Autumn1088

Autumn1088 - Seasonal Wales

An autumn walk at Cosmeston Country Park.
The main features 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 as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, protecting the rare and diverse plant and animal species found on the park..
Within the 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 was 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. Once quarrying ceased two of the excavated sites were used for landfill and the remaining two naturally flooded creating the pondsthat are seen today.
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.
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