Cardiff Council has nominated four Cardiff recreation grounds for Royal protection under the Queen Elizabeth Fields II Challenge. If the nominations are approved by the charity Fields in Trust, Rumney Recreation Ground, Roath Recreation Ground, Pontcanna Fields, and Wilson Road Recreation Ground in Ely will be protected for generations to come by covenants on the land. In the second of our guest blogs on the nominated sites, Steve Dimmick, Pontcanna resident and managing director of digital recruitment firm Dimmicks.co.uk, talks about why giving Pontcanna Fields Royal protection is a “commendable and logical move”.
“Slap bang in the middle of the city of Cardiff, somewhat strangely lies a huge expanse of beautiful countryside.
It’s a patchwork of playing fields, allotments, the meandering Taff, stables, a caravan park, bowling greens and cricket pitches. There’s Cooper’s Field, Blackweir, Llandaff Fields and Bute Park, but at the epicentre of all of these lies Pontcanna Fields (including Sofia Gardens).
Like a great big set of lungs feeding fresh air to the capital, the acres of tranquil greenery in Pontcanna Fields provide the ying to the yang of a packed Millennium Stadium and the hubbub of Queen Street and St Mary St.
Having moved to Cardiff from London in 2004, I overlooked a number of business parks and alternatives to open an office for my business at the bottom end of Cathedral Road. It wasn’t the cheapest option, but it did mean that my staff and I could use the Welsh Institute of Sport gym at lunchtimes and that my journey to work involved a 20 minute stroll through stunning parkland.
Suddenly, the hours spent sardined onto the perennially delayed District Line seemed so very, very far away; commuting problems now involved sidestepping a dogwalker or being startled by a squirrel.
What I’ve learnt since then is that Pontcanna Fields are a hive of activity throughout the year; from the British Military Fitness brigades swarming around in their bibs in the pouring February rain, to the multi-cultural community cricket matches being played out in the midst of summer, to the evergreen cycles, tandems and custom-built tricycles of the fantastic Pedal Power, who do their damnedest to ensure that anyone can take in the sights whilst on wheels.
The fields really are at the centre of city-life, day in, day out, 365 days a year.
Whilst my emphasis above has been on the sporting side of things, the fields have had a significant part to play on the cultural side of things too; hosting as they did the 2008 National Eisteddfod of Wales – an event that admittedly took its toll on the football and rugby pitches for some time but which brought so much to the city.
More sedate activities are of course available. Walk through the fields today and you’ll see dozens of Cardiffians sunning themselves while flicking through a book or grabbing lunch at Y Mochyn Du on the southern border of the fields, or over the river at the excellent Summerhouse or newly opened Secret Garden Cafe. You’ll need beady eyes to spot the latter!
So, there you have it; Pontcanna Fields, a genuine diamond in the not-so-rough, that is Cardiff.
That anyone could ever contemplate developing on the land beggars belief; Pontcanna Fields are to Cardiff as Regent’s Park is to London, Jardin du Luxembourg is to gay Paris and Central Park is to NYC.
As such, placing the land in trust, through these deeds, is a commendable and logical move.”