in fact, three bowls teams play on these greens, and you’ll most likely spot some of them if you visit the park.
There are a wide variety of paths to choose from at Roath Pleasure Gardens, but don’t worry; you won’t get lost! Although it’s not as big as some of the other parks we visited, this park really is one to check out. The people are all amazing, and there are always plenty of dogs playing there.
How to Get There
Roath Rec is located in Roath, but sits just alongside the Penylan area of Cardiff. Honestly, it’s hard to miss. If you know where Albany Road or City Road is, you’re pretty close.
There are also countless bus routes that take you to the Rec, and there’s even free parking all around the park. We’ve never had issues with parking, and walk there most of the time. Here it is on the maps, to give you a better idea…
A Bit of History…
Space was made for Roath Recreational Grounds by diverting the course of Roath Brook from through the center of the park to the eastern border where it is today. The parks original purpose was to create space for organized sports and it was opened in 1891. (Source: cardiffparks.org.uk)
In 1895, a line of Elm tree’s were planted surrounding the playing fields of the Rec, which “in a few years time will form a magnificent avenue” – They weren’t wrong!
Fast-forward a couple of years and, during World War I, the park was re-purposed for allotments. It wasn’t uncommon in those days for public parks to be used for allotments in aid of the war effort. This continued up until 1920, when allotment owners were eventually asked to terminate their tenancies.
Between World War I and World War II, the park was apparently used to tip refuse among other things, but when World War II broke out, it was put back to use in aiding the war effort.
In 1939, it was used as a balloon barrage to prevent planes and bombers from flying over. Then, in 1940, they began to use the space for allotments again, providing much needed food and resources to the locals that lived there.
In 1941, the iron railings that once surrounded the Rec were donated to the war effort to be used for weaponry, bullets and other war-based activities. The grounds were used for Air raid shelters, rescue centers and anything else that was required for the war.
In 1945, after the war had ended, the Rec was reopened for recreational purposes. Ten years later, in 1955, the rescue center that was built there was given to the Libraries Committee and the following year it was opened as Roath Park Library. At some point between then and now, the Library changed it’s name to Penylan Library.
In 2002, the Rec was dedicated to the Queen in celebration of the Queens Diamond Jubilee. You can find a plaque posted underneath a tree near the play park, commemorating the event!
Penylan Library offer’s plenty of facilities, and is actually a really nice building. You can use their computer room to get work done, take advantage of their printers or simply use their Wi-Fi. Although you may need a library card to get in, the lovely people at the desk are always more than happy to be of assistance.
They even have a gym there!
Whether you’re looking to work out, or simply do some work, this place has got you covered. For a full list of what they offer, we found this table on the Cardiff.gov.uk website. Take a look:
We’ll leave the library opening times here too, if you were interested:
If you wanted to know more about Penylan Library, follow this link or give them a call on: 029 20 788 414
Roath Pleasure Gardens (Tennis)
Inside Roath Pleasure Gardens, you can find 4 tennis courts, and they’re free to play on all year round! You don’t have to book to play; simply grab your friends, bring some balls and go play! Pretty neat, right?
Here’s a link to their website if you don’t believe us!
Roath Pleasure Gardens (Bowls & Teams)
If you’re into bowls, then Roath Pleasure Gardens is the place to be. With plenty of bowls greens, and three different teams who play there, Roath Pleasure Gardens is a hub for bowls in the area.
In fact, the bowls greens have been there for over 100 years! Hats off to the park wardens who maintain and care for the greens, as they always look pristine and well cared for.
To find out more about the clubs that play there, simply click the link to visit the relevant website!
Fair Oak (The Tree)
Fair Oak was an ancient oak tree that once lived inside the grounds of Roath Pleasure Gardens. In 1905, it was estimated to be 500-600 years old believe it or not! (Source: cardiffparks.org.uk)
Unfortunately, in 1925, Fair Oak was pronounced dead. As a celebration of its existence, the lower trunk and branches were left to form a relic of sorts.
By 1980, the ‘relic’ had rotted significantly, which lead to a plaque being placed at the base of the tree. You can still see this plaque today!
In fact, you can even find some of the trunk of Fair Oak today, although it is pretty rotted now.
On top of the plaque, a new ‘English Oak’ was planted and still stands strong today. Maybe in a couple of hundred years it too will be the size that Fair Oak once was.
Fun Fact: Some local roads and businesses have been named after Fair Oak!
Keep Wales Tidy in Penylan!
After filming our fourth episode at Roath Brook Gardens, we got in touch with the local community and were informed of several community projects that were going on in the area. One of these was part of the ‘Keep Wales Tidy’ scheme.
To quote their website, Keep Wales Tidy are “a charity working across Wales to protect our environment for now and for the future.” (Source: keepwalestidy.cymru)
This scheme is all for a pretty good cause, and is led by local communities! We got in touch with Lowri who volunteers for ‘Keep Penylan Tidy’, which is the area alongside Roath Rec. She’s very passionate about what she does so we promised to raise awareness of the scheme and share with you all of the good that they do!
If you wanted to know more about the scheme, click here. If you wanted to volunteer or find out how you can help, you can either get in contact with Pam Bacon, or Gareth Davies. We’ll leave their contact details below.
Without further ado, check out the full episode:
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Where are we heading next?
We have only got one more episode to go! Due to losing our flying camera equipment, and a failed Kickstarter campaign, we are going to have to stop our Walk of the Week series after 10 episodes…
It’s been an absolute blast, and we have loved every moment of it. Although we are stopping for now, we 100% plan to return next year with bigger, better and further-afield walks!! If you liked any of our episodes, please do take a moment to drop us a message and let us know!
Thanks for reading, and catch you all on next week's Walk of the Week!
- Dino & Beth (and Marley!)