Rugby Post In Hailey Park

Hailey Park in Llandaff North nestles between the eastern bank of the River Taff and what would have been the western bank of the Glamorganshire Canal as the canal emerged from beside the tin works at Melingriffith. Back when Radyr Yard still existed (which today is the site of a new housing estate immediately south west of Radyr Railway Station), a railway embankment ran through the northern end of the park’s grounds, crossing the River Taff over a now-disused bridge to join what today we call the City Line.

In 1923, a Mr C. P. Hailey wrote to Cardiff Corporation offering the land to be transformed into a public park. His offer was for the northern section of the park, and subsequently a Mr Emile Andrews agreed to provide the land to the south of Mr Hailey’s to form a single park. Work began in 1925, and the park was opened on 3rd May, 1926, forming a great open area that only became even more important when Cardiff Corporation closed the Glamorganshire Canal and built the Gabalfa housing estate.

Today, the park is home to Llandaff North Rugby Club, and the Taff Trail cycle route snakes its way up from the south west to the north east corner of the park. A local community group works closely with the city council to improve the park, but unfortunately they keep hitting setbacks as local yobs disrupt and vandalise the park. The railway embankment that ran across the park is gone, and the line of trees that run down the south east corner edge of the park is the last reminder to mark the route that the canal once took.

References

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Boats On The River Conwy

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Good morning! Welcome back to another week of my desktop wallpaper picks. I’m still working my way through some of my favourite shots from our holiday in North Wales last summer, and this week I’m picking out shots with a nautical theme.

To get us started, my wallpaper today is this shot of some boats on the River Conwy, taken from the walls on Conwy Castle.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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Port Authority Building, Cardiff Bay

Look at any old photo of Cardiff’s docks in their heyday, and there are two constants to be seen. One is the railway station at the southern end of the Taff Vale Railway (TVR), which today is the Cardiff Bay railway station. The other is the Pierhead Building, former home to the Bute Dock Company (later renamed to the Cardiff Railway Company), and it provides a fantastic point of reference to help us see how the land around it has been utterly transformed since the height of the docks.

Built in 1897, the Pierhead Building was commissioned to be the new headquarters of the Bute Dock Company. Today, it is part of the estate of the Welsh Assembly, and serves a dual-purpose role of public museum and events venue.

I haven’t visited the museum since it opened in March, 2010 yet, but I will do so shortly. It’s my growing hypothesis that Cardiff-based exhibitions tend to downplay the debt that the city owes to the exploitation of the natural resources of the valleys (which have been left economically devastated in the post-industrial world), and I’m very curious to see what this exhibition says on the matter.

References

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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Public Footpath Sign

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It’s Friday, and whilst I’ve no idea what the weather will actually be like tomorrow and Sunday, if it does turn out to be bright and sunny, why not go out into the countryside and enjoy a nice relaxing walk to get away from it all, just for a little bit?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s varied shots from our holiday in North Wales last summer. I’ve got some more for you next week, with a loose theme to do with boats and water. Have a good weekend!

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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North of Coryton Railway Station, the old Cardiff Railway is long gone; the track ripped up, stations demolished. But it would be wrong to say that there’s nothing left of the old line that once made an ambitious (and far from simple) route up the valley, snaking over and under everything that had already gone before, in an attempt to provide another way for coal to make it from Pontypridd down to the docks at Cardiff.

The single most spectacular section is the nature trail that leads immediately north of Coryton Railway Station up to Longwood Drive, where in days gone by Cardiff Railway was carried over Middle Lock by a bridge. Then there’s some surviving hints where the Cardiff Railway was carried underneath the Rhymney Railway (now the Taff Trail cycle path from Taffs Well to Nantgarw). And then Cardiff Railway re-appears through Taffs Well and out to Nantgarw.

The section out to Nantgarw has, in recent years, been revived as a pedestrian and cycle way, with a new bridge laid across the A4054 to replace the old railway bridge that is long gone. In May of 2009, I went out to the bridge with my Nikon D200 to capture the site as it stands today. I hope you enjoy it.

The Photos

Lost Cardiff Railway Bridge

When it was still in existence, Cardiff Railway used to run through Taffs Well and then out and over the old A4054 Merthyr Road at this spot, crossing from right to left before running atop an embankment north to Nantgarw and the coking plant that used to be there before the land was cleared and turned into Treforest Industrial Estate.

Railings On The New Foot Bridge

The original railway bridge is long gone, but today, the old railway trackbed through Taffs Well is a foot path and cycle way, which is carried over the A4054 by this modern bridge.

Looking North Towards Nantgarw

Looking north from the bridge, the path runs atop the old railway embankment. You can see from the overexposed area on the left of the shot just how much the light and shade contrasts here.

New Bridge Along Cardiff Railway Route

Here’s a better view of the new bridge over the A4054, taking anyone walking or cycling north out of the shaded path and out into the bright sunlight.

Spider's Web In The Railings

In the railings leading up to the bridge, I spotted these spider webs.

Looking South Towards Taffs Well

The route south into Taffs Well from the bridge is best described as “shaded”. Even on a bright day like this one, the path is well sheltered from the sun by the retaining wall to the east and the trees growing on both sides.

Towards A Former Crossing Over The Cardiff Railway

I first walked this route quite a few years ago, before I had heard of the Glamorganshire Canal or any of the railways that I’ve spent so long exploring through the Merthyr Road project.

One of the first clues that there was a lost industrial heritage all around us that I was ignorant of came along this very track, where an old crossing point over the old railway still exists.

Beware of trains

Half-hidden in the bushes besides the old crossing is this sign: “Beware of trains”. The style is one I recognise from the old coal railways of my youth in Yorkshire.

It was this sign, and one just like it up in Treforest, that first made me wonder about what used to be here in the valleys before everything we see today.

House And Church Visible From The Old Railway Route

The former railway crossing leads to this house and what looks like a former church or chapel just behind it.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, my original blog post also includes a Google map showing where this photo was taken. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get the map to appear yet in the RSS feed, so for now you’ll have to click through to my blog if you want to see the map. Sorry.

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Crew Of The Cambrian

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I snagged this shot of the crew of the Cambrian steam train after it had dropped us off at Barmouth railway station at the end of the day. We’d heard the whistle of the train several times during the holiday, but never seen the train, and that had made us determined to spend a day riding the train round to Porthmadog and back before the end of our holiday. It was one of the best days of the holiday.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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United Services Mess

When I walked past this, I fell in love with the lovely deep blue paintwork in contrast with the very clean brass work.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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Plants In The Evening Sun

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After two days of razor-sharp death and an ecological timebomb, how about something a little more cheery today? A nice simple shot of some plants caught in the last rays of the evening sun just before it set out to see.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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Transfynydd Nuclear Power Station

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Opened in 1965 and closed in 1991, Transfynydd housed two Magnox reactors, and during its operating time was capable of generating enough power to run a city the size of Manchester (this was in the days before personal computers and iPhones, mind). Defuelling began in 1993, and the site is currently being decommissioned. Later in 2010, work will begin on partially demolishing the two reactor towers before they are covered up in an attempt to safely bury the dangerous and toxic materials they contain. There was an attempt to get Transfynydd nuclear power station classified as a listed building, but the request was rejected.

On a day like the day I visited to take this shot, the reactor buildings have a haunting quality, even viewed from so far away across the lake. They’re build from local materials, and were specifically architected with the surrounding landscape in mind. I can’t picture what the landscape will look like once they’re gone, and will return one summer to re-create this shot and see what the difference is like.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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The Taff Trail Out Of Bute Park

At its northern end, Bute Park gets squeezed down to a narrow avenue of trees, standing guard over the Taff Trail cycle route. This park of the park is a bit far for the Cardiff lunch crown to manage; it’s a quiet place during the week, with only the occasional jogger and cyclist to break you out of your own contemplation.

To the immediate west runs the River Taff, and to the east runs the former route of the Glamorganshire Canal before it disappears underneath the retail park at Gabalfa.

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. blog | twitter: (photography) (all) | facebook: (Merthyr Road project) (all).

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