Cosmeston Lakes Country Park
Cosmeston Lakes Country Park is a public country park in Britain, owned and managed by Vale of Glamorgan Council. It is situated between Penarth and Sully, Vale of Glamorgan, 7.3 miles (11.7 kilometres) from Cardiff. On 1 May 2013 the country park was designated a Local Nature Reserve LNR, The park, visitor centre and cafe are open all year round.
The main feature at this country park are the two large lakes divided by a bridge on the main footpath 'mile road'. The country park has a variety of habitats covering over 100 hectares of land and water, with some areas designated a S.S.S.I (Site of Special Scientific Interest) protecting the rare and diverse plant and animal species.
Within the country park Cosmeston Medieval Village can be found. The reconstruction of this 14th-century village, discovered during the landscaping of the park, has been described as the best of its kind in Britain.
The park is located on land that was once the enclosed fields of croft farms. The farming would have been poor because of the combination of underlying limestone with being kept permanently wet by many natural springs.
Opened in the 1880s the site was a commercial limestone quarry operation owned by the British Portland Cement Manufacturers and later Blue Circle. The quarries here provided limestone for the large cement works that stood until 1970 on the site of the present Cosmeston housing estate opposite the country park. The peak year of production was 1962, when 175,000 tons of cement were manufactured. The famous ‘Dragon’ brand of cement was used to produce many of the early paving slabs laid in Penarth. The works finally shut in November 1969. Blue Circle stated it was not possible to upgrade the old plant to increase production any further, nor extend the existing quarries, which were closed in June 1970. The only factory building left standing today is the Harvester restaurant. Once quarrying ceased two of the excavated sites were used for landfill and the remaining two naturally flooded creating the lakes that are seen today. More information is available on the history of the Portland Cement Company at Cement Plants and Kilns in Britain and Ireland.
The park was subsequently developed through funding from the Countryside Commission and opened in 1978. A circular path was created around the lake, with boardwalks constructed over the wetland areas . It was during the laying of the paths, thinning of dense undergrowth and general landscaping that the remains of the former village were found, excavated and developed into a visitor attraction.
The park shares its eastern boundary with the historic Glamorganshire Golf Club.
Facilities at the park include extensive carparking, coach parking, picnic benches, adventure play area, facilities for cleaning boats after being on the water, bbq areas for hire plus an information centre with cafe and ice cream kiosk. The lake is populated by a wide range of water fowl, including swans, mallards, grebes and coots etc. The Eastern half of the lake is open for hire to non motorised water sports clubs affiliated with the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
The Ranger Service
Cosmeston Lakes Country Park offers an environmental education programme to primary schools and other groups all year round. The education programme is run by the Ranger Service and offers children a chance to take part and appreciate their natural surroundings while learning about the environment.
To find out more about the environmental education programme visit the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Education Service page.