The Llanelli Coastal Park Walk provides some wonderful scenery on the grounds of the old Steelworks, and before that - the old Mott and Bailey of Old Castle Works which may very well go back to pre Roman times.. and in my case some memories of the are over the last thirty five years.
We start today by Old Castle Ponds, at the base of the Agen Bridge. Where the cast iron sign post tells us that we are on route 47 - the chain links at the base holding up the details "Swansea 17 miles" Tumble 17 miles"
Climbing the unofficial pathway by the signpost up onto the Agen Bridge crossing the busy relief road from Weslec Roundabout to Union Bridge. Known officially as the Pont Agen Bridge.I note the details from the Council deliberations:
1.1. The Leader of the Council has received a letter from the Clerk to Llanelli Town Council suggesting that the new bridge over the B4304 at Sandy Waterpark be named "Pont Agen" and that the Mayor of Agen be invited to undertake the official unveiling.
2. BACKGROUND TO THE REQUEST
2.1. Members, I believe are already aware, during a recent visit to Llanelli's twin town of Agen in France, the Agen Council magnanimously named a street in the commercial sector of the town "Rue Llanelli", to mark the tenth anniversary of the twinning link between the two towns.
2.2. The Llanelli Town Council's Twinning Committee have now discussed the desirability of reciprocating this gesture and resolved that a request be made to the County Council for the new cycle/pedestrian bridge over the B4304 at Sandy Water Park to be named "Pont Agen".
2.3. Members of the Town Council considered that it is particularly appropriate for a bridge to be named in this fashion in view of the symbolic image which the bridge represents of the link that has been forged between the two towns of Agen and Llanelli.
2.4. A further pertinent point that influenced Members of the Town Council in their decision was the fact that they have extended an invitation to the mayor of Agen and some of his colleagues to visit Llanelli during the Eisteddfod week. As the bridge is scheduled to be completed before the Eisteddfod, the Town Council consider that it would be extremely opportune for the Mayor of Agen to be invited to undertake the official unveiling.
2.5. Members will be aware that the Millennium Coastal Park Board is considering names for the facilities/locations across the park. This bridge is located just outside the park and forms part of the Council's Llanelli and Coastal Corridor Sustainable Access Strategy which is being funded by Transport Grant Package Funding from the National Assembly of Wales. Due to the proximity and linkage of the bridge to the Millennium Coastal Park I have consulted the Project Director, Mr G Phillips, over this issue. He has confirmed that he has no views on the name as long as it says "Pont D'Agen or something Welsh and French".
2.6. If the Town Council's request meets with Members approval, I will then proceed to discuss the practicalities with the Town Clerk.
3.1. That the new cycle/pedestrian bridge is named "Pont Agen" and that Committee agree to the Town Council's suggestion that the Mayor of Agen be invited to undertake the official unveiling.
But from my point of view - it is a safe route across a busy road to the Millennium Park and Sandy Water Park.
Once across the bridge, one of the many sculptures raises its head. The leek and the daffodil. On a dark winter morning it is difficult to distinguish the bright colours of the green and the yellow - but they are stark in the skyline...
As you walk around the water edge, a large mound appears ahead of you - with a strange structure on top . To the right are some standing stones, not old and ancient, I have walked here for many years without seeing any stones.. but all paths lead up to the pile on the pinnacle.
Looking down from the top - we can see the Pwll end of the lake.
The Sculpture itself appears to be a pile of ingots - cast in stone rather than steel.
The plaque reads:"Sandy Water Park..
Steel making commenced on this site in 1897 when the Llanelly Steel Company built their works on land reclaimed from the sea.
The Works underwent considerable expansion over the years and with the introduction of electric arc furnaces in 1978 became on of the most modern plants in Europe prior to closure in 1981
The site was acquired in 1984 and developed into a water park by the Llanelli borough council and the welsh development agency as part of the coastal regeneration scheme."
But there are excellent views over the water park from the top...
looking back towards the railway and the sea - views out towards the Gower are dramatic. But of course as they say in Llanelli "If you can see the Gower from here - it is going to rain .. If you can't see the Gower - then it is raining !!"
Walking down from the sculpture there are benches and tables for the walker - though these days it seems that cyclists are more likely to be whizzing past at break neck speeds and bright in their Hi Vis Jackets. This table and seating is in the shape of a leaf and small leaves as seats. Sadly, one has been snapped off and not repaired...
Down to the water levels. In summer there are often signs warning of algaen bloom - poisons in the water from the early days of steel working I think - though how no-one thought that digging a pond on the site of a steelworks could ever provide fresh water!! I used to Wind-surf across this water, before they built the houses to watch my embarrassment !!
Now - we have the home for many swans - and this time of year they give due warning to the passer by that they do want too close a proximity.
Of course - over the later years - the houses have been built and then we had the Sandpiper - a pub with food on the site .
and then in 2012 - the final straw - a hotel on the site - Welcome to Travelodge !!
And that takes us around the whole of the park - back to the Bridge - to Weslec roundabout which I hear is soon to be a skateboard rink - but that is for the future - this is 2013 - January ... So some final views of the walk ..