IT'S THE WEEKEND: Family Fun - Make the most of the sun at Cwmbran Boating Lake

SubmittedBoating lake , Cwmbran . countryside feature (6253920)

SubmittedBoating lake , Cwmbran . countryside feature (6253918)

Photos Becky Matthews Words Emma 8.6.13 Cwmbran Big Weekend at Cwmbran Boating Lake and Llanyrafon Manor. The Fit Team take part in and win their Raft Race against the Crossy Cockerels (6253745)

Photos Becky Matthews Words Emma 8.6.13 Cwmbran Big Weekend at Cwmbran Boating Lake and Llanyrafon Manor. Emma Waters and her daughter Emmie-Mae Redman, 4, enjoy a go on the paddle boats. (6253755)

Photos Becky Matthews Words Emma 8.6.13 Cwmbran Big Weekend at Cwmbran Boating Lake and Llanyrafon Manor. Crowds pack the boating lake. (6253761)

Photos Becky Matthews Words Emma 8.6.13 Cwmbran Big Weekend at Cwmbran Boating Lake and Llanyrafon Manor. Darren 'Graceland' Jones entertains the crowds as Elvis. (6253767)

Photos Becky Matthews Words Emma 8.6.13 Cwmbran Big Weekend at Cwmbran Boating Lake and Llanyrafon Manor. Darren 'Graceland' Jones entertains the crowds as Elvis. (6253763)

First published in News

THE sun’s starting to shine more regularly, the rain isn’t falling quite as much, and people in Cwmbran are starting to use their boating lake more and more.

And next month the lake and Llanyravon Manor will host The Big Event, and thousands of people will visit and enjoy it – hopefully in glorious sunshine.

The lake is used by families with children, community groups and individuals who can take part in a wide range of activities, and they all benefit from a redesign partly financed by Torfaen council and other groups.

Ben Black, who runs the blog Cwmbran Life, said he usually takes a trip to the boating lake once a week: “I take my daughter down on her bike. And it’s flat there so it was a brilliant place for her to learn.

“In the summer we go fishing there during the hot months. I have got pictures of me there, picture of my daughter there.

And he says it’s easy from people not just from Cwmbran but from Newport and Pontypool to get to – so much so that going there for some people from Newport is like going to Tredegar House.

While Coed Eva’s county councillor Fiona Cross runs up to five times a week and has visits the boating lake regularly after she took up running up to five times a week two years ago.

“I love the boating lake. Something interesting is they have moved the walks around the boating lake, which is fantastic.”

“The upgrading is marvellous. I would be down there now if I could. I love Torfaen and I love the boating lake.

“Overall it is great and obviously working towards the Big Event - and then you’ve got Llanrayvon Manor too.”

She added she was “really slow the first year” but now she’s getting faster, with regular trips around it.

While the landlord Richard Hall of The Crows Nest pub, is located near the boating lake on Llangorse Road, says the pub really benefits when people visit the lake it on bank holidays – and that he himself uses it once a month.

And Torfaen council is keen to recognise how much has changed at the lake. Only five years ago it was waiting to be refurbished – and has overcome problems like an arson attack last April to some its park.

The leader of the council, Cllr Bob Wellington, said: “Cwmbran Boating Lake is one of Torfaen’s greatest assets and among our most popular and well loved locations, enjoyed by thousands of people, of all ages, every week of the year.

“It has benefitted from significant investment over recent years with new play equipment installed and the new boathouse and landscaping works helping to transform the area. There has also been a lot of infrastructure work to connect the lake and park with local communities with new walking and cycling routes making it even easier for local people to access.”

Bob Mayers, who runs the Torfaen Angling Participation Project, will be at The Big Event next month. The group has visited every one since its launch.

He said the lake was the perfect place for fishing groups he runs for children, usually aged eight or nine in one group or 14 or 15 in another.

“The lake is good for us because it is nice and local. There’s also good car parking. If we can get the youngsters out they’re be better for it.”

A wet woodland and island habitat helped improve access and repair works. Funding came from the Welsh Assembly, the Cwmbran Operational Group, the Environment Agency and Splash, a water recreation challenge fund.

And the lake will provide the setting for the fourth Cwmbran Big Event next month on the afternoon of Saturday, June 14.

Over 10,000 people went to the lake to see last year’s event, which included a visit from Elvis impersonator Darren ‘Graceland’ Jones, who will be performing again this year. Its annual raft races will be held on the boating lake, and there will be tens of stalls from Gwent businesses.

But car parking arrangements will be announced close to the day. There will be a number of car parks available for the event, the details of which will be announced closer to the event itself.

Regular updates on the event, including details of stalls, exhibitions, performing artists and activities, will appear here.

For more information on the event and finding how to be part of it, phone 01495 742333.

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