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Plants, flowers and wildlife

 
There are a number of walks around the park, which will take you around the park’s various habitats. The habitats within the park include improved grassland, hedgerows and wooded areas.

Flora

Oak Woodland

Aberdare Park’s richest habitat remains the oak woodland which has been undergoing natural regeneration for the past 10 years. This has enabled the gradual development of an understory made of hazel, ash & holly as well as brambles and mixed grasses. All of this has contributed to providing good structure for bird and bats habitats.

Rose Garden

Located off the Park Lane entrance, our rose garden is made up of 17 ornamental beds, each hosting a different variety of roses. From the subtle scent of ‘Peace’ to the more traditional and strongly sweet ‘Blessings’, there is something for everyone.

Sadly often overlooked, this is one of the most peaceful parts of Aberdare Park where one can simply sit and watch the world go by

Aberdare Park Rose Beds:
View Rose Garden Map and planting key;

2304
‘Alpine Sunset’
2313
‘Superstar’
2305
‘Fragrant Cloud’
2314
 ‘Peace’
2306
‘Dutch Gold’
2315
‘Iceberg’
2307
‘Princess de Monaco’
2316
‘National Trust’
2308
‘Picadilly’
2317
‘Pink Peace’
2309
‘Gaujard’
2318
‘Blessings’
2310
‘Deep Secret’
2319
‘Polar Star’’
2311
 ‘Lovers Meeting’
2320
‘National Trust’
2312
 ‘King’s Ransom’
 
 
Aberdare rose garden

Trees

Most of the mature trees we see today where planted in 1867 by William Barron prior to the official opening of the park in 1869. After several different phases of thinning out trees within the park, in 1912, Mr Elliott (BSc) - a county school teacher, prepared an elaborate handbook listing all the 82 species of trees and shrubs in the park (including genus and species in Latin). This handbook was later sold at the park gates and a copy of which is still available today from Aberdare Reference Library. Over the following years, more thinning out was carried out; then in 1989 & 1990, severe storms uprooted over 100 trees.

Today, our park is host to some interesting and really mature specimen of trees.

Some of them have historic connotations such as the three horse chestnuts which were located in the centre of the field. They were planted by King George V and Queen Mary as part of the 1911 celebrations of the King George V coronation. Sadly, in the autumn of 2018, two of the three trees had to be cut down as they posed a risk to the health and safety of our visitors. However, in the autumn of the same year, three replacement trees were planted to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Aberdare Park. The three Pin Oaks (Quercus palustris) were donated to the park by the Cynon Valley Museum and were planted as part of the park’s celebrations. Those three trees will hopefully thrive and will be a site to enjoy in years to come.

Other trees are simply majestic such as the Giant Redwoods (Sequoiadendron giganteum), Dawn Redwoods (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), and Japanese Redwoods (Cryptomeria japonica).

The park also displays a beautiful collection of Acers which provide stunning autumn colour; the inconspicuous Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) whose autumn leaves smell of burnt sugar; the incredibly strong Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica) or the unusual Monkey Puzzle Tree (Araucaria araucana).

Shrubbery

When the park was first planted, it included a range of shrubbery some of which can still be witnessed today.

The large collection of Rhododendrons and Azalea produces some stunning spring and early summer colour. Shrubs such as Viburnum tinus, Berberis darwinii and Mahonia japonica, also provide useful nesting habitats and food source for small birds. Some shrubs are so versatile that they can be pruned to shape such as Lonicera pileata ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ which has been pruned as a stream boat but also as a stream train. Why not see if you can spot them when walking around the park?

Flowers

It was not until October 1912 that flowers started to play a role in the design of the park when £6 was spent on spring flowering bulbs.

Today our park has several seasonal flower beds displaying summer and spring beddings and several mixed herbaceous borders. All are located within key areas to enhance some of our most beautiful historical features. Plants (such as Lavender, Wall Flower, Sage to only name a few) provide a valuable food source for the range of insects visiting the park (butterflies, bumblebees, honey bees etc.).

Fauna

Birds

Bird Feeding Zone
Aberdare Park Bird Feeding Zones

Aberdare Park is a great place to go bird watching. There are several species of birds which can be witnessed in our park. From the unusual Egyptian Goose through to the small and sometimes elusive Tree Creeper, our park is the home to small and large birds alike.

Many people have reported sightings of Buzzards, Song Thrushes, Nuthatches, and Greenfinches only to name a few. If you sit down in our rose garden or near the Statue of Lord Merthyr, you will also witness our regular visitors such as the Robin, Blue Tit or even Black Bird.

In early morning during the spring, it is such a pleasure to listen to the mixture of bird calls within the park. In the summer evening, if you are lucky, you may even be able to hear the call of a Tawny Owl.

Would rather sit by the lake and watch the wildfowl? Aberdare Park Café with the support of Friends of the Park offers bags of bird seeds to invite you to switch from feeding bread to the numerous geese and ducks in our park. Bread, whilst being filling is not as nutritious as feeding seeds which they will all enjoy and will keep them healthy.

Whatever you decide to do though, please ensure you feed the birds in the green zones. With your help, we can reduce the amount of bird fouling near the café and toilets area.

Fish

After some considerable investment from Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council in 2016, the lake was partially dredged and resealed and the footpaths surrounding it were repaired. In order to undertake such a mammoth task, the original fish had to be removed. Once the repairs were carried out and the lake had finally settled, we were able to reintroduce some Common Mirror Carps in early February 2018 for everyone’s enjoyment. In autumn 2018, an area of the lake was segregated to plant aquatic plants such as oxygenating plants and water lilies. These in time will provide a safe haven for fish to breed and hide away from predators.

When walking around the lake this summer, why not try to see if you can spot one of our carps sunning itself near the surface of the lake?

Invertebrates

Summer is the best time to come and admire some of our common butterflies. The Red Admirals and Peacocks are often seen sunning themselves on our summer bedding but you will also see Painted Lady, Orange Tip, Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell etc only to name a few.

The park is also the home to other invertebrates such as Honeybees, Bumblebees, brightly coloured arachnids such as the Orange Garden Spider are a few examples.

If you are visiting the park with your children, this is a great way for them to discover the amazing varieties of butterflies, bees and other invertebrates which can be found here. Why not have a bug hunt and count how many you can see?

Mammals

Due to the variety of habitats on offer in Aberdare Park, our park is the perfect place to spot a range of small mammals.

One of the main and most nosy residents is the American Grey Squirrel which always takes the time to say hello and in some cases, will take peanuts right of your hand.

However, there are other less noticeable mammals, such as foxes, hedgehogs, field mice, bats which are also visitors or residents here.