Pontypool Park

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Pontypool Park (Welsh: Parc Pont-y-pŵl) is a 150-acre (0.61 km2) park containing predominantly mature trees with some open meadowland, and located in Pontypool in south Wales. The park was formerly the grounds of Pontypool House and was laid out in the closing years of the 17th century for Major John Hanbury, the local ironmaster, who is closely associated with Japanware. The grounds were purchased by the local authority in 1920, while the estate house was leased, and later sold, to the Sisters of the Holy Ghost to become St. Alban's RC High School.

Location[edit]

The park occupies a large area to the east of Pontypool town centre. The main park starts at Pontymoile Gates near New Inn and Pontymoile Basin, and finishes to the north close to St Alban's RC High School and Pontypool Museum (formerly the Hanbury's family house). To the east it rises to a Folly Tower and a Shell Grotto. Its western border follows the Afon Lwyd river and Pontypool Leisure Centre, and Italian Gardens are located close to the western periphery. The park has footpaths leading into the Brecon Beacons National Park and to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. A national cycle route also runs through the park.

The Landscape[edit]

The park is set mostly to open grassland and mixed woodland with many old sweet chestnuts. There are landscaped areas such as the Italian Gardens (refurbished in 2006) and the Nant-y-Gollen Ponds (originally one large millpond used to power a forge downstream). There are three main avenues that divide the park that all merge at the leisure centre near the park's centre. A single path then meanders through a shaded avenue to the main Park Gates.

Gallery of Pontypool Park Photos[edit]

Facilities[edit]

Pontpool Park Rugby Ground, home of Pontypool RFC

Pontypool's main leisure centre is located within the park and was refurbished from 2003 to 2006. In 1975, a dry ski slope was constructed in the park and remains in use. The park also has outside tennis courts, bowling green and netball courts. Pontypool RFC also has its home here and the park has an 8,800-capacity stadium.

There is also a bandstand [3] that forms part of the venue (along with nearby Pontypool Museum) for the annual Jazz in the Park festival.

The park hosts an annual fireworks display every November 5. It is organised by Pontypool Round Table.[1] The fireworks are synchronised to music. It attracts a very large crowd and is the largest in the Torfaen area.

Follies and curiosities[edit]

The park is home to the Folly Tower, a three-storey tower near the eastern edge of the park. A short distance from this folly is the Shell Grotto,[2] an old Hanbury summerhouse of 19th-century origin whose interior is lavishly decorated with shells and bones. Both sites are open to the public on weekends through May to September.

In 1923, the Gorsedd stone circle was created in time for the park to host the 1924 National Eisteddfod of Wales. There are also the ice houses near the old Pontypool House and Pontypool Museum.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 51°42′5″N 3°2′4″W / 51.70139°N 3.03444°W / 51.70139; -3.03444