Coopers Field

First published 29th Mar, 2021

Coopers Field is in the south of Bute Park. This large open grass site is very popular for events and festivals.  There are two hammerhead grasscrete turning points and several event water ‘pop-ups’ located in Coopers Field to service events. The event space can be used for:

  • Concerts and day festivals
  • Charity walks / runs / bike rides
  • Private or corporate parties
  • Community events with moderate infrastructure

Event Site

Coopers Field is a green field event site set within Bute Park a 146 acre historic park and nationally-significant arboretum located in the heart of the city-center. The park contains a nationally-significant tree collection or ‘arboretum’, this means some areas are out of bounds for certain types of use.

Investment made through the Heritage Lottery Funded “Bute Park Restoration Project” has upgraded the site’s infrastructure to better meet the demands of the annual event programme.

However this investment was conditional on strict event management plans being in place to protect it. Use is generally restricted to April – September, and 6 week rest periods are blocked out of the availability calendar after major infrastructure events to allow sufficient rest and recovery of the ground.

LocationGoogle Map
Site PlanCoopers Field Events Constraints Plan
Size26,000 sqm
DimensionsApprox. 300 m x 80 m
Event UseConcerts and day festivals
Charity walks / runs / bike rides
Private or corporate parties
Community events with moderate infrastructure
Premises LicenceThis site is covered by the Bute Park Premises Licence
On-site power
supply
None – decommissioned in 2017
On-site water
supply
Yes – Subject to fair use policy
6 x locations
SewerageYes
2 x septic tanks (3,500 gallon)
ToiletsNone
The closest park facilities are Pettigrew Tea Rooms and Secret Garden Café – not suitable for use by eventgoers.
Phone/ISDN linesNone – disconnected in 2019
Data ConnectionIt is possible to bring data to Coopers Field via a connection point in the north west bastion of Cardiff Castle. This may be hardwired to the field or
transmitted as a Wi-Fi signal.

Other Considerations

Flooding Flooding Coopers Field is a flood plain and while the river Taff is well protected by the 1980s flood defence scheme, The Dock Feeder Canal is at a higher level than Coopers Field and in extreme weather may flood on to Coopers Field. This is much more likely in winter months, which is another
reason why events are typically restricted to April – September. This could be difficult to foresee or prevent and may result in significant “Force Majeure” losses to Event Organisers.
ExcavationsSome areas of Coopers Field are archaeologically sensitive and contain tree roots so no excavations are permitted. Any excavations must be with
the express permission of the Event Manager and may require an archaeological watching brief under conditions set by Cadw.

Conflicts with other city centre events/venues

Before completing your event application, we would recommend that you as Event Organiser research key events in the city which may have an impact on your event.
Large city events could affect availability of and access to your preferred venue. Events in Cardiff Castle, Principality Stadium, Sophia Gardens Cardiff (Cricket Stadium) and Cardiff City FC will particularly affect Coopers Field and Sophia Gardens.

The Visit Cardiff website has a search facility which you can find out all indoor and outdoor events which are scheduled on a specific date.

If your event is likely to generate significant crowds, noise or disruption it would also be courteous for you to notify adjacent venue and local residents including the and newly developed offices and residences on Cathedral Rd.

Access to site

Pedestrian AccessThe closest park entrances to this site are:
– Fisher’s Bridge (from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, east)
– Castle North Gate (from North Rd/civic centre, south east)
– West Gate (from Castle Street, south)
– Millennium Bridge (from Sophia Gardens, west)
Vehicle/Load
Restrictions
Vehicle access into the site is via the vehicle bridge off North Rd, located opposite Corbett Rd. The vehicle bridge has a weight limit of 40 tonnes.

The vehicle bridge narrows to a single lane as it crosses the Dock Feeder Canal so traffic entering and exiting must be carefully managed, making use of passing bays along the main event service road to the south.

The vehicle bridge has an automatic bollard in operation to prevent unauthorised entry of vehicles in to Bute Park. You may therefore need to request loan of a set of ‘swipe cards’ so you can manage traffic in relation to your event. This request can be included on your application form. Please see for guidance on safe use of the bollard control system.

Stewards/ banksmen will be essential to safely manage your traffic. These should be in radio contact with each other and following strict procedures to protect the fabric of the park and other park users.

There are two hammerhead grasscrete turning points on Coopers Field – one at the northern end and one at the southern end as well as two grasscrete laybys opposite them. These provide ‘hard standings’ on which event vehicles can be turned and unloaded. Operations should be planned and coordinated to ensure that event traffic manoeuvres are limited to these areas. Failure to do this may unnecessarily damage the grass and leave you liable for reinstatement costs.

Protective aluminium or plastic trackway must be used for access onto the grass for vehicles with a payload exceeding five tonnes.

Ground protection (track mats, pedestrian barriers or iron bars/hazard tape) should be deployed in vulnerable areas to prevent damage caused by event vehicles over running the paths. See site plan for guidance.

There are certain ‘no go’ areas adjacent to the event site and these must be physically protected from potential damage from your event, see site plan for guidance [champion tree, tree canopies generally, Blackfriars etc.]

Bute Park holds a stock of ‘event mode’ signage to help manage event traffic when volumes are significant.

Advice for risk assessment and CDM planning

  • There is an automatic bollard control system at the Bute Park Vehicle Access Bridge. A guidance note is available on its safe operation.
  • There is a 5 mph vehicle speed limit within the park.
  • Vehicles cannot make a right hand turn into or out of the park at the vehicle bridge.
  • A designated cycle route crosses the vehicle access bridge at the entrance to the park – this impacts on vehicle right-of-way when entering and exiting the park. Event organisers should consider the benefit of additional traffic management staff to support vehicles entering and exiting the park across the designated cycle route.
  • A designated cycle route crosses the park between the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and the Millennium Footbridge, this crosses the main vehicle access to Coopers Field.
  • The park can be busy. It is used by pedestrians, cyclists and other operational vehicles. These may share paths and roads with my event audience and vehicles.
  • Some cyclists are known to exceed the speed limit and can be a hazard to event traffic.
  • In wet weather the ground can get very soft and water may stand on the surface of roads and grass.
  • The park is locked at night (approx. 30 minutes before sunset) though people are known to choose to get locked in or come in after locking via unofficial routes.
  • There is the potential for crime and anti-social behaviour as may be expected in any city-centre park.
  • The park is unlit and very dark after sunset.
  • The wider park outside the event site is patrolled by a ranger service within daylight hours. They wear a red uniform and are based out of the Visitor Centre Building located in the centre of the park. The rangers work to a rota system but there are times when there are no rangers on duty. If you need to contact a ranger, the call should go via the Park Manager in the first instance.
  • Crimes, emergencies or incidents witnessed in the wider park by event staff should be called directly to 999, 101 (non-emergency police number) or the Park Management office 02920 873720 depending on their nature.
  • The Coopers Field site is marked with a series of coloured “Carrots” showing the outer limit of the site and root protection area (yellow), BT cables (red) and water (blue).
  • There are buried services within this event site. These are identified on the event area base plan, where known but The Venue accepts no responsibility for the full accuracy of service plans. Services may not be buried at depths compliant with current standards. You must notify and seek permission from the Park Management office to break any ground.
  • The Principle Contractor is responsible for requesting up-to-date RASWA (Road and Street Works Act) searches and identifying the presence of services (e.g. CAT scanning) if he intends to break ground in or around the Venue. The Venue can obtain RASWA searches on request.
  • There are no existing welfare facilities on site for event staff. Toilets located at park cafes are only available for light use by event staff/participants.

See Coopers Field Events Constraints Plan

All event guidance