Porthkerry Park

Situated in a valley leading to a pebble beach, Porthkerry Park was bought by the Romilly family in 1412. It contained Cwm Cidi medieval village, which in 1622 had five houses and a further three nearby. However, over time, depopulation meant that the village shrunk in size. Cliff Wood Cottage, built in 1583 by Owen William, was the home of Ann Jenkin, notably convicted of witchcraft. It was rebuilt in 1781 and around this time, an oyster storage pit was also constructed, being cut into the rock shelves of the shore.
 
Over time, the Romilly family established a 'model' farm, building cottages for estate workers, as well as stables and a sawmill. The sawmill was constructed around 1835, the walls of which still exist. In the 1890s, the Porthkerry Viaduct was built for the Vale of Glamorgan Railway. It is a stone structure of thirteen 50 feet and three 45 feet arches, and was opened to traffic in 1900.
 
The Second World War saw the park used by British and American troops to prepare for D-Day, building earthworks and defences. Barry was a significant port and storage depot during the war, and leading up to D-Day, 15,000 tons of equipment and 4,000 troops were transported to Normandy from the docks. After the war, the meadow became used for rough grazing and new woodlands were created.
 
By the end of the twentieth century, Porthkerry Park became firmly established as an important site for nature and a popular local amenity. It became a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Local Nature Reserve. Today, Porthkerry Park is a popular recreation area for the town. Its 220 acres of woods and meadow have multiple nature trails and picnic areas. There is also a cafĂ© and a play area. In 2016, Porthkerry Country Park was awarded £63,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to plans to conserve the remains of the sawmill and to better educate visitors.

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