The public park on the edge of the Leckwith area of Cardiff, Sanatorium Park is a significant green space in the Welsh capital, just a short walk from the Ninian Park railway station, and with the River Ely running along its western edge. Trelai Park is another green space on the other side of the river, containing the site of a former Roman villa, although the two parks are not currently linked by a pedestrian bridge.
The Ely Trail travels through Sanatorium Park, and follows the River Ely from St Fagans on Cardiff’s western reaches, winding via around seven miles of woodland, paths and roads, through to Cardiff Bay at the south of the city.
The buildings of Lansdowne Hospital, colloquially referred to as Cardiff Sanatorium, have now been demolished, following a fire in 2019, although the hospital was no longer in use when the fire struck. Although relatively small, as the hospital had been in the area for many years, the road leading up to it was named Sanatorium Road, also giving the park its name when it was opened to the public.
The hospital was located in the North East part of the parkland, an area that has now been remodelled with housing, and also a Welsh language school, Ysgol Gymraeg Treganna.
Sanatorium Park has an abundance of open green space, with wildflower hedgerows, play areas, basketball court, and a network of footpaths. The area is popular with dog walkers and locals, and provided controversy in 2020, when the City Council began construction of a football pitch enclosed in a fence, without first consulting local residents.
Peaceful protests happened in June, but the development did finally go ahead as planned. Despite being used as a resource by local schools, the controversial new pitch has been reported as regularly flooding after heavy rain, making it at times unplayable and waterlogged.
Continuing the controversial story of the beautiful park, in April 2021 further peaceful protests were planned as a demonstration against inappropriate behaviour in the public space. A cyclist had recently groped a woman who was out walking a dog, so the “sit in” was staged as a direct response to the sexual assault.
Just a short walk from Sanatorium Park, on the area’s south east edge, is the Cardiff International Sports Campus, the facility is a dedicated facility with athletics track and stadium that was built for the Cardiff and Vale College. Just the other side of the B4267 Leckwith Road is the Cardiff City Stadium, city park and ride facility, and a retail park housing shops such as Sports Direct, Marks and Spencer, Asda and Hobbycraft.