Fairwater Park

The land now occupied by Fairwater Park appears on the 1880 Ordnance Survey map as fields with trees along their boundaries, and a stream running in a wooded valley at the north west (the present day Dell). On the 1900 map the trees have mostly been removed from the field boundaries. A pond is shown in 1920 towards the south east of the fields. This pond is seen on all subsequent maps, but from the 1950s with a changed shape and reduced in size. Upper House Farm can be seen south east of the wooded valley on OS maps for the 1940s and 1950s but not subsequently.

Several years prior to 1952 Major E. David sold land to the Council on which a housing estate was built. The area known as The Dingle was retained as a park, but in May 1952 the park had not yet been opened to the public. Councillor Laurence Doyle, who wished to see the people of Fairwater enjoying the park, described it as "a very beautiful park, with a trout stream running through it, banks of spring flowers and some very valuable plants." He added that "there are footpaths around it, and in design it compares very favourably with the park at Cefn On..." Councillor Doyle also stated that one of the disadvantages was access to the park being available only through a privately owned farm, so another entrance needed to be found.[1]

Parks Committee minutes recorded that in April 1947 land was transferred by the Estates Committee to the Parks Committee for construction of an access road for entry to the new Fairwater Park.[2]

In September 1956 it was reported that the land required for Fairwater Park would be surrendered by the tenant of Upper House Farm on the 2nd February 1957.[3] The Parks Committee later agreed to allow the former tenant of Upper House Farm to use the land for one year from 2nd February 1957 for mowing and grazing purposes only.[4]

Fairwater Dell c1958

Fairwater Dell c1958

The 1960s Ordnance Survey map shows Fairwater Park to consist of a single field on which new tree planting had taken place. A second pond is shown at the foot of the Dell.

The ski centre which is a feature of the present day park was first shown on Ordnance Survey maps in the 1980s, at the south (Fairwater Road) end of the park. In January 1969 the Parks Committee received a report that the artificial ski slope would be open to the public within the next two months.[5] In April the Committee heard that the Lord Mayor had accepted an invitation to open the slope officially at 3pm on the 1st May 1969.[6] The purchase of ski tow equipment (known as a Poma lift) costing approximately 50,000 French Francs (about £6,000) was approved in January 1979.[7] The management of the ski centre was taken over in January 1985 for a trial period by the Ski Council for Wales.[8]. In September 1986 the Leisure and Amenities Committee agreed that the site be formally leased to the Ski Council for Wales.[9]

This short video clip is from a 16mm cine film entitled Cardiff the City of Flowers produced by Cardiff Parks Committee c.1960.[10] (The audio on this video clip is a little distorted.)

Other links

Sources of information

  1. South Wales Echo 8th May 1952 page 2, No-one yet enjoys Cardiff's hidden park.
  2. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 15th April 1947
  3. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 6th September 1956
  4. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 14th February 1957
  5. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 20th January 1969
  6. Meeting of the Parks, Baths and Cemeteries Committee 21st April 1969
  7. Meeting of the Leisure and Amenities Committee 8th January 1979
  8. Meeting of the Leisure and Amenities Committee 7th January 1985
  9. Meeting of the Leisure and Amenities Committee 29th September 1986
  10. Cardiff the City of Flowers, cine film produced by City of Cardiff Parks Committee c.1960. Director of Parks W. Nelmes, M.B.E., Filmed by C. Fishwick, Narrator John Darran. (The full film has a run time of 16 minutes of which the section featuring Fairwater Park (The Dell) is about 55 seconds. The audio quality has been lowered by the many "repairs" to the film over time.)