“ City: Barry / Country: Wales „
I made a product suggestion to dooyoo to enable me to let you know about an absolutely fantastic place to visit in South Wales - a country park named Cosmeston Lakes.
The Lakes are situated some five miles west of Cardiff and are located on the B4267 Lavernock Road to Sully. They are easily accessible from the M4, which is only a five-minute drive.
Cosmeston Lakes Country Park covers over 100 hectares of land and water, where you will see a huge variety of wonderful habitats. I discovered from carrying out some research that almost half of the park has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which protects the rate plants and animal species.
The park was originally a limestone quarry, which initially operated in the early 1890's. When the quarry closed its' doors in 1970 it was used for landfill. However, many areas were flooded from underground springs, hence creating beautiful lakes. Extensive works were carried out to landscape the remaining areas to create the stunning and tranquil woodland we see today.
As my husband and I used to live fairly close to the park, we would regularly visit, as it is such a calming and relaxing place to visit. There are many paths to follow where you are able to explore the different areas of the park. There are plenty of benches located through the park and wooden picnic tables with seats for you to peacefully enjoy your packed lunch. One area of the park is designated for barbecuing where you will find numerous barbecues to enable you to prepare a delicious feast.
There are hundreds of beautiful swans and ducks gracing the lakes and they will frequently join you when you attempt to commence your picnic. However, during our first visit, one swan decided he wanted my Muller yoghurt and bit my arm causing a huge bruise, in his attempt to steal it from my shaking hands!
It was only after my swan assault that I realised my husband and I had chosen to eat our food in the swan territory near to the main entrance (Eat here at your peril!). Consequently, when we next visited, we chose an alternative area of the park where this time, we were greeted by dozens of cute ducks. If you decide to visit this fantastic park, make sure you take some extra bread as otherwise you will have dozens of quacking ducks sitting patiently at your feet waiting for their lunch!
As you wander around the stunning lakes; all of which are surrounded by well-maintained paths or wooden platforms, you will capture sites of the beautiful wildlife, such as the Great Crested Grebe, Widgeon, Dragon Flies, badgers, frogs and newts. You can also witness the natural beauty of various plants, such as Butterfly and Pyrmadial Orchids. There are notices situated throughout the park providing extensive details on each of the species.
Whilst my husband and I are not bird watching enthusiasts, we simply love to watch the wildlife in its' natural habitat. This would be an absolute dream for those of you who are passionate about bird watching and enjoy studying the various breeds. There are purpose-built shelters for you to sit and wait to capture an image of the many stunning species.
The lakes have a large car park situated directly off the main road and it is free to leave your car here for the day. There is a large building adjacent to the car park, which houses a large café, where you can obtain hot and cold drinks, ice creams, snacks and a hot meal.
The toilets are situated near to the café and are always extremely clean and tidy. My only complaint is that these are the only toilets in the park and if you have painstakingly walked to the top of the park, some 15 minutes away and need to spend a penny, it's quite a long way to walk back to the only toilets, particularly if you're desperate!
There is no charge to visit the lakes and in my opinion, this is a fabulous free day out for people of all ages. Whilst the park covers a huge area, those with mobility problems may experience difficulty visiting the whole of the park, as there is a considerable amount of walking. However, my husband and I have frequently seen families pushing wheelchairs and mothers with prams, so the park is accessible to all, particularly as the majority is level access.
There are large grassed areas where children can run and play. However, I would state that there is no fencing around the perimeter of the lakes, so little ones should be supervised at all times.
The park also houses the famous Cosmeston Medieval Village, a Heritage Project, which will transform its' visitors back to how life was in the 14th century. I've never actually visited this section, but have often peered over the wall to catch a glimpse!
In the village, you will see a variety of buildings from the 14th century with people dressed in period costume who will provide you with information on how the park was constructed. They will give you an insight into the lives of those people who existed when the buildings were first built.
There are frequently special events taking place in the village, such as battles and I would suggest that if you are interested in attending you look at the Cosmeston Lakes website for details of forthcoming events.
Whilst access to the park is available at any time, the village opens from 11am - 4pm (November - March) and 11am - 5pm (April to October) and entrance is £3.50 for adults, £3 for concessions and £8.00 for a family ticket, which includes two adults and two children. I would advise that the charges increase if you require a guided tour or wish to attend a special event.
As this is such a fantastic park and is free of charge (with the exception of the Medieval Village), it receives 5 out of 5 dooyoo stars from me.
I hope you found my review useful and would thank you for reading.