Accessible via the car park off Heol-Y-Fforest, the forest has a series of waymarked walks and riding routes. You are greeted by a spectacular wooden dragon after leaving the car park and there are plenty of other hidden gems to discover on the sculpture trail.
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The many mounds and depressions are evidence of the iron production that took place in the 1500s. The woodland is being returned to native broadleaf species via low impact silviculture.
Before the Forestry Commission took over management of the forest it was owned by the Bute family. I spoke to local resident Carol Spackman whose grandfather, William Henry Lewis, was head woodsman in the 1940s/50s. He lived in a lime-washed cottage known as “Forest House” with his family and they enjoyed fresh water from the “Blue Waters” spring in the forest.
In the summer, Carol’s grandmother would serve tea and homemade apple pies to visitors to the castle and at Christmas her grandfather would select a Christmas tree for the Bute family to put in Cardiff Castle.
I recently had a walk through the forest and took some photos.