New swing on the block: checking out Splott’s newest park at Horwood Close

There’s a new kid on the block, or should I say there’s a new place for kids on the block? During the recent replacement of Beresford Road Bridge, the Horwood Close playground was taken down and the site used by Network Rail for storage and services realignment, which left a fun-sized gap in play provision on Splott’s East Side.

So it was to local delight that the newly refurbished Horwood Close play park reopened in the last few weeks.

Network Rail, in conjunction with Cardiff Council, had pledged that the park would be put back, better than ever, on completion of the bridge replacement and back it is.  But is it better than ever?  Inksplott went back in time and took to the playground tonight to find out what local residents think of the shiny new facility.  Is it a matter of ‘it’s all swings and roundabouts’ or is the park a bigger, better version than before?

The new parks consist of the following:

  • See-Saw
  • Big rope bowl swing
  • Circular balance beam that spins
  • Mini adventure playground
  • Pipe-based walkie-talkie system
  • Bench for sitting on

In the ten minutes that I spent at the park, five different groups visited, two of them first-time users.  There were four sets of parents with their small children and one groups of older kids by themselves.  The results were interesting and pretty unanimous:

  • No one could remember what was in the old park!
  • The big bowl-type rope swing was most popular
  • Young kids are really good at balancing and love the circular spinning wheel
  • The see-saw looks a bit space-age and is approached with caution
  • The mini adventure playground is good for sitting on
  • Once you’ve figured out that the two yellow shower-heads at either side of the park are connected by a pipe running underneath the floor and act like the world’s most basic walkie-talkie, much hilarity ensues and these are well-liked
  • The colours are bright and encourage use (people like them!)
  • The rubbery matting on the floor is kind to elbows and knees if you have a tumble

When I asked what improvements could be made, the results were also pretty unanimous:

  • There’s nothing for toddlers and a few small-kids’ swings would have been appreciated
  • There could be more than one bench for parents to sit on
  • There are two massive expanses of wall either side of the park (directly underneath the bridge) that could have been decorated with good graffiti or (even better) painted with goal posts for small-scale games of footie

Overall, the park was met with a warm reception, especially on a balmy summer’s eve, and people seemed happy and satisfied.

All three local councillors (Huw Thomas, Ed Stubbs and Gretta Marshall (who was a local Councillor at the time that the old park was removed)) had worked with both Network Rail and the Council to ensure that the park was replaced and no provision was lost for the people of Splott.

Local Councillor, Huw Thomas, told Inksplott:

“I’m delighted that the park has finally opened.  Ed and I met with Network Rail about two years ago when they were writing their plans for the closure of Beresford Road bridge.  We were very clear at that point that, as part of the benefits to the community from the work, we wanted to see some investment (back into the community) as they were using the park at the time for equipment storage and I’m delighted that it has come to pass and we’ve got, what I’m sure, will be a really well used community facility.”

Have you used the new Horwood Close park? Let us know what you think by using the comments function below.