Pontypool Park

Pontypool Park is around 250 acres of park land which was originally leased to the family  around 1655.  Further land (which became known as Pontypool Park) was purchased by Capel hanbury in 1689.  The Hanbury family built their home on the land around 1694 and the Park Gates were erected some years later in 1720.  You can still see the house, complete with stables and an Ice House today, the house now makes up part of St Alban’s R.C High School, the stables are now home to the towns museum and the Ice House remains virtually untouched and is sited opposite the museum. (The ice house is a double chamber building that is unique in its design and build and unlike any other of its kind!)

There is a lot of history in the park, commemorative stones placed in memory of the Pontypool and District Hospital which finally shut its doors and was demolished shortly after in 1994, the Italian Gardens and Fountain which are a short hop over the river, behind the bus station on the edge of town (added in 1924), the bandstand at the center of the park, an addition in 1931.

Further into the park is the Pontypool RFC pitch which was developed and laid out in 1925 (which the rugby team had to share with the cricket team!) with the addition of the grandstand almost 20 years later in 1945.  And keeping with the theme of sport from the path that runs along the top of the rugby pitch toward the leisure center you should be able to see the ski slope that was added in 1975!  The tennis courts that should be seen if you face toward the clock tower (added in 1952) were added to the park around 1924.  There is a bowling green set next to the tennis courts that was added in 1925 too.

If you venture even further into the park and up towards the ski slope you will come to Nant-y-Gollen ponds, originally a mill pond to feed a forge, it was remodeled back in the early 1990’s, there are lots of stories about the pond (a good starting point of research is here )

Then there is the proper heart of the park, for me that is the Shell Grotto and Folly Tower, the Shell Grotto is worth a visit when it is open, the inside is decorated with shells, animal teeth and bones, it was built as a summer get away/picnic area for the Hanbury family in the 1830’s.  The Folly tower was added earlier, around 1765 but later demolished in 1940, when World War 2 was taking place – it was feared that the tower would act as a reference point and guide for German aircraft.  The tower was finally rebuilt in 1994.

There is a walk called the Pontypool Park Circular which takes you past many of these landmarks and places of historical interest, the full walk takes around 4 hours and is moderate in its rating – there are some steep parts and muddy trails along with woodland and rough ground.  If you would like to do this walk then details for it can be found here.

 

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Lunchtime Walks

As you probably know by now, I am becoming a big fan of walking at lunch time to get my step count up, energize me for the afternoons work load, lift the fug that has descended and calm my mood.  Today I am going to share some photos from my walk around where I work.  I’m lucky to work in such a lovely place with lots of grass land and trees which make me feel like I have escaped for half an hour each day but I think regardless of where I work I would go for a walk around the area anyhow, even 5 minutes of walking has an impact on your mood, energy levels and can aid concentration.  Here are some photos of the walks I take at lunchtime.

Do you go out walking at lunchtimes, where do you go?

And now, yesterdays stats…Did I hit 10,000 steps?

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I didn’t 😦  I was not very well after my flu jab on friday so had a day off.

Awesome Autumn Walks

Today I am going to share with you some awesome walks that you can do in Autumn that really showcase what the season is about…. The change in colors of the leaves on the trees, the crisp freshness of the air and the mist that clings to the valleys…

Arboretums are one of the best for viewing the change in seasons and there are quite a few dotted around the UK.  An arboretum is a collection of lots of different types of trees, which as autumn approaches the trees come alive with a riot of colors.  Wrap up warm and head to one of these below!

Local parks are good for seeing in the change in season, with grassy areas and tree lined walkways, there is a lovely contrast between the rich bright autumnal tones of the leaves and the fresh green of the grass.  Why not head out for a picnic at one close by and have a look around the walkways?

Reservoirs and lakes are another good place to visit, especially on cold, misty, bright mornings during autumn.  The water can enhance the quality of the views with its cool, calm reflective nature.  How about packing a thermos of tea and your camera when heading out to visit one?

Woodland or wooded areas are lovely to walk around at this time of the year and you can kick and crunch through the fallen leaves along your walk.  Why not visit the woodland trust website and see what woodland areas are close by that you can explore?

And lastly, yesterdays stats…did I hit my goal of 10,000 steps for the day?

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I did!  I headed out during my lunch break and went for a walk around the estate I work on and collected some conkers on the way!  🙂

1 Week In

Today marks the end of the first week of this challenge.  In the past 6 days I have taken 69192, (I can’t include todays stats as I’m still adding to them!).  In 6 days I am really surprised and pleased, its 9192 steps more than I was expecting and only 808 steps away from what I was hoping to achieve in 7 days!  I have covered a total of 28.2 miles in those 6 days (or 45.4km) and done a whopping 7 hours worth of exercise over that time!

So far I am really enjoying the Walk All Over Cancer, 10,000 steps a day challenge though I have found a few days to be a bit hard (saturday in the rain and monday were a bit hard and I found it difficult to get motivated, once I was going though I did wonder what the fuss was about!).  I have found that I am sleeping better overall and seem to be less stressed overall and I look forward to coming home, putting my walking shoes on, getting the dog harnessed up and heading out!

I have learned that it is essential to wear comfortable socks (I prefer socks that look like gloves for your feet – toe socks, or socks made by a company called Jeep that are made for running), I made the mistake of wearing a pair of socks that had a sparkly pattern woven into them which made the inside of them uneven and lumpy – I got blisters 😦 .

The other thing I have learned since starting this 10,000 step challenge is that I like to have a variety of walks to choose from depending on the weather, my energy levels, mood, and a whole host of other things.  I’m so lucky to live where I do as I have a whole host of different types of walk to go on – woodland, cycle path, park, canal, and all of them are easy to get to (I don’t need to drive there) and take me through some beautiful scenery.

Anyway… yesterdays stats… Did I manage 10,000 steps? 🙂

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Of course I did!

I am aiming to walk 10,000 steps a day for the whole of september in order to raise money for Cancer Research, if you would like to sponsor me or donate, you can visit my Just Giving page where a few clicks will see your donation added to the cause.