Overlooking the town of Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales sits Cyfarthfa Park. Dating from the early 19th century this 65-hectare space, which is Grade II* listed, is cited as one of the most visited free tourist attractions in the nation and is the winner of Wales' Best Park 2019.
The parklands were originally developed alongside Cyfarthfa Castle, an imposing house built in 1824/5 by the Crawshay family at a time of coal and iron boom in the town of Merthyr Tydfil. Whilst not formally a castle, the mansion is built in a castle-like style and in 1910 was developed into a museum and art gallery showcasing the area's rich history.
The park itself features an abundance of opportunities for sport, nature and play for all ages who visit. Those wishing to explore can find sensory gardens and an abundance of woodland walks whilst there’s plenty of opportunities for more formal activity as well thanks to a nine-hole par 27 golf course, tennis courts, bowls green and fishing within the lake.
A model railway society running train rides within the park and a splashpad and play area overlooked by a new café and meeting centre ensures the park provides a fun day-out for all the family.
Indeed, this diversity is showcased by the space's nominator for UK's Best Park 2019, who wrote: "Cyfarthfa is a park for people of all ages and interests. The sensory garden and meadowlands provide a haven of tranquillity. The woodland walks are a delight for dog walkers and nature-lovers. Home to a 'castle', a museum, ball courts and play areas it is a park for all".
Frequent events of all sizes are held within the park from horse shows to concerts to charity events to craft demonstrations, meaning there's always something happening.
"The sensory garden and meadowlands provide a haven of tranquillity. The woodland walks are a delight for dog walkers and nature-lovers."
Nomination for UK's Best Park 2019
The park was backed in this year's award by local MP, Gerald Jones, who visited the park during the voting phase and urged his constituents to give it their support, writing on his website: "I want to encourage everyone who knows what a brilliant and iconic local landmark Cyfarthfa Park is to get voting now. It's the jewel in the crown for Merthyr Tydfil, as we know, and so many of us have enjoyed many hours in the park and castle grounds. Get voting now, and show your support for Cyfarthfa Park!"
Both Jones and local Assembly Member, Dawn Bowden, shared their congratulations after the park was named as the winner of Wales Best Park 2019, wishing it luck ahead of the announcement of the overall winner of UK's Best Park on Thursday 12th September.
This this is fantastic news! @VisitCyfarthfa wins the @FieldsInTrust award for Wales. Well done to @WellbeinMerthyr and everyone involved in maintaining and developing this superb attraction in Merthyr Tydfil 😊 https://t.co/S2HtcBqicX— Dawn Bowden AM (@Dawn_Bowden) August 29, 2019
Cyfarthfa Park was one of 24 spaces in Wales nominated for UK's Best Park 2019. Of those, four placed within the top 20% of nominations across the UK and received "Much Loved" status. Joining the national winner with this status were Bute Park in Cardiff, Parc Cae Ddol in Ruthin, Denbighshire and Roath Park in Cardiff. Each will receive a certificate denoting their "Much Loved" status.
Cyfarthfa Park joins the other three Home Nation winners - Antrim Castle Gardens, Pittencrieff Park in Dunfermline and Stanley Park in Blackpool - on the shortlist for UK's Best Park 2019. The overall winner will be announced on Thursday 12th September.
Summer of Parks: Join the discussion as we champion our parks and green spaces
Green Space Index: Our new barometer of publicly accessible green space provision
UK's Best Park: Celebrate your favourite local green space - discover the results