Penny Bowers stands in the meadow of Hailey Park in Llandaff North
Penny Bowers standing in Hailey Park's meadow (Image: Ben Summer)

Hailey Park conservation leader steps back after 10 years of work

Volunteer Penny Bowers wants to focus more on her passion for nature – and less on chairing meetings

THE chair of Friends of Hailey Park is stepping down after more than 10 years of conservation and community work.

Penny Bowers, 62, of West Road, Llandaff North, was a founding member of the group in 2007 who plant trees, tend to paths and cut back overgrown areas.

Ms Bowers, who has chaired the group since 2009 and will leave her role at the AGM on November 24, said: “I’m not stepping down, I’m stepping back.

“I hate chairing meetings,” she admitted, saying that she now wants to focus on her passion for nature and conservation.

Friends of Hailey Park has improved biodiversity in the park’s meadow, one of Llandaff North’s two Sites of Interest for Nature Conservation (along with the River Taff).

A map of the River Taff running through Hailey Park
A map of the River Taff running through Hailey Park (Image: Ben Summer)

The meadow has won the Green Flag Community Award for voluntary work each year since 2012, and the whole park gained Green Flag status in 2020 for both Cardiff Council and volunteers’ efforts.

Llandaff North ward councillor Jennifer Burke-Davies said: “Hailey Park is a haven and a place of respite. It’s so many things to so many different people.

“The community owes Penny a debt of gratitude. She, together with the other members, has fought tirelessly for the best interests of Hailey Park. She will be missed as chair.”

Friends of Hailey Park often works with the council, including by fundraising to improve the park’s playground and preventing a construction camp from being situated in the meadow.

Ms Bowers said that conservation is sometimes too much work for the council.

“That’s not a criticism,” she explained, “because their staff ratio has been decimated when it comes to parks.”

A branch and a pylon in the meadow of Hailey Park
The park’s meadow is based in the Llandaff North council ward (Image: Ben Summer)

Coun Burke-Davies said: “In an ideal world, councils would be in a position to play a larger role in maintaining the park but after 11 years of austerity, they have had to prioritise funding to frontline services.

“Friends of Hailey Park have worked hard to maintain and improve the park, play equipment and meadow. I hope in the future we’ll see greater commitment from the council on this issue.”

The council announced a £9.7m investment in parks and playgrounds in the five-year spending commitments in its 2021 budget.

The group’s record turnout was 38 volunteers when building a bee bank. There were six volunteers at the last session and the group has over 150 members in total.

Ms Bowers continues to encourage new volunteers to join the group: “Three hours spent with like-minded people is fantastic, and physically it’s good for you as well.

“There’s a sense of ownership – I did that, I’m responsible for that.”

Paul, 55, a volunteer from Llandaff North, said: “The work that Penny has spearheaded, along with our park ranger Gareth, has been incredible.

“I really hope we will find somebody who will carry on as chair.”

The AGM will take place in The Railway Pub in Llandaff North at 7pm on November 24. The group will also elect a treasurer and a secretary.

You can become a member of the group through its website for £3 a year or get in contact via phone (07836532258) or email (

The next volunteer day will be on Sunday, November 14 from 1pm to 4pm.