WORK to improve Parc Cefn Onn, in a £459,000 project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is set to start this week after a three-year wait.
Yesterday the first diggers arrived in the car park ready to start scooping out the pond in the upper Dingle later this week. That area will be closed during the work.
The park won the funding in 2016 but several factors have caused delays.
Tony Cousins, a member of the Friends of Cefn Onn group, which maintains the park and won the funding with Cardiff Council, said it was a shame they had to wait so long but “we are really pleased work is starting after three years’ wait”.
He said the work involves digging out the pond in the upper Dingle area but only after the goldfish and other pond life had been relocated to the lower pond.
The pond used to be a swimming pool and is tiled on the bottom. It was built by Ernest Albert Prosser for his son Cecil who is believed to have been suffering with TB after serving in the first world war.
New paths will be laid out around the pond in the Dingle up to the upper field. They will be suitable for the two mobility scooters, which will be available to hire for disabled visitors.
The total project costs are £660,000, but the Heritage fund has only funded £459,900. The rest has been raised through contributions.
Ms Ceri Phillips,41, who lives on Mill Road, Lisvane, regularly walks in the park with her two young children and new puppy who all enjoy the secret paths and big pond.
“We go most evenings with the puppy and kids. We love the mural on the bridge in the park and really appreciate the group Friends of Cefn Onn who support the maintenance of the park.
“There are some improvements needed to the park such as some of the paths wearing away and drainage issues. There could also be more doggy waste bins and some resurfacing in the car parks.”
Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Peter Bradbury said “Parc Cefn Onn is a real gem in the north of the city and it is great to see the project to conserve and enhance this unique woodland park is getting underway.
“The works due to start this week are just the start of the project that, as well as physical improvements to the park, will focus on delivering a range of activities to promote and encourage use of the park by a wide range of visitors of all ages and abilities.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to visitors to the park for the restricted access to certain areas but thank everyone for their patience as we work to enhance this local beauty spot and ensure it can be enjoyed to the full by visitors for years to come.”
Lisvane’s Conservative councillor David Walker added: “The improvements planned for Parc Cefn Onn have been long awaited and welcomed. The Lottery Grant of around half a million pounds has taken options to a new higher level.”
“Services at the entrance to the park will receive a long overdue facelift.
“It’s important we will see improved path surfaces which will allow better access to the far corners of the park without need for wellies or tough walking shoes.
Those with walking problems will find access facilities much better than before. The work will last most of the winter but will be a revelation for fair weather visitors next spring.”
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “These improvement works will make a massive difference to the country park and benefit not only the environment but the wider community too.
“The park is a valuable part of our heritage and it is important it is protected and sustained for the future, and made accessible to everyone.”
Richard Bellamy, head of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “Thanks to money raised by lottery players, we can help protect and preserve beautiful outdoor spaces so they’re there for everyone to enjoy for many years.
“Parks, gardens and woods are a vital part of our heritage, and one that makes a real difference to people living in and visiting Wales – it’s very important to us to keep them safe and thriving.”
The work will see:
- Improvements to the ponds and waterways
- Upgraded toilet facilities, including unisex accessible toilets and baby changing and a specialist toilet changing and washing facility for disabled older children and adults.
- Improved access to The Dingle with upgraded footpaths, handrails and additional seating
- New access ramps to the upper picnic lawn and lower picnic area
- Upgrading of the ruined summerhouse to tell the story of the garden
- Improved signage and tactile, audio, symbolic and visual interpretation along the main path throughout the park
- Accessible outdoor class room area
- Provision of Tramper 4 x 4 mobility scooter hire
- Provision of Walking for Health walks in the park
To see the map detailing the restrictions in both Welsh and English follow this link.