Writer Katie Hamer is busily discovering parts of the city and revealing them through her We Are Cardiff series, the A-Z of what makes Cardiff special to her. She’ll be sharing the parts of the city she finds with you over the following weeks, so stay tuned!
B is for Bute Park
I know Bute Park from attending fundraising events. I’ve gone there for Cancer Research’s Race for Life, and also British Heart Foundation’s Santa Run. On these occasions, the park really comes alive. It buzzes with energy, and a riot of colour, as you’re caught up in a tidal wave of enthusiastic runners.
I thought I knew the park from these visits. Yet my explorations for this article uncovered aspects about it that surprised me. I realised how much I had yet to discover.
As a matter of fact, Bute Park is constantly evolving. Some of its greatest surprises didn’t even exist a couple of years ago, let alone in 2010, when I first took part in Race for Life.
I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the Sculpture Trail. The sculptures on this trail are carved from the remains of felled trees, or from surviving tree stumps. They sprung into existence in 2012, as a result of the Bute Park Restoration Project.
As I searched for images of these sculptures online, I felt more and more inspired. They made me think of interplay between nature and man-made objects, something that was a constant source of fascination for me during my years of studying art.
I decided I had to discover them for myself. So I set myself the mission of visiting the park in order to find, and photograph, as many of these sculptures as possible.
I found fifteen. There are twenty in total. Finding them became an adventure, especially as, at this time of year, they are largely hidden by tree canopy. Without warning, they suddenly emerge into view.
One of the highlights of my visit had to be the discovery of a giant picture frame. You can view it from many perspectives. I thought about how I’d love to go back in order to take pictures of it with the changing seasons. Even in the few hours of my explorations, I became aware of a magical shift in light and perspective, as captured within its ornate carvings. I wish there were more sculptures like this one.
Following the sculpture trail without a map, or a guide felt like an adventure. I felt a sense of achievement every time I uncovered a new one. They are all unique and quirky, fun for adults and children alike.
If there were one thing that would have made my day more enjoyable, it would have been getting to know more about the background of each of these wonderful sculptures. Apparently, Bute Park regularly have guided tours of their Sculpture Trail, in which they unveil some of their secrets. The forthcoming dates are yet to be announced, on their website. I’m hoping the next one will be at a time when I can attend.
As planned, I took photos of each of the sculptures I found, and it’s my great pleasure to be sharing them with you. I hope you enjoy my gallery.
Have you been on Bute Park’s sculpture trail yet? If so, what is your favourite? Feel free to comment. I’d love to hear your stories about the park.