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Penarth and Cardiff Barrage and Bay

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Penarth and Cardiff Barrage and Bay
Author: melanzana, Published: 07 Mar 2017 Walk Rating:star0 Penarth and Cardiff Barrage and Bay Walking Guide star0 Penarth and Cardiff Barrage and Bay Walking Guide star0 Penarth and Cardiff Barrage and Bay Walking Guide star0 Penarth and Cardiff Barrage and Bay Walking Guide star0 Penarth and Cardiff Barrage and Bay Walking Guide
Glamorgan, Penarth
Walk Type: Town or city
Penarth and Cardiff Barrage and Bay
Length: 7 miles,  Difficulty: boot Penarth and Cardiff Barrage and Bay Walking Guide
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A fascinating 7 mile circular walk from Victorian Penarth in Glamorgan, with views over its pier and heritage coast all the way around Cardiff Bay. The walk goes around Penarth Marina, then over the River Ely, past the international pool and across the River Taff to Cardiff Bay. Once docklands, the bay is now a huge leisure lagoon. The route leads you past the Millennium Centre (the Welsh opera house with its glowing copper roof), the old ornate pierhead buildings and the Welsh Senedd or parliament building. Continuing, you will follow a lovely walkway lined with sculptures and a pretty Norwegian church, passing the Doctor Who Experience with its TARDIS over the water and along the barrage with beautiful views over the Bristol Channel and Flatholm and Steepholm islands. For the final stretch you will head over the barrage locks and bridges, with its rushing waters, swing bridges and fish ladder before heading back to Penarth.

The route is easy-going, following flat tarmac paths, so trainers would be fine. You will need to negotiate two flights of steps and one small bridge (with push open gates) over the marina mouth. The paths are well-marked as the route picks up several trails on the way. If you remember to keep the bay to your right, you won't go far wrong. Allow 3 hours.

From the M4, take Exit 33 and follow the dual carriageway (A4232) all the way until the Penarth exit (the A4160). Drive along the A4160 to Penarth town centre and you will come to the roundabout with the town clock in the middle, which marks the start of the walk. Post code CF64 1BZ. For parking, turn left onto Albert Road and there are a few options. Depending on the day of the week, there is some free parking on Albert Road (particularly further along near Belle Vue Park) or take the second right into Clive Place where there is also some free roadside parking. If you cannot find roadside parking (or if you want to shorten the walk), you can park in the fee-paying Cardiff Bay Barrage car park (right next to the barrage, at the roundabout at the bottom of Paget Road by the custom house - near Waypoint 3 and post code CF64 1LQ). If you are coming by public transport, you can take the train from Cardiff to Penarth, or even take the water bus down the River Taff. The water bus stop is in Bute Park, just past the castle and Animal Wall, and it costs about £8 return (correct Mar 2017).

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Walk Sections

Start to Penarth Head Lane
Start to Penarth Head Lane

Start point: 51.4388 lat, -3.1737 long
End point: 51.4408 lat, -3.1675 long

The walk starts at the town clock roundabout, right in the middle of Penarth shopping centre.

There is lots to do before or after walk within the centre of Penarth. You could explore the fine old art gallery (opposite the train station) or walk down through Alexandra Park to the restored pier and sea front.

To begin the walk, take Albert Road then take the second right turn into Clive Place. Follow the road climbing and swinging left and, towards the top, look out for Penarth Head Lane on your right.

Penarth Head Lane to Pier Viewpoint
Penarth Head Lane to Pier Viewpoint

Start point: 51.4408 lat, -3.1675 long
End point: 51.4402 lat, -3.166 long

Turn right into Penarth Head Lane and head down this fairly short lane. You will come to the viewpoint with its wonderful views and a few benches and mosaic coastal path sign. When you have finished, retrace your steps back up lane to the junction with Clive Place.

Pier Viewpoint to Penarth Quay Marina
Pier Viewpoint to Penarth Quay Marina

Start point: 51.4402 lat, -3.166 long
End point: 51.4441 lat, -3.1707 long

Turn right to continue following Clive Place. Stay with the main road, swinging left, right and left, now becoming Paget Place. At a junction with a triangular green, turn right into Paget Road (following signs for Cardiff Bay Barrage). Go down the hill to reach a roundabout, turn left to the waters edge and pick up the waterside path ahead, up by the marina.

Penarth Quay Marina to River Ely Footbridge
Penarth Quay Marina to River Ely Footbridge

Start point: 51.4441 lat, -3.1707 long
End point: 51.4469 lat, -3.1863 long

Follow the waterside path. At the start, there is one small swing bridge over the marina (with pedestrian swing gates at each side) to take you over the marina water. Walk on for a mile or so until you are opposite a Tesco. You will come to a footbridge over the River Ely next to some sculptures.

River Ely Footbridge to Cardiff International Pool
River Ely Footbridge to Cardiff International Pool

Start point: 51.4469 lat, -3.1863 long
End point: 51.4504 lat, -3.1785 long

Turn right to walk over the footbridge and follow the path (left and right) to reach the pedestrian crossing on the road, Watkiss Way. Turn right along Watkiss Way to walk past the canoe centre (on your right). Go ahead at the roundabout and you will pass the international pool (on your left).

Cardiff International Pool to Flyover Bridge
Cardiff International Pool to Flyover Bridge

Start point: 51.4504 lat, -3.1785 long
End point: 51.4558 lat, -3.1794 long

After the Cardiff International Pool, walk straight ahead to reach the bayside path with great views across to Cardiff and all the lagoon bay. Turn left and follow the path (with the water on your right) winding up the river until you reach the flyover dual carriageway bridge, roaring above you going across the river.

Flyover Bridge to Techniquest
Flyover Bridge to Techniquest

Start point: 51.4558 lat, -3.1794 long
End point: 51.463 lat, -3.1689 long

At the dual carriageway go under the road and then immediately turn left, up the pedestrian footpath and onto the footpath over the river. This is very safe as it is separated from the road by a strong fence. It is a noisy 15 minute walk though. Go straight ahead and over a roundabout and suddenly you are in the regenerated Cardiff Bay with its bustle and people.

Techniquest to Ferry Boat
Techniquest to Ferry Boat

Start point: 51.463 lat, -3.1689 long
End point: 51.4629 lat, -3.1646 long

You will walk past Techniquest (the science museum for children) and on into Mermaid Quay (where there are restaurants and coffee shops galore plus free public toilets tucked away above the Glee Club).

If you are tired you can pick up a boat back to Penarth Marina entrance from the pontoons here, for around £3. There is lots more to see if your legs are up to it though.

Ferry Boat to Memorial
Ferry Boat to Memorial

Start point: 51.4629 lat, -3.1646 long
End point: 51.463 lat, -3.1621 long

To continue, walk on along the waterside past the shops and over a bridge above the renovated dry docks (now used as a site for all sorts of fairs and entertainments). You may wish to visit the Millennium Centre, with its auditoriums and frequent free concerts, or maybe pop into the Pierhead and see the free exhibitions of Cardiff Bay history or head into the Senedd Parliament to look down on the debating chamber or up to its magnificent roof. Sculptures galore dot the waterfront here, the thought-provoking boat/memorial face is just one.

Memorial to Dahl Bench
Memorial to Dahl Bench

Start point: 51.463 lat, -3.1621 long
End point: 51.4551 lat, -3.1624 long

Continue on the bayside path past statues and the Norwegian church (on your left) and over another swing bridge. Pass the Doctor Who Experience and turn right (with everyone else as this is now one of the most popular Cardiff strolls) onto the barrage itself. There are toilets next to the little skatepark, children's gym and basketball courts.

Walk on along the barrage, which separates the Bristol Channel and the bay. Sculptures and benches and parks dot the way, with beaches made up in the summer and views out to the islands. Road Dahl, a Cardiff boy, is celebrated with a giant crocodile and special bench.

Dahl Bench to End
Dahl Bench to End

Start point: 51.4551 lat, -3.1624 long
End point: 51.4523 lat, -3.1642 long

Towards the end of the barrage, you will walk over the huge locks with their bridges that open to allow boats in and out at high tide. You will emerge at the roundabout alongside Penarth Quay Marina that you passed on the outward leg. From this point you will be retracing your steps back to the car.

Take Paget Road uphill and, at the top, turn left onto Paget Close. Follow this main road winding back down to the junction with Albert Road. Turn left to reach the town clock roundabout where the walk began.

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network Penarth and Cardiff Barrage and Bay Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author melanzana and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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