From left to right: Bev, Rhun, Cheryl, Jane, Bernie and Aled Credit: Zoe Glascow

The Big Sweep: How Pontcanna residents got together to clear autumn leaves from their streets

The leafy neighbourhood becomes knee-deep in mulch every autumn

RESIDENTS of Pontcanna have grabbed their shovels and hit the streets for the annual Big Sweep.

For the last eight years, Cardiff Council has worked with residents of Pontcanna to tackle the huge amounts of leaves that cover the streets in late autumn.

Many streets in Pontcanna are lined with beautiful and established trees, shedding their leaves in the autumn and creating masses of mulch.

Between 20 and 30 people came out to clear up the roads and pavements in the most recent sweep on Saturday. One resident who took part, Cheryl, of Severn Grove, said: “Apart from the odd grumble, we love the trees.”

The sweep runs for five consecutive weeks in November and December. Streets which have already held sweeps are Talbot Street, Ryder Street and Pitman Street on November 18; Pontcanna Street, Plasturton Gardens, Plasturton Avenue and Plasturton Place on November 25; and Severn Grove an Turberville Street last Saturday, December 2 .

The remaining dates are:

  • Saturday, December 9 – Neville Street, Despenser Street, South Morgan Place, Wellington Street and Wyndham Street
  • Sunday, December 10 – Conway Road and Romilly Crescent
Braving the cold, residents used their waste sacks to clear their road. Credit: Zoe Glascow

Residents use their own shovels and waste sacks to collect all the leaves. A council truck then collects the bags for composting. As leaf sweeping vehicles cannot reach under cars and edges of the road, help from residents is vital to clear the way.

Councillor Leonora Thomson, who attended the sweep last Saturday, thanked residents for their support.

She said: “People are amazing, loads join in. It’s a great experience with people willing to volunteer. We mustn’t take it for granted.”

Cardiff Council have limited resources to deal with the issue, so volunteers who take part in The Big Sweep help to keep drains clear.

The Big Sweep started in 2016 at the request of local residents, who co-produced a plan to sweep four streets with the council.

Cardiff Council describe the event as “an addition to the Cardiff Council’s standard street cleaning programme, and a great way to meet our community”.

For more information on The Big Sweep, direct queries to your councillors:, and