CAMPAIGNERS will brave the January weather on Sunday to raise awareness and funds for their quest to bring a new lido, or outdoor swimming pool, to Abergavenny.

The Abergavenny Lido Group wants to site an outdoor pool in the town's Bailey Park, estimated to cost around £2 million, following a surge of community support for the idea.

It is trying to raise an initial £40,000 for the first phase of the project, a feasibility study backed by Monmouthshire County Council, to analyse the impact the return of a lido might have on the town and its community.

Bailey Park was the venue for Abergavenny's original lido, which opened in 1938 and proved popular during summer months. In winter it was also used by schools.

Volunteers and the town council kept the lido going after it was closed by the former Monmouth Borough Council, but it eventually closed in 1996 and was subsequently filled in.

The group is travelling to the Forest of Dean on Sunday, where they will don their swimming wear in defiance of the winter chill, for a dip in the lakes of Broadstone Park to help promote the cause.

Group member Elaine Hunt, who has lived in Abergavenny all her life, is pleased with the level of support the campaign has received.

“We now have 1,500 members on Facebook, and we are very pleased with the many people who attended our meeting this week,” she said.

“We even had planning officers attend.


“Since starting the group two years ago we have struggled for momentum, but now we seem to be getting somewhere with it.”

Ms Hunt lives opposite Bailey Park, and recalls with sadness the day the lido was bulldozed.

“One day I heard loud noises coming from across the road,” she said.

South Wales Argus:

Abergavenny Lido Group during their first meeting of the year

“I looked out of the window and was shocked and really upset to see that it was being demolished.

“I had a season ticket at the lido every year until it closed.

“We used to go straight from school and we’d enjoy the outdoors, and then go into the café and have jam and bread. It was great.

“The friendships that were made there and the memories I’ve taken from it will stay with me forever.

“When I think back to how great our childhoods were back then, you realise how different it is for kids nowadays. There’s nowhere for them to have those experiences.”

Fellow group member Rosie Cribb, who moved to Abergavenny 12 years ago after growing up in Swansea, said she would like to share her childhood experiences with her nine-year-old daughter.

“I loved swimming in the outdoors as a child, and I’d love for my daughter to have that now and when she grows up,” she said.

South Wales Argus:

Lined up at the lido. Picture: Abergavenny Lido Group

Such is Ms Cribb’s passion for outdoor swimming, she even did her university dissertation on the benefits of lidos.

“It is a real antidote to technology and the modern world, and they have the power to bring communities together,” she added.

“We are seeing an increase in petty crime and vandalism in the town and I am convinced that an effective way of dealing with that is to get youngsters to take pride in their area.

“Getting children into the outdoors from an early age teaches them to take a hands-on approach in their communities.”

The group’s plans are for a café, swimming pool and an area for outdoor activities for school trips, and they are looking for local businesses to help sponsor them, as well as volunteers to continue fundraising efforts.

To donate, visit Abergavenny Lido Group’s JustGiving page at