So, here we go again. A second lockdown or “fire break”, as it’s being called, is here. We’re being asked to stay home again in Wales and our daily walks in our local area are back on the cards. Cardiff has already been under a local lockdown for a few weeks, which means we couldn’t leave the county, and I have to say I am struggling with it. I want life so desperately to go back to some form of normality and I think the uncertainty and being stuck in one place is what I find hardest.
Cardiff is feeling so small at the moment, especially as we usually head out to neighbouring counties, like the Vale of Glamorgan, for days out in the countryside. I also miss the rolling hills and green farmland of my home town so much at the moment and I have really felt the impacts of living in a city this year. I am yearning for a little cottage in the country, but then I stop, reevaluate, and realise that actually I am super lucky to live in a city where there is nature all around. There are lovely parks and woodlands to visit in Cardiff, and we are so lucky to have access to the sea at Cardiff Bay.
I thought today I’d share some of my favourite places to get close to nature this autumn in Cardiff. Not being able to hike and get out into the countryside in this beautiful season is criminal, but we are so incredibly lucky to live in this beautiful city and there are some gorgeous places to visit right on our doorstep.
Roath Park is a Grade I listed park, which opened in 1894 and still retains its Victorian charm. The star of the show has to be its 30 acre man-made lake, filled with birdlife and opportunities for boating and fishing, but it also has beautiful pleasure gardens, a recreation ground and a sweet little cafe at the lakeside. I love visiting this beautiful place and escaping from the city for a while. Its a really gorgeous part of Cardiff and the trees lining the lake are full of autumn colour at this time of year.
This woodland isn’t within walking distance of the flat for us so we won’t be able to visit during this nationwide “firebreak” lockdown, but I was so happy to see that it falls within Cardiff’s county boundary and we made the most of a sunny Sunday afternoon with a visit during the “local” lockdown that Cardiff was in during much of October. There are so many lovely trails to follow with views of the surrounding countryside. It’s an ancient woodland and Special Area of Conservation, and is situated next to the stunning Castell Coch. This is a wonderful example of a Gothic Revival castle which looks like something out of a fairytale, both inside its walls and rooms and out.
Cardiff Bay Wetlands
I absolutely adore this place. I can’t actually remember the first time I visited but I now walk here nearly every single day on my lunch break as I’m working from home and it’s a ten minute stroll away. It is the perfect place to escape and I just love being by the water. This year we have watched swans grow up before our eyes and going at dusk is perfect as you usually have the place to yourself. I am truly grateful to have this gorgeous place right on our doorstep, even more so when the sunset is amazing as this!
Bute Park is known as the green heart of Cardiff, situated just behind Cardiff Castle and a mere five minute walk from the high street and city centre’s bustling arcades. I absolutely love it and could walk or run here for hours, it never gets boring. In the 1700s, the wealthy Bute family inherited the castle and by the 1800s they started to develop the grounds which now make up Bute Park. The Castle and grounds were gifted to the people of Cardiff in 1947 and the park opened publicly in 1949. Now it features an arboretum, trails through parkland and woods, cafes and tearooms, and the River Taff flowing through it. I sometimes find it hard to believe that we’re right in the middle of Wales’ capital city when I’m there.
My first job in Cardiff was situated at BBC Wales, a short walk from the idyllic “city within a city” of Llandaf, and I love visiting this pretty place whenever we get the chance. We can walk here from our flat if we follow the Taff Trail along the River Taff that flows by our flat, and it really does feel world’s away with the busy city centre. It’s a historic city that boasts a stunning cathedral, picturesque high street, and some lovely eateries and shops too. It has a rich history and Roald Dahl was also born in Llandaf in 1916.
I love being by the water, whether that’s the sea, a lake or the river, and a walk along the River Taff is perfect for me. The whole of the Taff Trail is 55 miles long and runs between Cardiff Bay and Brecon, but we always enjoy walking along it from our flat and up to Llandaf. There is so much to see on this route and I love how the river is mostly lined with colourful trees during this time of year.
How important is getting close to nature to you?
Lots of love. xoxo