September 1, 2014
by admin

Social Media Roundup – August 2014

A Lego Fairytale

We’ve been busy playing Lego during the summer holidays and our Lego features have been getting lots of attention online. Wales Online picked up our “12 Amazing Lego Models of Welsh Castles” article and we followed that up with a detailed post about the Castell Coch model.

12 Amazing Lego Models of Welsh Castles.

Wales Online shared Bob’s work too.

The new Holiday Inn opened.

Louvain Rees shared “The Return from Market”. A painting from c.1792.

Christopher Langley posted his latest work, Tongwynlais Forest.

Shoppers were stranded in ASDA during heavy rain and flooding.

Coryton slip road opened.

Castell Coch long stitch by Claire Dodds.

Stuart Wadlow is starting a running group.

Mark shared a picture of his aunty Ada Francis, who was the lollipop lady in the village for many years.

Check out Bob’s amazing Lego Castell Coch model. This was our attempt!

Why not follow us online to get all this great content straight away?

August 29, 2014
by admin

Tongwynlais – Our Neighbourhood

TON Group image

It’s nearly a year since a fledgling community group was formed in response to the proposed development of houses next to the village hall.

The group have recently decided on a name and published an annual report.

“Tongwynlais – Our Neighbourhood” or “TON”, for short, have been looking at ways to acquire the land next to the village hall if planning permission is rejected. The village survey showed that many people feel this green space should be used for the benefit of the village.

The group organised a petition in response to the planning application, which was one of many objections registered. Julie Morgan AM and Community Councillor Mike Jones-Pritchard both submitted very detailed objections.

The result of these objections is that the planning application is likely to be discussed at the next open planning committee on the 17th of September. Members of the public are welcome at these meetings if you’d like to go and view the proceedings.

View of Tongwynlais

TON are also looking to introduce a “Time Credits” scheme to Tongwynlais. This is a way for people to earn credits by volunteering in their community – these credits can then be spent to access events, training or activities. We’ll have more details about this scheme and how you can get involved, so subscribe to the site and make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about the group’s activities, take a look at their annual report.

If you’d like to join the group, attend a meeting or find out how to get involved, you can email them at

Thanks to John Bulpin for the great photo of the village.

August 21, 2014
by admin

Princesses for the Day at Castell Coch


Hollie Evans and her sister Poppie became princesses for the day at Castell Coch thanks to her bravery and generosity.

Having recently been given the all clear from a rare form of cancer, Hollie is donating her hair and raising money to help others.

She’s hoping to raise more than £1,000 to split between The Little Princess Trust, a charity which makes real hair wigs for children suffering hair loss, and local cause Follow Your Dreams. You can support Hollie on her fundraising site.

Cadw invited Hollie and her sister to spend the day at Castell Coch dressed as their favourite princesses.

Roger Morgan, of Cadw’s events team, said: “We had a great day at Castell Coch with Hollie and her family.

“When we read Hollie’s amazing story it mentioned that she loved pretending to be a princess so we thought she’d love to spend the day at Wales’s very own fairytale castle.

“Hollie and her sister Poppie arrived at Castell Coch head-to-toe in fancy dress costumes and looked like characters from a storybook as they explored the stunning site.”

Hollie’s mum Hayley said, “Hollie and Poppie had a great day pretending to be princesses at Castell Coch.

“They explored the castle and even heard the story of Repunzel – Hollie’s favourite princess.

“Their favourite room was Lady Bute’s bedroom because they thought a real princess lived there! It was a great day out.”

Image and video courtesy of Cadw and Castell Coch.

August 12, 2014
by admin

New Holiday Inn Opens in Tongwynlais

Holiday Inn sign

After several months of development, the new Holiday Inn on Coryton roundabout has officially opened. 52 of the 95 bedrooms were ready when the hotel opened on July 29th and the remaining bedrooms will be available from August 19th. The meeting rooms, swimming pool and leisure club will be completed later in September.

I spoke to Director of Sales, Tracey Evans, who gave me a tour of the hotel. Tracey explained that the hotel has spent £3m on refurbishments, which includes the addition of air conditioning and Wi-Fi in every bedroom.

The foyer and lounge are bright and airy, with seating and desks for relaxing and working. Wi-Fi is available throughout and refreshments can be purchased at the bar and Starbucks counter.

Holiday Inn lounge

The hotel’s “Health Central” leisure club has a 10m indoor pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and gym, which will all be open to non-guests. We’ll publish more photos and information when the facilities are completed.

Holiday Inn foyer

Tracey is really pleased with the response they’ve had in the last couple of weeks and is looking forward to the grand opening event later this month.

You can contact the hotel via their website or on Facebook and Twitter. has not been paid to write this article. We offer free promotion to all local businesses. Please get in touch if you would like us to promote your business. This service is offered at our discretion.

August 11, 2014
by admin

Castell Coch: A Lego Fairytale

A Lego Fairytale

Robert Carney has painstakingly built over 140 castles from around the world using Lego bricks. Castell Coch was the first Welsh castle he built in 1987. Robert chose Castell Coch as his brick collection was significantly smaller back then.

Castell Coch

Castell Coch – 1987

With a larger number of bricks available, Robert built a second model of Castell Coch in 2007. This model took about 3 weeks to build in his spare time, and he estimates it took about 15,000 individual Lego pieces to complete.

Castell Coch north west view

This model is amazingly detailed, as you can see in the comparison below. The only piece of the castle not made from standard Lego bricks is the picture of the Madonna and Child above the drawbridge.

Comparison of Lego model

I asked Robert which part of the construction was the hardest and he explained the curved wall section was particularly challenging. The size of this later model made the details easier to build than his original one.

Robert provides detailed plans for each castle he builds so you can have a go yourselves. And he’s happy to help if anyone’s trying to reproduce one of his models.

I’ve got to say a big thank you to Robert for answering all my questions and very kindly letting me reproduce his images and plans. Now I’m off to the the Lego shop to buy some more bricks!

This is the best I could do…

Castell Coch Lego model

Image Credit – Cadw

August 6, 2014
by admin
1 Comment

12 Amazing Lego Models of Welsh Castles

How many Lego bricks would it take to build a scale model of Caerphilly Castle? We got in touch with Robert Carney, who has spent more than 30 years building over 100 Lego castles, to find out.

Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle

Robert’s 2005 Caerphilly Castle model used nearly 32,000 bricks! You can even visit Robert’s site, Lego Castles and download the plans.

Castell Coch was the first Welsh castle Robert built in 1987. It was a far more modest construction due to his smaller brick collection.

Castell Coch

Castell Coch – 1987

Subscribe to for more from Robert about his next version of Castell Coch, which he created 20 years later.

August 1, 2014
by admin

Social Media Roundup – July 2014

Article title image

Another busy month in the social media world. We have two aerial shots of Castell Coch, one from the helicopter police earlier this month and another from 1947. And as a bonus, some aerial footage of the castle commissioned by Cadw. But we start with a popular Facebook update.

Aerial photo from the helicopter police.

Excavation at Castell Coch

The Holiday Inn opened a few days ago. We haven’t had chance to have a look but we found this photo that looks like the new front desk.

The summer holidays are in full swing and we’ve been playing Lego!

Cadw commissioned this aerial footage of Castell Coch.

Chris Langley has produced some more digital art featuring the castle.

Is anyone running the Cardiff half marathon?

Castell Coch from 1947

And finally…

July 31, 2014
by admin

Two Years On: Looking Back

2nd birthday cake

The beginning of August marks the 2nd anniversary of This is a recap of what we’ve been up to.


Developments have really dominated this year, beginning in August with the proposal to build houses next to the village hall. We reported on the proposal and published the draft plan.

Land next to village hall

In October, plans to undertake a village survey were revealed. The survey was completed in November and results were published at a special event in March.

In February, we reported that there are several LDP ‘Alternative Sites’ proposed for Tongwynlais. This was first many people knew of these sites and residents got the chance to give their feedback at a public consultation. The LDP is due to be submitted to the Welsh Government for examination this month.

The Site

We’ve experimented with site sponsorship this year. We launched our plan for Community Adverts in November and we’re pleased that several local companies have kindly supported us. The money we raise will be given to local groups for the benefit of the village.


We unveiled a new way for you to send us your stories in April. My Tongwynlais is a dedicated section of the site where you can create an account and share your stories.

You told us what you’d like us to write about via a short survey. If you have any more ideas or feedback, please get in touch.


One of our personal highlights this year was the film night at Castell Coch. We watched “The Bride of Frankenstein” in the courtyard of Castell Coch and had an amazing time.

Film Nights at Castell Coch

Local residents organised a fantastic event called “Knowing you – Knowing Ton” to celebrate the village and build on its great community.


Wales Blog Awards logo

The year ended on a high when we were shortlisted for “Best Community Blog” at the Wales Blog Awards. Although we didn’t win, the event hopefully raised the profile of the village.

The Future

We’ll be keeping you up to date with all the news happening in the village, putting together some more interesting features on the history of the village and much more.

Tell us what you’ve enjoyed and what you’d like to see over on Facebook or Twitter.

Picture – sbszine

July 20, 2014
by admin

Details of the New A470 Link Road on Coryton

Coryton A470 link road

Traffic Wales have kindly sent us some more details and a map of the current works on Coryton roundabout.

As you can see in the image above, there will be a new link road connecting the westbound offslip of the M4 to the northbound A470. Traffic Wales told us, “this will remove approximately 60% of the traffic, which currently leaves the westbound offslip and travels around the gyratory to join the A470 north of Coryton interchange.”

Yellow box markings will be added at both ends of the new road and the current traffic signal system will also be “upgraded and reconfigured to suit the new traffic flows.”

Traffic Wales will post further updates on their website.

July 16, 2014
by admin

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Tongwynlais

Article title image

1. Castell Coch had the first commercial vineyard in Great Britain.

Castell Coch wine label
Source – BBC

2. Merthyr Road used to be called North Road.

Source – Dic Mortimer’s Blog
Picture – Crazy High

3. Castell Coch has been featured in many films and TV programmes, including several episodes of “Doctor Who” and 90s TV show, “The Worst Witch”.

Source – Doctor Who locations

4. The “Iron Bridge” is made of steel. The original was swept away in 1877.

Iron Bridge
Source – Dic Mortimer’s Blog
Picture – Stuart Herbert

5. Tongwynlais railway station was only in service for 20 years.

Tongwynlais railway station
Source – Dic Mortimer’s Blog | Wikipedia

6. Coryton’s triple-decker gyratory is the largest roundabout in the UK, with a circumference of 1 mile and an area of 12 hectares (30 acres).

Coryton roundabout
Source – Dic Mortimer’s Blog

7. The Tongwynlais Temperance Silver Band was formed in 1888.

Old photo of Tongwynlais Band
Source – Tongwynlais Band

8. The last remaining example of a cast iron boat weighing machine was originally used in Tongwynlais.

Source – Dic Mortimer’s Blog

9. Jay Pepper from Welsh glam metal band Tigertailz is from Tongwynlais. The band wrote a track called “Tongwynlais Fly”.

Source – Wikipedia | Amazon | BBC | Official website

10. In 2010, 51 visitors were trapped inside Castell Coch for over 3 hours when a cherry picker caused the drawbridge to collapse.

Castell Coch
Source – BBC

Do you know any Tongwynlais trivia? Get in touch and let us know.