Cardiff Castle & Bute Park 682

Cardiff, Wales

Brief Description

Bute Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country. With Pontcanna Fields and Sophia Gardens to the west, it forms a huge space open to the public within the centre of Cardiff. A mix of rare and ornamental trees have been planted since 1947 to compliment some excellent specimens that formed part of the original park design. These include some 'Champion Trees' known to be the biggest examples of their species anywhere in the UK. Bute Park also has a renowned herbaceous border with the River Taff as a backdrop.

History

The park contains a wealth of historic interest dating back to Roman and medieval times. Capability Brown was commissioned to modernise Cardiff Castle and the castle green in 1778, but his work did not extend beyond the castle walls. Bute Park was created as the pleasure ground for the Victorian Gothic restoration of Cardiff Castle from the 1860s onwards. Work on the site by Andrew Pettigrew between 1873 and 1903 is the only known example of a designed layout by this horticulturist. In 1947, the fifth Marquess of Bute presented the park to the people of Cardiff, and it is now managed on behalf of the people by the Council.

Visitor Facilities

This is a municipal park for general public use.

Terrain

Most of the area lies on the flood plain of the river Taff.

Detailed Description

Bute Park comprises about 46 hectares of land bounded at the southern end by the ‘Animal Wall' along Castle Street and the castle moat/docks feeder, along the eastern side by a narrow strip of land to the east of the docks feeder and on the western side by the river Taff. The park ends in the north at Blackweir where part of the river's flow is diverted into the docks feeder.

The area is about 1.8 km in length south-south-east/north-north-west and between 200 metres and 400 metres in width being about 8mOD near the castle and about 10mOD at Blackweir.

There are a number of public access points into the park.

On the south side:-

• At the West Lodge on Castle Street (ST178765) just east of the bridge over the river Taff.

On the west side:-

• Via the Water Bus landing stage on the east bank of the river Taff visible from the West Lodge entrance.

• Via the Millennium Footbridge from Sophia Gardens, about 300 metres north-north-west of West Lodge.

On the east side off North Road:-

• Via a path from the North Gate (ST181767) which runs parallel to the north wall of the Castle crossing the docks feeder adjacent to the north-west corner of the castle.

• Via the grounds of the castle mews (Welsh College of Music and Drama) and Ginko Avenue to join the above path.

• Via a path just north of the Welsh College of Music and Drama some 450 metres north-north-east of the North gate entrance crossing the docks feeder.

• Via the northern end of the North Road Car Park leading to the Blackwater Farm Lodge and entrance (ST175776), a further 600 metres north-north-west of the above entrance.

At the northernmost end at the Blackweir Gate (ST171780):-

• Via the ‘Taff Trail' from the north, which has access from Llys Talybont Road and Eastern Avenue, respectively 200 metres and 1km further along the eastern side of the river.

• From Pontcanna Fields via the Taff Trail and footbridge over the river Taff at Blackweir.

About 200 metres north of the College of Music and Drama there is also an entrance to the park from North Road which is only for vehicles on official park business (no pedestrian access).There are information boards at West Lodge, North Gate, Blackweir Farm and Blackweir entrances and at the café by the Millenium Bridge; see below for location.

From the West Lodge, what for the purposes of this description is hereafter termed the ‘main' path, heads northwards roughly parallel to the river Taff. Two side paths on the left (steps and ramp) lead to the water Bus Stop and another side path on the right heads eastward then curves round past the western wall of the castle to join the path from the North Gate.

A ‘Gorsedd' stone circle is located on the right side of the main path close to where it forks. Both forks join the path from the North Gate close to the location of the former Black Friars Dominican friary. Here some more recent brick and stonework outline the locations of the historic structures. North and east of the Black Friars site is a large area of grass known as Cooper's Field which is used for annual bonfire and fireworks displays and a variety of other occasional functions including Royal Horticultural Shows.

From Black Friars the main path (the left fork) continues northwards through areas of herbaceous borders, backed by a beech hedge and trees on the eastern side, which stretches as far as the Millennium footbridge, where there is an open air café.

Beyond the café the path continues to a four way junction. At this junction a minor path turns south-east behind the herbaceous border in the direction of the Friary, another broad pathway heads east-north-east across Cooper's Field, eventually joining with a path which for the most part follows the docks feeder from the castle to the Blackweir Farm Gate, (not to be confused with the Blackweir Gate which is the most northerly point of the park), whilst another minor path heads due north into an area of trees and camellia bushes, terminating after about 150 metres on the edge of Cooper's Field.

The main path continues on northwards parallel and close to the river passing on the east side an area of planting called the Stuttgart Garden and the Cardiff City nursery gardens (not open to the public). Here there is an Education Centre and another café with toilets. South of the nursery another path crosses Cooper's Field to join the path running close to the docks feeder.

North of the nursery area the path curves away from the river to link with the path adjacent to the docks feeder.

The main path continues in a north-westerly direction towards Blackweir Gate past playing fields on its eastern side and woodland on its western side.

The park, particularly the west side, is given over to an arboretum with many rare and fine examples of a wide variety of tree species.

At Blackweir Farm as well as the attractive lodge and old farm buildings there are also changing rooms for the playing fields and a less than attractive ambulance depot.

Features
  • Castle (featured building)
  • Description: The motte was built in 1081. Thereafter, the castle was modified and made more comfortable throughout following centuries.
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  • Gate
  • Description: Wrought iron gates.
  • Ornamental Bridge
  • Description: Swiss bridge.
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  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: There are specimen trees to the west of the castle.
  • Tree Feature
  • Description: Arboretum.
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  • Planting
  • Description: Maple 1. Acer acuminatum - West Himalayan Maple 2. Acer cappadocicum - Caucasian Maple 3. Acer cappadocicum - "Aureum" 4. Acer henryi - Golden Caucasian Maple 5. Acer japonicum "Aconitifolium" - Aconite-leaved Japanese Maple 6. Acer palmatum - Japanese Maple 7. Acer palmatum "Atropurpureum - Japanese Maple 8. Acer palmatum "Dissectum" - Japanese Maple 9. Acer palmatum "Shishigashira" - Japanese Maple 10. Acer pictum - Korean Maple 11. Acer platanoides - Norway Maple 12. Acer platanoides "Cleveland" - Norway Maple 13. Acer platanoides "Dissectum" - Cut-leaved Norway Maple 14. Acer platanoides "Drummondii" Drummond's Variegated Norway Maple 15. Acer platanoides "Goldsworth Purple" - Purple Norway Maple 16. Acer platanoides "Laciniatum" - Cut-leaved Norway Maple 17. Acer platanoides "Rubrum" - Red Norway Maple 18. Acer pseudoplatanus "Leopoldii" - Leopold's Sycamore 19. Acer tataricum - Tatarian Maple 20. Acer triflorum ? Manchurian Maple 21. Acer truncatum - Shangdong Maple 22. Acer x dieckii - Hybrid Maple
  • Planting
  • Description: Horse Chestnut 1. Aesculus californica - Californian Horse Chestnut 2. Aescalus chinensis - Chinese Horse Chestnut 3. Aescalus hippocastarnum - Horse Chestnut 4. Aescalis indica - Indian Horse Chestnut 5. Aesculus x carnea "Plantierensis" - Red Horse Chestnut
  • Planting
  • Description: Alder 1. Alnus hirsute - Hairy Alder 2. Alnus incana "Aurea" - Golden Grey Alder 3. Alnus incana "Pendula Kebe" - Pendulous Grey Alder 4. Alnus incana "Pendula" - Weeping Grey Alder 5. Alnus maximowiczii - Maximowicz's Alder
  • Planting
  • Description: Miscellaneous trees and shrubs 25. Metasequoia glyptostroboides - Dawn Redwood 26. Nyssa sylvatica ? Tupelo 27. Parrotia persica - Persian Ironwood 28. Paulownia fortunei - Fortune's Paulownia 29. Paulownia tomentosa - Imperial Tree of Japan 30. Phellodendron chinense - Phellodendron 31. Photinia x fraseri "Red Robin" - Photinia 32. Phygelius aequalis "Trewidden Pink"- Angel's Trumpet 33. Podocarpus salignus ? conifer 34. Pseudolarix amabilis - Golden Larch 35. Pseudotsuga menziesii "Pendula" in June Weeping Douglas Fir 36. Pterocarya fraxinifolia - Caucasian Wing-nut 37. Pterocarya x rehderiana - Hybrid Wingnut 38. Pyrus calleryana "Chanticleer" 39. Pyrus nivalis - White Pear 40. Rhus potaninii - Chinese Sumach 41. Robinia x ambigua "Decaisneana" - Pink Acacia 42. Sequoiadendron giganteum - Wellingtonia 43. Sophora tetraptera - New Zealand Kowhai 44. Taxodium ascendans - Swamp Cypress 45. Tetradium daniellii - Evodia 46. Trachycarpus fortunei - Chusan Palm 47. Trochodendron aralioides - Trochodendron 48. Zelkova serrata - Japanese Zelkova
  • Planting
  • Description: Camellia 1. Camellia sasanqua - Autumn Camellia 2. More than a dozen other unnamed Camellias
  • Planting
  • Description: Hornbeam/Hop Hornbeam 1. Carpinus betulus "Columnaris" - Columnar Hornbeam 2. Carpinus turczaninowii - Shrubby Hornbeam 3. Ostrya carpinifolia - Hop Hornbeam 4. Ostrya japonica - Japanese Hop Hornbeam 5. Ostrya virginiana - Hop Hornbeam
  • Planting
  • Description: Sweet Chestnut 1. Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut 2. Castanea sativa "Albo-marginata" - Variegated Chestnut
  • Planting
  • Description: Catalpa or Catawba 1. Catalpa bignonioides "Nana" - Dwarf Indian Bean Tree 2. Catalpa ovata - Chinese Catalpa 3. Catalpa x erubescens "Purpurea" ? Purple Indian Bean Tree
  • Planting
  • Description: Cedar 1. Cedrus atlantica "Glauca" - Blue Cedar 2. Cedrus deodara ? Deodar 3. Cedrus libani - Cedar of Lebanon 4. Cryptomeria japonica - Japanese Cedar
  • Planting
  • Description: Cypress 1. Chamaecyparis lawsoniana "Wisselii - Wissel's Lawson's Cypress 2. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis "Pendula" - Pendulous Nootka Cypress 3. Cupressus arizonica "Glabra" - Arizona Cypress 4. Cupressus macrocarpa "Donard Gold" - Golden Monterey Cypress 5. Cupressus macrocarpa "Goldcrest" - Golden Monterey Cypress 6. Cupressus sempervirens - Italian Cypress
  • Planting
  • Description: Hawthorn 1. Crataegus "Autumn Glory" - Autumn Glory Thorn 2. Crataegus azarolus var. sinaica - Azarole 3. Crataegus heldreichii - Grecian Thorn 4. Crataegus laciniata - Oriental Thorn 5. Crataegus monogyna "Pendula Rosea" - Pink Weeping Thorn 6. Crataegus schraderiana - Balkan Thorn
  • Planting
  • Description: Beech 1. Fagus sylvatica - Beech 2. Fagus sylvatica "Dawyck" - Dawyck Beech 3. Fagus sylvatica "Pendula" - Weeping Beech 4. Fagus sylvatica "Purpurea" - Copper Beech
  • Planting
  • Description: Tulip Tree 1. Liriodendron chinense - Chinese Tulip Tree 2. Liriodendron tulipifera - Tulip Tree 3. Liriodendron tulipifera "Aureomarginatum" - Variegated Tulip Tree 4. Liriodendron tulipifera "Integrifolia" - Unlobed Tulip Tree
  • Planting
  • Description: Ash 1. Faxinus americana "Autumn Purple" - White Ash 2. Fraxinus excelsior "Jaspidea" - Yellow-twigged Ash 3. Fraxinus ornus - Manna Ash 4. Fraxinus pennsylvanica - Green Ash 5. Fraxinus sogdiana - Turkish Ash
  • Planting
  • Description: Holly 1. Ilex aquifolium "Argentea Marginata" - Broad-leaved Silver Holly 2. Ilex aquifolium "Flavescens" - Moonlight Holly 3. Ilex kingiana - Holly 4. Ilex x altaclerensis - Highclere Holly 5. Ilex x altaclerensis "Hendersonii" - Highclere Holly 6. Ilex x koehneana - Holly
  • Planting
  • Description: Magnolia 1. Magnolia acuminata - Cucumber Tree 2. Magnolia campbellii - Himalayan Pink Tulip Tree 3. Magnolia kobus 4. Magnolia liliflora "Nigra" - Lily Magnolia 5. Magnolia obovata 6. Magnolia stellata 7. Magnolia tripetala 8. Magnolia x soulangeana - Soulange's Magnolia
  • Planting
  • Description: Apple 1. Malus (unknowncultivar) - Apple 2. Malus "Cheltenham" - Crab 3. Malus "Chilko" - Canadian Crab 4. Malus "Oporto" 5. Malus "Van Eseltine" - Crab 6. Malus baccata "Pendula" - Weeping Siberian Crab 7. Malus baccata "Street Parade" - Siberian Crab 8. Malus baccata var. mandschurica - Siberian Crab 9. Malus hupehensis - Chinese Crab 10. Malus x arnoldiana - Hybrid Crab 11. Malus x micromalus 12. Malus x purpurea "Neville Copeman" - Hybrid Crab 13. Malus x scheideckeri "Excellenz Thiel" - Hybrid Crab 14. Malus x sublobata - Hybrid Crab 15. Malus x adstringens "Hopa" - Hybrid Crab
  • Planting
  • Description: Beech 1. Nothofagus dombeyi - Southern Beech 2. Nothofagus obliqua - Roble Beech 3. Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides - Mountain Beech
  • Planting
  • Description: Pine 1. Pinus nigra var. austriaca - Austrian Pine 2. Pinus sylvestris - Scots Pine
  • Planting
  • Description: Plane 1. Platanus orientalis "Digitata" - Digitate Oriental Plane 2. Platanus x hispanica - London Plane
  • Planting
  • Description: Poplar 1. Populus deltoides - Necklace Poplar 2. Populus koreana - Korean Poplar 3. Populus lasiocarpa 4. Populus yunnanensis - Balsam Poplar
  • Planting
  • Description: Cherry 1. Prunus "Benden" - Japanese Flowering Cherry 2. Prunus "Hokusai" - Japanese Flowering Cherry 3. Prunus "Horinji" - Japanese Flowering Cherry 4. Prunus "Ichiyo" - Japanese Flowering Cherry 5. Prunus "Jamasakura" - Japanese Flowering Cherry 6. Prunus "Kanzan" - Japanese Flowering Cherry 7. Prunus "Kiku-Shidare Zakura" - Cheal's Weeping Cherry 8. Prunus "Ojochin" - Japanese Flowering Cherry 9. Prunus "Shirotae" - Japanese Flowering Cherry 10. Prunus "Tai-haku" - Great White Cherry 11. Prunus "Taoyame" - Japanese Flowering Cherry 12. Prunus "Ukon" - Japanese Flowering Cherry 13. Prunus "YedoZakura" in OctoberJapanese Flowering Cherry14. Prunus avium - Wild Cherry, Gean 15. Prunus avium "Plena" - Double Gean 16. Prunus cerasifera - Cherry Plum 17. Prunus maackii - Manchurian Cherry 18. Prunus padus "Watereri" - Waterer's Bird Cherry 19. Prunus pendula "Rosea" - Pink Weeping Cherry 20. Prunus pendula var, ascendens "Floreplena" - Cherry 21. Prunus sargentii - Sargent's Cherry 22. Prunus sargentii "Rancho" - Sargent's Cherry 23. Prunus verecunda "Autumn Glory" - Korean Hill Cherry 24. Prunus x juddii - Hybrid Cherry 25. Prunus x subhirtella "Autumnalis"- Winter Cherry 26. Prunus x yedoensis - Yoshino Cherry 27. Prunus x yedoensis "Ivensii" - Weeping Yoshino Cherry
  • Planting
  • Description: Oak 1. Quercus agrifolia - Coast Live Oak 2. Quercus cerris - Turkey Oak 3. Quercus ilex - Holm Oak 4. Quercus myrsinifolia - Evergreen Oak 5. Quercus rubra - Red Oak
  • Planting
  • Description: Rhododendron 1. Rhododendron "Yellowhammer" 2. Rhododendron (Azalea) mollis Hybrid in May Molle Azalea 3. Rhododendron Hardy Hybrid
  • Planting
  • Description: Willow 1. Salix babylonica "Pendula" - Weeping Willow 2. Salix babylonica "Tortuosa - Twisted Willow
  • Planting
  • Description: Sorbus (Whitebeam/MountainAsh/Rowan/Service Tree) 1. Sorbus "Wilfred Fox" - Hybrid Whitebeam 2. Sorbus "Winter Cheer" 3. Sorbus alnifolia 4. Sorbus aria - Whitebeam 5. Sorbus aucuparia - Rowan 6. Sorbus commixta 7. Sorbus esserteauana 8. Sorbus graeca 9. Sorbus hupehensis 10. Sorbus latifolia - Service Tree of Fontainbleau 11. Sorbus sargentiana 12. Sorbus scalaris 13. Sorbus torminalis - Wild Service Tree 14. Sorbus ursina - Sorbus 15. Sorbus x kewensis
  • Planting
  • Description: Yew 1. Taxus baccata "Adpressa Variegata" - Golden Yew 2. Taxus baccata "Fastigiata Auromarginata" - Golden Irish Yew
  • Planting
  • Description: Lime 1. Tilia cordata - Small-leaved Lime 2. Tilia cordata "Rancho" - Small-leaved Lime 3. Tilia maximowicziana - Japanese Lime 4. Tilia mongolica - Mongolian Lime 5. Tilia platyphyllos "Laciniata" - Cut-leaved Lime 6. Tilia x euchlora - Lime
  • Planting
  • Description: Elm 1. Ulmus "Lobel" - Disease Resistant Elm 2. Ulmus alata - Winged Em 3. Ulmus glabra "Camperdownii" - Camperdown Elm 4. Ulmus pumila "Aurescens" - Golden Dwarf Elm 5. Ulmus villosa - Marn Elm
  • Planting
  • Description: Dogwood 1. Cornus alternifolia "Argentea" - Pagoda Dogwood 2. Cornus controversa "Variegata" - Table Cornel 3. Cornus florida subspp. urbiniana - Mexican Flowering Dogwood 4. Cornus kousa "Satomi" - Chinese Flowering Dogwood
  • Planting
  • Description: Hydrangea 1. Hydrangea macrophylla "Hortensia Group" - Mop-head Hydrangea 2. Hydrangea paniculata - Hydrangea 3. Hydrangea paniculata "Grandiflora" - Hydrangea 4. Hydrangea quercifolia - Oak-leaved Hydrangea
  • Planting
  • Description: Walnut/Butternut 1. Juglans nigra - Black Walnut 2. Juglans cinerea - Butternut
  • Planting
  • Description: Birch 1. Betula "Fetisowii" - Central Asian Hybrid Birch 2. Betula kenaica - Alaskan Birch 3. Betula utilis var. jacquemontii - Himalayan Birch
  • Planting
  • Description: Miscellaneous trees and shrubs 1. Ailanthus altissima - Tree of Heaven 2. Carya cordiformis ? Bitternut 3. Celtis occidentalis ? Hackberry 4. Cercidium japonicum ?Pendulum? ? Weeping Katsura 5. Cercis Canadensis ?Forest Pansy? ? North American Redbud 6. Choisya ternate ? Mexican Orange Blossom 7. Cladrastis kentukea ? Yellow Wood 8. Corylus colurna - Turkish Hazel 9. Cotoneaster x watereri "John Waterer" 10. Davidia involucrata - Handkerchief Tree 11. Euonymus alatus 12. Ginkgo biloba - Maidenhair Tree 13. Gleditsia triacanthos "Sunburst" - Honey Locust 14. Gymnocladus dioicus - Kentucky Coffee Tree 15. Hamamelis x intermedia "Pallida" - Wych Hazel 16. Idesia polycarpa ? Idesia 17. Illicium anisatum - Japanese Anise 18. Lagerstroemia indica - Crape Myrtle 19. Lavandula angustifolia ? Lavender 20. Ligularia stenocephala "The Rocket" - Leopard Plant 21. Ligustrum lucidum"Excelsum Superbum" - Variegated Chinese Privet 22. Liquidambar styraciflua - Sweet Gum 23. Meliosma myriantha - Meliosma 24. Mespilus germanica - Medlar
Stable Block, Herbaceous Border
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

This is a municipal park for general public use.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Castle
History

Detailed History

The park's designer and planter, Andrew Pettigrew, was one of the most important park designers of the second half of the 19th century, and the open, flowing informal design allowed a smooth transition from a private pleasure ground to a public park. Much of the Victorian planting, particularly of ornamental trees, survives.

The grounds within the walls of Cardiff Castle have a long history of landscaping, going back to the medieval period. Castle Green owes its present day appearance to late-18th-century landscaping by Capability Brown.

The combined area of the Castle Grounds, Bute Park and Castle Green became a public park after 1947.

Associated People

People associated to Cardiff Castle & Bute Park

Contact
References

References

Contributors

  • Michael Statham

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