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Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:

Barry, Glamorgan, on the shores of the Bristol Channel 8 miles South West of Cardiff, is a 19th century boom town, based on the coal-mining bonanza of the Rhondda and neighbouring valleys in the 1880s. Before 1884 the total population of the place was eighty-five. Barry Island was separated from the mainland and held the Chapel of St Baruch, a contemporary of St Cadoc of Llancarfan, who probably gave the place his name. A few walls of the church can be seen near the holiday camp. The island also contained a remarkable bellowing cave, which was regarded as one of the Wonders of Wales. The nearest churches were at Cadoxton and Merthyr Dyfan. Cadoxton is now near the eastern entrance to the docks. The old church has an ancient font, a rood-loft staircase behind the pulpit on the South wall, and traces of medieval painting. Merthyr Dyfan is also now inside the borough boundaries. The church is small and restored, with a tower holding three bells.

In 1844 the rural peace of Barry was shattered by the arrival of an army of workmen who set about building the largest dock until then built in Wales. The first dock was completed in 1889, and Barry's population leapt to 13,000. The building of the dock was a triumph for the redoubtable David Davies, the “top sawyer” and former railway magnate who had become a pioneer of the Rhondda coal-mines. Coal was in its heyday, and David Davies and his supporters found the delays and changes at Cardiff docks intolerable. After one of those epic battles with the Bute interests who controlled Cardiff, so characteristic of robust Victorian capitalism, Davies got his Bill through Parliament to make new docks at Barry. The island was joined to the mainland by a causeway, and dock basins were built to the East. By 1900 Barry was exporting 6,000,000 tons of coal a year. New entrance locks were built a remarkable engineering feat in itself, for Barry has a rise of tide of over 40 ft, one of the highest in the world. The gates allow ships to enter at any state of the tide. In 1898 a second dock was built, and later three graving docks were added. Behind the town new railway lines were constructed, with great viaducts that allowed the coal of the Rhondda and valleys further East to be siphoned off to the new docks. The impressive viaduct in Porthkerry Park to the West of Barry is part of this system. In 1911 Barry exported 11,000,000 tons of Welsh coal, an all-time record for any port. The statue of David Davies, poring ruggedly over his plans, stands before the dock offices.

There is a second Barry that has always been an expanding asset the holiday and pleasure resort. Barry Island has one of the largest fun fairs in the country, set along Whitemore Bay. Beyond the island and its popular attractions is Cold Knapp, with the largest swimming-pool in Wales. To the West runs the Pebble Beach, a remarkable geological formation consisting of an accumulation of pebbles, 1 mile long, that falls steeply to the water's edge. The “Golden Stairs” at the far end of the beach lead up to Porthkerry Park, a valley left in its natural state and making an open space of 225 acres through which runs the Porthkerry viaduct. Barry is expanding inland, and has become increasingly popular as a residential area for Cardiff.

Nearby cities: Cardiff

Nearby towns: Cowbridge, Ely, Penarth, Llandaff, Llantrisant, Llantwit Major

Nearby villages: Aberthaw, Bonvilston, Butetown, Cadoxton, Cardiff, Cardiff Bay, Cathays, Cathays Park, Cogan, Dinas Powis, East Aberthaw, Flemingston, Gileston, Grangetown, Lavernock, Leckwith, Llancarfan, Llandaff, Llandough, Llanharry, Maindy, Moulton, Moulton, Moulton, Moulton, Moulton, Pancross, Pen-y-Lan, Penmark, Peterston-super-Ely, Plas Newydd, Porthkerry, Radyr, Rhoose, Roath, Rumney, Saint Andrews Major, Saint Athan, Saint Fagans, Saint Lythans, Saint Nicholas, Sully, Wenvoe, West Aberthaw, Whitchurch, Ystradowen

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