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Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 11:21 UK
Ponciau Banks Park

Ponciau Banks park
Ponciau Banks - steeped in the mining tradition of the area - and being restored to its 1950s glory

As part of a guide to the region's urban parks, Katie Holland, the Ponciau Banks Park officer, talks about aspects of the park and its history

Ponciau Banks Park has a rich and colourful past, steeped in the mining tradition of the Wrexham area.

After many troubled years of struggle between mine owners and miners, the 1920s saw miners across Wales locked out of the mines by their employers after refusing to take a pay cut.

Amid much unrest, and without wages, the mining families of Rhos and Ponciau began mining Ponciau Banks for its coal - to sell to others and heat their homes.

Park facilities
Ponciau Banks park
Bowling greens
BMX track and skate park
Sports courts
Bandstand
Gorsedd circle
Nature area

The miners dug bell-pits into the ground, and tried to make them strong using wooden posts.

Mining the Banks was extremely dangerous however, as the posts often rotted and shafts collapsed. Miners' lives were also threatened by the poisonous 'black damp' gas, which could kill them.

During this period the Banks was riddled with mineshafts and looked like a wasteland.

Quick to see an opportunity, plans began to be made to turn the Banks into a park by the local mining community, with the help of students from the International Voluntary Society for Peace, who came from across Europe to volunteer at Ponciau between 1932-1934.

Over a period of years local men, women, children and the European volunteers transformed the area into the park you see today - a valuable and well-loved gift to the community.

Recently the park was fortunate enough to be granted funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund, for a full refurbishment including improved pathways, lighting, facilities and planting to restore the park to its 1950s glory.

Features and facilities

The park has two crown greens for bowls (the Ponciau Banks Park Club meets every Wednesday, 2-4pm and loans out bowls equipment to the community). For children there is a toddler/junior play area and there is a BMX track, skate park and youth shelter for older children. There are tennis and basketball courts. The park also has a bandstand, Gorsedd circle of standing stones and a nature area.

The park has views over the surrounding countryside as far as Beeston Castle and the Peckforton Hills. An interpretation board helps the visitor to spot these, and other, landmarks.

Wildlife

The park is a real green lung for the community and a haven for invertebrates - the planting schemes especially attract swathes of bumblebees and butterflies such as the Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Painted Lady. A Hummingbird Hawkmoth has also been spotted.

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Country parks
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