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Penarth's Original Town Trails

Click here to jump to the Penarth Original Town Trails history.

and here to jump to the PDF downloads of the original trails.

This page is currently being developed as part of the POTTR project.

It should be completed by the end of May 2024.

Penarth Original Town Trails - Revisited project (POTTR)
(2023+)

In 2022, as part of our rediscovery of some of our own archives, we found a whole box full of copies of the original Town Trails. Not only that but there were some display pieces created to show how the leaflets were developed. The POTTR project is all about exploring these original trails, and their archive materials and bring them back into the limelight for modern times, as well as in conjunction for trails and tours planned to be a part of our Penarth Town Heritage Trail Project. 

The Issues with these walks

In the last 40-20+ years since these trails were produced, Penarth has significantly changed. Quite a lot of the information contained within them is now out-of-date. We have unfortunately lost quite a number of both historical and modern landmarks mentioned, which is a problem for both finding them and navigating the trails.

The trails were also not created with any consideration for accessibility. It is understandable that Penarth is quite a hilly town, so not that suitable in places for people with mobility issues.

The trails also duplicate themselves with some information (or occasionally contradict previously included information). While some of them do offer more about a subject that others, the fact the same information is repeated would be unnecessary for modern versions using better layout techniques.

The PDF copies (available below) are scans of the original published leaflets. Unfortunately this results in issues when trying to print them back out. This is especially true of those with a dark coloured ink printed on a lighter background (often of the same colour range)

The text in the original printings is also in quite a small font.

Some trails do not contain a map.

How we would address them

In constructing the new trails we would look at what is currently present in the town and use this information instead. The original information will also be retained as this itself becomes historical points of interest.

 

 

We will look at alternative routing options, and, where possible, including accessibility information within the trail. We would also look to create alternative versions such as audio and other languages (including Welsh).

Instead of duplicating the information for each trail, we will instead cross-reference. We would also look to produce these trails with an easier way of doing this.

We will create reformatted versions which are much easier to read, much easier to print and have a clearer layout for following the trails. We will look to add maps for those without them.

Alternatively we would dispense with the trails all-together and just go for an overall landmark & location map of the town, with each notable location receiving a unique marker and either create the new trails using the same marker across all trails, or just let explorers generate their own trails. This would be done using digital methods.

POTTs History

The Original Town Trails

Penarth's Original Town Trails came about through an initiative by Penarth Town Council in the 1970s/80s. 

 

As developers moved in it was realised that Penarth would soon lose its identity so people should be encouraged to look around and record what they saw before it was too late. What better way than to organise a competition open to all age groups to take a walk around a local area, appreciate the environment and make notes along the way. Hopefully the Trails would attract visitors and inspire residents to take an interest in their town...

History of the POTTs

(1974-2001)

Formation of the Project

The project to create these trails originated with Penarth Town Council back in 1974 following the re-organisation of Local Government, abolishing the former Penarth Urban District Council.

 

A small Committee was set up consisting of Cllr. Maureen Kelly-Owen, an architect then living on the Cliff Walk, Cllr. Janice Birch, a School Teacher from Victoria Square, and Cllr. Anthony Ernest, a new Town Councillor from Bridgeman Road.

 

The Committee decided to form some sub-groups to collect information from around the town, and some 7 Zones were created, based on Local Schools or identifiable areas of Penarth, Llandough and Cogan which were connected in some geographical way.

 

A competition was set up in the early 80s to encourage people to contribute material, (with the winners being noted in the publications). 

 

The Committee held several group meetings at West House, as the information came in, and the Council staff gave extensive help by typing up the information. Additional history experts also assisted.

The first two trails were produced together (c1986), with Trail #1 covering the seafront and Trial #2 covering part of the Town Centre and Old Penarth to the north. These were followed by subsequent publishing of 10 additional trails between 1993 & 2001. You can find out more about each of them below.

Much of the collection subsequently formed part of the original "County Treasures Survey" for Penarth under the aegis of the former South Glamorgan County Council, and it is this collection that today helps shape many of the Planning Policies that control the Planning processes in and around Penarth.

(Some information provided by Cllr. AM Ernest)

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Town Trails pic 3.JPG

The Penarth Society's Role

How did The Penarth Society get involved?

Apparently the Council had been unable to find an illustrator to accompany the texts, so publication had been held up.  It was then decided to ask The Penarth Society if they could help.

 

Naturally Diana Mead, who provided all the art work for the Society, was delighted to help so printing went ahead, followed shortly by Town Trail No 2.

 

During the 1984/85 competition for content entry,  several schools entered, including the Class 6 of Evenlode [Primary School], who won and had benefited greatly from their walk of discovery organised by the school. Audrey Poole was Headmistress at the time and helped them enter the competition. Audrey of course also going on to help run The Penarth [Baths] Citizens Group's campaign to save Penarth Baths, and also help re-establish The Penarth Society c1986.

Text for Trail's #3-#12 (1993-2001) was subsequently provided by Alan Thorne, a local historian, who has played (and still does) a prominent part in the life of The Society.Diana Mead  continued to provide all the illustrations.

 

The agreement had been that The Society provide the material and The Council  provide the finance.  So the project was a true collaboration between two organisations anxious to preserve and  promote their town.

You can also access these trails on Penarth Town Council’s website where three are pdf and digital versions.

 

https://www.penarthtowncouncil.gov.uk/penarth-town-trails/

The Original 12 Trails

Trail #1 - Penarth Seafront

Date of Publication: c1986

Text by: Mr

Trails #1 & #2 were produced at the same time. Trail #1 focuses on Penarth's seafront history, though also includes some of the parts of the town centre on the return route.

Starting at Penarth Pier, you are instructed to go to the far end of it and look back along the shoreline at the various landscape features and buildings found there. From there you head to the Italian Gardens, and up some steps (which were donated by the Original Civic Society for Penarth in 1975) into Windsor Gardens. From there you head south to Alberta Place, West to the Railway Path and then back into the town centre via Plymouth Rd. The tour ends at the far end of Rectory Rd (by the Alexandra Park entrance, as this gives the option to either turn left (north) and head into the Town Centre, or turn right (south) and head back to the seafront via either Beach Rd or through the park.

Notable points along the way include:

Starting Point: Penarth Pier Entrance (1).

End Point: Junction of Rectory Rd & Beach Rd (near 9)

No. Waypoint markers: 9

Estimated Completion Time: 1hr 30min

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

This route includes a set of steps. Alternative option to ascend via Cliff Hill and re-join the trail at the South Lodge exit of Windsor Gardens

Illustrations: Page 1 - Sailboat on Penarth Beach

Trail #2 - Town Circular (Large)

Date of Publication: 1991

Text by: Mr Alan Thorne

Illustrations by: Diana Mead

Produced at the same time as Trail #1, Trail #2 takes a tour of the upper part of Penarth, from the Town Centre and through some of the oldest parts of the town.

While a very simple route, with only 9 stops, it nevertheless covers a large route around the town.

Starting Point: St Fagan's Castle, Windsor Rd (unmarked on map)

End Point: St Fagan's Castle, Windsor Rd

No. Waypoint markers: 9

Estimated Completion Time: 1hr 30min

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

This route includes several hills, both ascent and decent with various steepness. Not recommended for those with mobility issues.

Illustrations:

How this walk needs updating:

  • Several locations, both modern and historical locations mentioned (both for the historical significance behind them &/ waypoints) no longer exist.

  • Harbour View Road is now Trem-Y-Bae and passes through Penarth Heights rather than The Billybanks

  • Trail marker (1) does not denote the start point, nor is the start/end point actually marked on the map.

Trail #3 - High St, Arcot & Glebe

Date of Publication: 1993

Text by: Mr Alan Thorne (Historian)

Trail No.3 is less of a planned route and more of a large collection of waypoints found around the central North West area of the town. While there is a sequential order to them, getting between adjacent points may require circling around some and doubling back from others.

 

The areas itself is quite a small section of the town, but with 49 waypoints to visit, it packs in a lot of history.

Notable points along the way include:

Starting Point: (1) Royal Buildings, Queens Rd (North Penarth)

End Point: (49) Golden Lion, Glebe St/King St junction

Estimated Completion Time: 1hr 30min

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

This route includes some moderate hills (ascent and decent), which run N-S. E-W directions are more gentle, so option to alternate between the two, rather than follow sequential directions.

Illustrations: Page 1 - x

Trail #4 - Daggertown

Date of Publication: 1994

Text by: Mr Alan Thorne

Trail #4 covers the really old parts of Penarth that appeared during the early days of the Victorian's development of the towns. Areas such as The Bowery and Daggertown.

These are situated in the NE part of the town, going W-E from Glebe St to the eastern cliff and N-S from Northcliffe to Windsor Terrace. Also covered are St Augustine's Church, Headlands School and shops around Glebe St & Windsor Rd.

What is interesting is that Trail #3 also starts at the Golden Lion inn (where this trail starts and ends). Perhaps you can stop for a pint in between doing both trails...?

Starting Point: Golden Lion Pub (1)

End Point: Golden Lion Pub (1)

No. Waypoints: 46

Estimated Completion Time: 1hr 30min

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

This route includes a few hills.

Illustrations: The Golden Lion Pub.

Trail #5 - Pier Centenary

Date of Publication: 1994

This trail was produced for the 1994 centenary year celebrations of Penarth Pier. While this trail also covered the seafront area (as #1), it does so with a smaller route, and one that runs in the opposite direction (counter-clockwise).

The published leaflet doesn't include a map; the oversight for which is unknown. There are some written directions, but unless you know Penarth already, you may get a little lost. This is especially true if you are looking for locations that have since changed name or usage, so no longer recognised as listed (an example of this includes The Beach Shelter...???).

An interesting part of the text (which may be a mistake) mentioned that Plymouth House was occupied by an Anne Evens (not be be confused with our Chair) - this is believed to be a mistake that should read Annie Evans, as POTT#10 makes the same reference, but with the latter name.

Another interesting point is that while it was produced for the 1994 centenary (from 1894), the included text states that the pier was only begun in April 1894, and wasn't opened until February 1895 (with a 'sham' pier beforehand). Does this mean the 100yr celebrations were a year early?

Starting Point: Penarth Pier Entrance.

End Point: Penarth Pier (Opposite side of road)

No. Waypoints: To be confirmed.

Estimated Completion Time: 45min.

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

This route includes a steepish hill ascent at the start, and short but steep one about 3/4 of the way through.

Illustrations: To Follow

Trail #6 - Penarth Docks (Marina)

Date of Publication: c1995

Text by: Mr Alan Thorne

Penarth was developed as a town thanks to the development of its docks, and this trail covers the history of that.

Much of what is marked on this trail of course no longer exists in terms of seeing it, or the remains of, so it is more a trail to be visualised rather than seen.

What is unique about this trail is that some of the map markers shown aren't actually waypoints, but to be viewed from afar, as they exist on the Cardiff side of the Ely River. This trail was produced before the Pont-y-Werin bridge so visiting them was not possible. Some places on the Penarth side are also inaccessible to reach, so can only be viewed.

Starting Point: Windsor Rd/Tesco Upper Roundabout (1)

End Point: Custom House (27)

No. of Waypoints: TBC - some map markers are not visited, only viewed.

Estimated Completion Time: 1hr

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

This route includes some hills. New alternative routing via St Joseph's Park (aka The Zigzag Path) now possible. It may also be possible to visit some of the map markers on the Cardiff side of the Ely river by using the Pont-Y-Werin bridge to cross.

Illustrations: To follow

Trail #7 - North Penarth - Paget

Date of Publication: c1996

Text by: Mr Alan Thorne

This trail also covers much of the same area around Dagger Town, though with a much smaller route, and including more about the Paget Rd area.

A lot of the text included does exist in the previous trails that cross this area, though there are some new sections as well.

What is problematic about this tour is that the map included was produced with South at the top, so if you're coming up from the town centre, you have to re-orientate yourself to face back down to the town, and keep the map lined up contrary to how you'd expect it. There are also a number of issues with the stylisation of it, and exclusion of un-used roads. If you are not a resident or familiar visitor to this part of the town, you might have issues navigating it.

We once again end at the Golden Lion Inn (hmm...?)

Starting Point: Royal Buildings (1)

End Point: Golden Lion Inn (King St/Glebe St) (19)

No. Waypoints: 19

Estimated Completion Time: 45min

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

This route includes hills and steps (though the latter can be avoided by alternative routes.

Illustrations: To Follow

Trail #8 - Cogan

Date of Publication: 1997

Text by: Mr Alan Thorne

For this trail we leave the main Penarth Town and enter Cogan. Here we find out how much history is packed into this small area.

Why this trail decided to start deep into Cogan is unknown (a better starting point would have been Cogan Railway Station (11)... or the [now derelict] Station Pub (7) ).

In July 2024 we have a guided walk by Alan Thorne Himself around this area. You can find out more information and tickets here.

Starting Point: Cawnpore St (1)

End Point: Hebron Hall, Angus St (19 - but unmarked on map)

No. Waypoints: 19

Estimated Completion Time: 1hr

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

This route includes gentle hills + an active car park

Illustrations: To Follow

Trail #9 - Town Centre

Date of Publication: 1998

Text by: Mr Alan Thorne

We return to Penarth for this trail, and specifically what is considered the Centre of Penarth... The Town Centre shopping area around Windsor Rd.

This time the trail heads more to the south of Windsor Road, but not by far. It also included an expanded section on the notable history and landmarks of the principle shopping street.

Again this trail has no map, but the walking directions are quite easy to follow. The trail itself is quite short, doing a small loop using Hickman Road. It does zig-zag a little, depending on how you decide to follow it, especially where it talks about features found on opposite sides of a street (that are best viewed from the sides opposite them).

Starting Point: St Fagan's Castle Inn

End Point: Windsor Rd Clock Roundabout

No. Waypoints: 0

Estimated Completion Time: 45min

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

The most hill-free and step-free route of the 12 (one gentle slope of Stanwell Rd by the library.

Illustrations: To Follow

Trail #10 - Posh Penarth

Date of Publication: 1998

Text by: Mr Alan Thorne

This trail takes a tour around some of the most affluent parts of Penarth located south of the Town Centre and towards the Western coast (but not down to the seafront). We visit places like Plymouth Rd and Marine Parade, locations where all the more extravagant (and expensive) houses are found.

There are unfortunately a few things disappointing about this tour. Firstly the map is not very well drawn, and also oriented with West at the top. The junction where Stanwell Rd meets Hickman Rd and Plymouth Road is completely out of alignment for road directions, so when you line any one road section up correctly, none of the other ones do so. If you're not a familiar visitor to the town this may certainly confuse you.

Another issue is that Alberta Rd is mislabelled as Alexandra Rd.

The starting location is Trelaeven, which isn't really a locatable place outside of the map marker - Google Maps woudn't find it for you). 

Starting Point: Treleven (corner of Stanwell Rd & Rectory Rd - Opposite Penarth Library)

End Point: Windsor Rd Clock Roundabout

No. Waypoints: 0

Estimated Completion Time: 45min

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

The most hill-free and step-free route of the 12 (one gentle slope of Stanwell Rd by the library.

Illustrations: To Follow

Trail #12 - [Title]

Date of Publication: 2001

Text by: Mr Alan Thorne

This trail takes a tour around some of the most affluent parts of Penarth located south of the Town Centre and towards the Western coast (but not down to the seafront). We visit places like Plymouth Rd and Marine Parade, locations where all the more extravagant (and expensive) houses are found.

There are unfortunately a few things disappointing about this tour. Firstly the map is not very well drawn, and also oriented with West at the top. The junction where Stanwell Rd meets Hickman Rd and Plymouth Road is completely out of alignment for road directions, so when you line any one road section up correctly, none of the other ones do so. If you're not a familiar visitor to the town this may certainly confuse you.

Another issue is that Alberta Rd is mislabelled as Alexandra Rd.

The starting location is Trelaeven, which isn't really a locatable place outside of the map marker - Google Maps woudn't find it for you). 

Starting Point: Treleven (corner of Stanwell Rd & Rectory Rd - Opposite Penarth Library)

End Point: Windsor Rd Clock Roundabout

No. Waypoints: 0

Estimated Completion Time: 45min

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

The most hill-free and step-free route of the 12 (one gentle slope of Stanwell Rd by the library.

Illustrations: To Follow

Trail #11 - [Title]

Date of Publication: x

Text by: Mr Alan Thorne

This trail takes a tour around some of the most affluent parts of Penarth located south of the Town Centre and towards the Western coast (but not down to the seafront). We visit places like Plymouth Rd and Marine Parade, locations where all the more extravagant (and expensive) houses are found.

There are unfortunately a few things disappointing about this tour. Firstly the map is not very well drawn, and also oriented with West at the top. The junction where Stanwell Rd meets Hickman Rd and Plymouth Road is completely out of alignment for road directions, so when you line any one road section up correctly, none of the other ones do so. If you're not a familiar visitor to the town this may certainly confuse you.

Another issue is that Alberta Rd is mislabelled as Alexandra Rd.

The starting location is Trelaeven, which isn't really a locatable place outside of the map marker - Google Maps woudn't find it for you). 

Starting Point: Treleven (corner of Stanwell Rd & Rectory Rd - Opposite Penarth Library)

End Point: Windsor Rd Clock Roundabout

No. Waypoints: 0

Estimated Completion Time: 45min

Approximate Distance: XXkm (XXmi)

The most hill-free and step-free route of the 12 (one gentle slope of Stanwell Rd by the library.

Illustrations: To Follow

PDF Downloads

These are PDF scans of the original publications of the POTTs.

Please note that as some are coloured ink on coloured backgrounds you will need to adjust your printer settings in order to be able to print copies (recommend including Print in Black & White as a setting.

We are currently working on reformatted versions for easier printing.

POTTs PDFs
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