I had my first wander around Grangemoor Park yesterday and I’ll definitely be going back, though perhaps when it’s a little drier underfoot. With an extensive area of grass and scrub that rises up to two central mounds (from which you get quite good 360-degree views over Cardiff), this land wasn’t always a park. You have only to look at old maps to see that, once upon a time, the River Ely meandered through Penarth Moors here but, once the river was realigned, the hollows thus created were used as one of Cardiff’s rubbish tips. When the tip was full, Cardiff Council had a load of underground drains built, as well as ventilation pipes to allow the methane to escape, covered the lot with tons of clay – hence the very soggy ground, edged it all around with a solid stone wall, and changed its designation to a park in 2000.
That may sound like a sad history but, according to locals, the park now hosts quite a broad range of flora and fauna, and I certainly saw many of the stirrings of Spring. There were bumblebees and flies, a butterfly and a ladybird, masses of primroses almost hidden under bushes, golden coltsfoot and dandelions in bloom all around and horsetail pushing through everywhere, as well as incredibly vibrant lichens and a healthy growth of Oak curtain crust fungi. I will be going back!
I’ve admired this young avenue of trees since I moved to Cardiff in August 2015, and I posted some photos of how it looked through the seasons back in November 2016, when I blogged about National Tree Week. I’d always been puzzled by what type of tree these were, but no longer. Thanks to the wonderfully informative blog by Pat at The Squirrelbasket and a look at the excellent Cardiff Council Horticultural Database website, I now know the avenue is made up of 100 disease-resistant elms of the variety Ulmus ‘New Horizon’. The trees were planted in November 2004 to mark 2005 as the centenary of Cardiff becoming a city and the city’s 25th jubilee as capital of Wales. Pat will be blogging about these trees each month for the next year so, if you’re a tree lover like me, I suggest you follow her blog to read more about this glorious elm avenue.