The Rock Garden was one of the main original features of the park and was created on the rising ground on the eastern side of the Botanic Garden, where the path still rises with rocks on either side. It came into being because most of the ballast used for path-making in the park was taken from there and “as it would have been very difficult to have used [the site] for any ordinary purpose it was converted to its present use shortly after the park was completed in 1895.”
Stone for forming the ledges in the Rock Garden was obtained from a quarry a few hundred yards away, east of the park and facing the Lake Embankment (Promenade).
In the photograph above the steps (which no longer exist) appear to be at the top of the slope from the south end.
There were another set of steps which ascended the slope approximately from the fish pond to the Rock Garden, possibly joining at the left of the location in the photograph above. These steps were approximately 3 metres wide and made from rock. They were covered over in the 1980s because they became unsafe.
At the foot of the bank sloping down from the Rock Garden at its southerly end was a pond fed by a natural spring, which it was said never ceased to flow even in the driest conditions. Originally there was a swamp there which was banked around when the park was laid out, in order to create a suitable place for marsh and water plants.
Sources of Information
The information in this section is taken from the Guide to Roath Park and Catalogue of Plants in Botanical Garden by W.W. Pettigrew which was issued in 1905.