IT'S THE WEEKEND: The Great Outdoors - Gwent folk name their favourite places to get away from it all

Jon Powell and baby Ella at the River Ebbw, the Wellfare Ground, Rogerstone. Newport. (6448469)

Nathan Wyburn aged 3 with his brother Kyle with Festival Park's famous mascot Griff (6448591)

Festival Park Ebbw Vale (6426679)

Festival Park Ebbw Vale (6426683)

Festival Park Ebbw Vale (6426685)

Fishing on the lake at the Festival Park in Ebbw Vale (6426687)

Newport Wetlands (6426718)

First published in News

GWENT is home to a whole host of wonderful places to enjoy year-round. But as summer is almost upon us now is the time to discover somewhere new or rediscover an old favourite. Reporter SOPHIE BROWNSON asks Gwent folk for their favourite outdoor spots.

WE all have that favourite spot in the countryside - the place where we used to play as a child, or where we go to clear our heads and escape the pressures of modern-day living.

So we asked people across Gwent where they liked to spend their time in the great outdoors.

Ebbw Vale artist Nathan Wyburn, age 24, specialises in creating iconic celebrity portraits and ‘pop culture’ imagery with non-traditional mediums such as food.

He is currently busy preparing for the release of his first book in October which will feature some of his best artworks.

Mr Wyburn said that his favourite place in Gwent would have to be Festival Park, in Ebbw Vale - the beautiful area created from an industrial landscape for the 1992 Garden Festival visited by thousands.

Now, the site is a well-established beauty spot.

“It is a big park at the bottom which has gone through changes over the years,” he said.

“I used to go there a lot when I was younger to just chill out- it is a place where a lot of young people go.

“I live in Cardiff now so I don’t get to go as much, but I still like to go and have a bit of a wander around with my sister.

“There is a really nice cafe in the middle of the lake where we used to go quite often.

“It is quite inspiring forma an arty pint of view as I used to do landscape sketches throughout college.

“It is a place with a lot of memories”

Meanwhile Labour MP for Newport West Paul Flynn prefers Cwmcarn Forest for its beautiful scenery.

The site is one of Gwent's biggest tourist attractions - bringing in mountain bikers, runners, walkers and 'glampers'.

“It is really well maintained there and perfect roaming ground," he said.

“It is a wonderful place- you forget how lucky you are to be so close to natural life.

“I have been going for many years and still go quite frequently.”

Rob Hosier, sales and marketing director of Newport-based conveyancing solicitors Convey Law, is also very fond of the Cwmcarn attraction.

“I grew up around Cwmcarn Forest Drive,” he said.

“They just have excellent facilities and to have a place where you can go and see such scenery is great.

“I have been going with my family since I was a child and it is a nice family day out."

For Jon Powell of Newport’s The Kiosk, a firm favourite when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors is the Welfare Ground in Rogerstone.

“I always go for a walk along the Welfare Grounds, and walk along the River Ebbw.

“We go quite regularly on a Sunday afternoon and take the dogs and the kids.

“I have been going for ten years plus and it is nice as you can let the dogs go and you can swim in the river.

“I usually go with friends and their families and bring the football.”

Teen Author Beth Reekles also likes the Welfare Ground as it is a place she went as a child.

She is the author of award winning teen fiction novel The Kissing Booth and has been named on The Times list of most influential teens in the world.

"I like the Welfare Ground as it is where I used to hang out when I was younger," she said.

“I used to go and play golf there with my friends and when I meet up with friends when I am home we sometimes go there.

“It has memories of my childhood.”

St David’s Hospice Care Fundraiser Jackie Lewis, favours the Newport Wetlands.

Mrs Lewis, whose son former lifeguard Steven, died in December 2011 at the age of 31 after he was diagnosed with T4 Stomach Cancer.

Mrs Lewis has gone on to raise over £21,000 for St David’s Hospice care which provided care for her son.

“I like the Wetlands as it is quiet and peaceful and feels like a step back in time,” she said.

“I like to go walking around there and it is quite nice as you can see the different species of ducks that come there as well as the butterflies, which are one of my favourite things.”

BLOB If you don't already have a favourite countryside spot, why not try one from our list and make it your special place:

1. The ironworks at Clydach Gorge and the nearby Pwca trail - perfect for a picnic while looking at Gwent's industrial past.

2. The canal walk between Ridgeway and Fourteen Locks - great for stretching the legs.

3. The top of Twmbarlwm - the view puts everything in perspective.

4. In front of The Guardian, Six Bells - public art in a perfect setting.

5. Brecon Park, St Julians - which gives fantastic views over Newport.

6. The Monmouthshire and Brecon canal between Govilon and GIlwern - perch on a bench and watch the ducks float by.

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