Cardiff Central Station - Penarth - Grangetown - Back

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Cardiff Central Station - Atlantic Wharf - Cardiff Bay - Cardiff Bay Barrage - Penarth - Pont y Werin - Grangetown - Cardiff Central Station

Like the shorter version of this walk (ID 6691), our route begins from the southern, rear entrance to Cardiff Central Station. Walking up Tresillian Way, we pass the fountains in Callaghan Square and continue below a railway bridge onto Herbert Street. The traffic is soon left behind as we pick up a disused canal on the right. This forgotten waterway, which once linked Bute East Dock with the Glamorganshire Canal, winds its way through an attractive residential area (part of the Atlantic Wharf development) known locally as 'Little Venice'.

After a number of twists and turns, the canal comes to a sudden end at Bute East Dock, a long, rectangular body of water built in the 1850s to ease pressure on the existing Bute Dock. The dock has been closed since 1970 and is now entirely landlocked. Following the edge of the dock to its southern end, we cross in front of County Hall (the headquarters of Cardiff Council) and join Hemingway Road in the direction of Cardiff Bay. Before long, the distinctive profile of the Wales Millennium Centre becomes visible on the left.

Heading towards the arts centre (toilets, tourist information), we cross the bowl-shaped plaza of Roald Dahl Plass towards the Cardiff Bay waterfront. Amazingly, this popular public space stands on land reclaimed from the original Bute Dock, which was filled in during the 1960s. Two of Cardiff Bay's loveliest historic buildings, the Pierhead Building and the Norwegian Church (where Cardiff-born Roald Dahl was baptised), can be found close by, while the Senedd and Wales Millennium Centre provide striking examples of more contemporary architecture.

Parting company with the walk's shorter partner, we turn left to follow the Cardiff Bay Trail (and also Wales Coast Path) across the iconic barrage enclosing the bay between Queen Alexandra Dock and Penarth Head. To our left are the tidal waters of the Bristol Channel, punctuated by the twin islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm; on our right, the large, freshwater lake that was once the world's greatest saltwater port.

A pleasant path at the far end of the barrage leads around the sedate waters of Penarth Marina. We then return to the bay to follow the long, western shore back towards Cardiff; a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge (Pont y Werin) provides access across the Ely River. On the far side, look out for whitewater rafters descending the artificial river (Cardiff International White Water) opened in 2010 on the north bank of the Ely!

Eventually, our way leads up the narrowing channel of the Taff towards Clarence Bridge. The shorter version of this walk (which follows the north shore of the bay) is then rejoined. A pleasant riverside route (part of the Taff Trail) takes us right into the heart of Cardiff, where every conceivable facility is only a stone's throw away.

Wales - South Wales - Cardiff - Town or city

Features

Birds, Cafe, Church, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Good for Wheelchairs, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Lake/Loch, Mostly Flat, Museum, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Sea, Toilets, Wildlife

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