I am incredibly fond of Brynmill Park in Swansea. Just around the corner from the park is the first house I moved into with my (now) husband. This was back in 2000, and Brynmill Park was the place I walked my beloved dogs Jack and Barney twice every day. We moved away to West Wales a few months after we married in 2001. But whenever we visit family in the Swansea area we always stop off at the park. Our children love it.
The lake at Brynmill Park was originally a reservoir. Built in 1837 with a capacity of 5,500,000 gallons it became apparent that it was located at too low a level: it could only supply the lowest parts of the town. After cholera outbreaks in 1832 and 1849, the need for better water supplies came to the fore. So in 1852 Brynmill Reservoir was sold. The grounds had become a popular picnic area, so in the 1870s Brynmill Park became Swansea’s first informal park.
Even in the short time that I have known the park, it has changed a lot. Many years ago it was a popular fishing lake, but the fish were moved and angling is no longer permitted. Now there are marginal plants around the lake and nesting birds.
A Discovery Centre popped up in the time since we moved away. This Heritage Lottery Funded addition provides an educational visitor centre. The centre has a large one-way glass window to view birds in their natural habitat.
Brynmill Park: Kiosk
The Brynmill Park Kiosk is another addition … one I wish that was in place on those cold winter mornings all those years ago! The Kiosk serves lovely takeaway coffee, tea and hot chocolate. On this particular visit I noticed a lot of parents sitting on the many benches around the lake enjoying a hot drink from the Kiosk. All hot drinks are £1.50 each, even hot chocolate with cream. I spotted some people tucking into hot pasties and sausage rolls (£1.50 each); they also sell cheeseburgers and hotdogs for £2.00 each.
On our visit though, we headed straight for their Joe’s ice cream. We had promised the children ice cream after a particularly long dog walk on a nearby beach. But once we saw the flavours on offer we all ended up with one!
The fact is, you can’t go to Swansea and not eat some Joe’s ice cream … they’ve been making it there since 1922. I couldn’t resist a mint choc chip cone, while Huw and the kids had a selection of flavours ranging from candy floss and strawberry, to chocolate and peanut butter.
We all sampled everyone else’s (as you do!) and they were all very yummy. And I can’t think of a nicer place to sit and eat it either – overlooking the lake and watching the ducks with their babies.
There is a circular walk around the park – fantastic for scooting as both Millie-Mae and Toby can attest. There isn’t really enough open spaces to let dogs run free (unless they are very small), but it didn’t stop our two springers enjoy a couple of laps on their leads.
Brynmill Park is lovely at all times of the year. The gardeners really look after it and there’s always something in flower in the numerous flower beds. Benches are located every few metres, so there’s always somewhere to sit and relax for a while. For the more active visitors, there’s an established bowling green as well as a very popular children’s play park with basketball hoop outside.
Usually I find parks are popular with a specific demographic … but not Brynmill. There are lots of babies and children in prams and on scooters enjoying the park with their parents. The older generations pause on their leisurely walk around the lake to sit and watch the world go by. Dog walkers of all ages – very friendly I always find – are pacing the route with very happy dogs of all sizes and breeds. And children hang out around the play park, kicking a ball and picnicking on the grassed areas. It’s a little oasis close to the middle of a bustling city.
Whenever you are in Swansea, take a couple of hours out to visit Brynmill Park. You won’t regret it. And I wholeheartedly recommend the Joe’s ice cream from the Kiosk 🙂