What I love about Wales – Barry Island

Posted on April 3, 2010


When I arrived in Cardiff, I was somewhat ill-prepared. Actually, to tell the complete truth, I wasn’t prepared at all. My trip over to Whales was a result of a dark moment and the need for a change. I had family there and they had invited me to spend the night. But before heading over to their house, they had said, I had to go to Barry Island. So I pretty much snubbed Cardiff (sorry all you Cardiff lovers out there) and took a train to the said location.


Barry Island turned out to be not an island at all, or at least not at the moment. It apparently used to be one up until approximately a century ago, when docks were built and turned it into a peninsula. Now it was pretty much what a place like Brighton is to Southern England; a seaside retreat to which city dwellers escape when in need of reinvigoration. And to me, it was a million times more beautiful than Brighton.



When I arrived, it was a coldish February morning. Withmore bay, the most evident feature of Barry Island, looked long and narrow, but in fact, it was only being covered by the tide which, slowly, but perceptibly, soon started to ebb. The sun shone with a boldness I hadn’t seen in London for two weeks and created those wonderfully magical reflections on the ocean surface. Beautiful walking routes unravelled themselves to both the left and the right hand side of the bay. To the right, the trail took me up onto a grassy headland where I could look down onto the bay or, on the other side, to an inlet where boats lay marooned in a thick layer of silt, waiting for the flow of the water to prop them up again.  The left-hand trail also took me up high over the water, along a stretch of coast where large houses dotted the edge of the cliff and were blessed with unobstructed views.

Behind the bay, an amusement park lay abandoned, silently waiting for the time when, in summer, it would be up and running again. Having hiked around enough, I sat outside one of the cafes lining the promenade until the sun started setting. I struck up a conversation with a man who said he lived in one of those beautiful houses I had mentioned earlier, up on the cliff, and watched as the tide rolled back in, obliterating old footsteps in order to provide a fresh, clean slate the next day.



– Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @ www.travelwithdenden.wordpress.com

Posted in: Barry Island