Cardiff Queen Street – Cardiff Bay – 24.11.2011

“Caerdydd” or the more anglicised version “Cardiff”, derives it’s meaning from “Fort on the Taff”. All was to become clear… My Walk started in Queen Street, where I found my first piece of Cardiff’s history, a blue sign stating that the “East Gate” had once stood here. Strange to think that since I was standing in the modern pedestrian shopping precinct. Once there had been ancient road going through this area, leading from Gloucester to Swansea, known as Porth Crockerton. A strange name you may think, but it the historic name plate assured me that this was probably due to vegetable gardens which had been part of a large house which stood in the 13th Century house nearby. Eventually the East Gate was demolished.

As I left Queen Street behind, I found myself at Cardiff Castle.   Indeed this was Fortress!  I was certainly impressed by the castle walls which are still intact 🙂   A fort has been in residence on this site since the Romans had set up a trading post on the River Taff nearly 2000 years ago!  Once the Romans had left the site, the Normans decided to make the fortress larger and made their wooden Motte and Bailey into the stone version, some of which is still visible today!   The Castle has been residence to different families, such as The Clares, Nevilles, Beauchamps, Herberts, The Butes and The Tudors.    I will need to go back to the Castle to really fully appreciate it’s history and will post photos and full history in a later blog!

I continued on to pass a large clock tower, which looked a bit out of place with this castle, allbeit beautiful.   In fact this Clock Tower was a later addition to the castle and was commissioned by 3rd Marquis of Bute who enlisted the skills of the architect William Burges. William Burges revealed his designs for the clock tower exterior / interiors at the Royal Academy in 1870. The beautiful statues and coats of arms which surround the top of the tower make the clock tower look particularly striking. Unfortunately I was unable to capture all of the figures that I could see, but apparently they represent the planets as Roman gods. The figures hold attributes relating to their sign of the Zodiac – Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury, and Luna.

From 2011 – 24.11.2011 – Cardiff Queen Street – Cardiff Bay

My walk continued on past the “Animal Wall”. Again this was created by the Architect William Burges. The Animals that reside on the Wall had been inspired by South Wales literary characters. Dorothy Howard Rowlands had written tales about William the Seal, Priscilla the Penguin, Martha the Monkey amongst others. This beautiful wall had not long been renovated, and I am so glad it has, as the carvings for these animals is simply stunning.

Passing this beautiful wall, I entered “Bute Park” which runs alongside the Castle. This lovely park was granted as a public park in 1947 to the people of Cardiff. Although it was a private garden to the Castle, in fact it has not always been part of the Castle Grounds. It is a great park and I was glad to see where I am running on St David’s Day in 2012! There are over 2,000 trees in this park and I am not really surprised to learn this as it is quite large and I think I am little daunted by this run!

It was here I crossed the River Taff to join the “Taff Trail”. This Trail is 55 miles long and runs from the Brecons, all the way down to Cardiff Bay, where I was going to end my walk of the Day. I don’t think I was going to be able to walk to the Brecons in an afternoon so the Bay it was! I am glad I found this Trail I think I will be walking this (or in fact cycling it perhaps) at some point in the future. I must admit despite the cloudy day, the River Taff was still nice to walk alongside.

From 2011 – 24.11.2011 – Cardiff Queen Street – Cardiff Bay

I think I left the trail at one point, but I didn’t mind as I found “Parc Hamadryad”. This park looks over River Taff and seemingly quiet. The park was created in 2001, I am still unsure if there is any history behind this area / piece of land, as I am finding it very difficult to locate. I am quite surprised since the park is very close to Cardiff Bay where the docks would have been, and the close to where the entrance to the Glamorganshire Canal would have been located! I am sure there would been something behind this area. Does anyone have anything too help me out?

Leaving the park behind, I walked onto Cardiff Bay. I was quite surprised by what I found. A contrast between Old Dock buildings and highly a highly developed area with brand new buildings. Of course I had seen this area in the series “Torchwood”, so it was so different to see it up close!

I came across a bronze statue to “Ivor Novello”. Ivor Novello was born in Cardiff and is commemorated in the Bay. He starred in films in the early 20th Century, the stage and composed Music. He is widely remembered through “The Ivors”, awards which are given out to celebrate excellence and individual contribution the British Music Industry.

It was here that I ended my walk. Cardiff Bay is truly a lovely place to sit and relax if I had the time. I will say it seemed continental in flavour with cafes on the other side of the bay where you could sit and have coffee and the modern architecture, particularly the Welsh Assembly building! However with the distinctly historic buildings such as the Bute Docks company on the other there was no getting away from the past. I will recommend a visit though!

Please feel free to look at all the photos for the afternoon’s walk here –

2011 – 24.11.2011 – Cardiff Queen Street – Cardiff Bay

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One response to “Cardiff Queen Street – Cardiff Bay – 24.11.2011

  1. Pingback: Cardiff Bay Walk – 03.03.2012 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

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