Friday, 23 July 2010

Flash Floods

Flash Floods in Rhos On Sea in July 2009 (Photo Credit)

Almost exactly a year after the local area was hit by flash flooding, we received another torrential deluge yesterday, with several homes and businesses being inundated by the water. There's a Daily Post report about it here.

What I found interesting was this comment from Darren Jones at the North Wales Fire & Rescue Service:

"The incidents yesterday and today are prime examples of changes to the environment, heavy rainfall causes flash flooding, this is due to the large volume of surface water rendering the drains incapable of coping.

...which is very true, of course. However, there's a little more to it than that, I feel. The fact is that we are actively working against nature with the use of so much concrete and tarmac surfacing in our towns & villages - this prevents large volumes of rainwater from soaking away naturally into the ground and means they are instead channelled into antiquated drainage systems that cannot cope with the large flows. The trend of concreting over front gardens to form parking areas has also not helped.

Perhaps we need to take a step back and start looking at how we could work with nature to control the effects of flash flooding by using soakaways and attenuation tanks, instead of assuming (falsely, it would seem) that we can control it? I believe Planning Policy has already made strides in this direction when dealing with new developments but perhaps a wider strategy in the community is needed if we are to prevent the flash flood becoming a yearly occurrence?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Not Alicia Keys...again

Following on from the excellent 'North Wales' parody of the Alicia Keys/Jay Z track 'Empire State Of Mind', there comes another version - this one based on Newport in South Wales. Professionally done, with a nice little video:

Monday, 19 July 2010

A Hidden Gem

I noticed in the Daily Post a week or two back that a new Cafe-Bistro had opened in Llanddulas, next to the Thornley Caravan park on the beach. It's called Tides and I thought I would pop in to see what it was like, primarily because I had heard it had been set up by Bryn from the very successful Planters Cafe at Tal Goed Nurseries in Glan Conwy.

Well, it certainly didn't disappoint. It was obvious that a lot of money had been spent in fitting out and furnishing the premises to a very high standard. Not the largest of cafes inside (probably less than 30 covers) but it also had a large outside dining area. Tides boasts an extensive Menu and lots of Specials on blackboards as well. As you'd expect from Bryn, food and drink was both excellent and the service was both pleasant and efficient. Recommended.

How do I get there? You just turn off the A55 at Llanddulas and take the old main road (A547) heading for Abergele. Once you've passed through the main part of Llanddulas village, you go over a series of traffic calming humps. Take a left turn at the crossroads after these humps and follow the road down under the A55 to arrive outside the front door of Tides. Plenty of free parking across the road from the cafe.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Out & About...again

Another great day on Sunday, so no excuse for not venturing once more into the Conwy Valley for a walk.

We started out from the car park in the centre of Trefriw, then a very sharp pull up the steep minor road to Llanrhychwyn that tested our leg muscles to the full. Good excuse, therefore, to stop off to have look inside the ancient Church there, then we carried on over the hills heading for Geirionydd, stopping only at the highest point to admire the views over towards Mole Siabod and Snowdon.

Then turning down onto the road that runs along he side of Geirionydd but, just past the lake, turning off onto the footpath that runs down on the path of the old Tramway into the Crafnant Valley, so I could brave the famous plank across the stream and explore the old Klondyke lead mine and processing mill. After a look round and a few photos, it was time to head down the old mine road onto the minor Crafnant Road, which led back straight into Trefriw and a refreshing drink (not to mention a chance to rest weary legs) at Yr Hen Llong pub.

1km of steep road heading up to Llanrhychwyn

Llanrhychwyn Church, dates from 11th Century

Interior of Llanrhychwyn Church

Looking over Snowdonia, Moel Siabod to the right

Looking over Snowdonia, Snowdon at the back

Contaminated Land at one of the many Lead Mines in the area

Llyn Geirionydd

Klondyke Mine Processing Mill

Wonky Bridge in the Crafnant Valley

A well earned drink!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The Aquarium that never was...

When looking back in history, it's always interesting to see the ambitious plans for new buildings that never became reality due to problems of one sort or another.

Back in March 1877, plans were announced in the Building News for a Llandudno Gardens & Aquarium, to be built roughly where the Arcadia Theatre used to be (left hand section of what is now VenueCymru on the Promenade).

Architect's impression of Llandudno Gardens & Aquarium

Costing £25,000 and designed by Driver & Rew, of London, the building contained a Winter garden constructed of iron and glass on its upper floor, with a large Aquarium constructed of brick and slate in the basement below. At the centre of the building was a 60ft high Dome, that would certainly soon have become a Llandudno landmark. Surrounding the building was to be a small park, surrounded by railings. It was also planned that thirty or forty mansions 'of a suitable character' were to be built to either side of the Winter Gardens and the land had already been reserved.

Plan of Basement Aquarium

So why was it never built? History doesn't record the reason, but a seaside resort can only support so many attractions and projects of this nature. Could it be that the Llandudno Pier Company's plans for the Pier Pavilion (eventually built 1884-1886) scuppered this project?

It's also interesting to speculate as to what would have happened to it if it had been built all those years ago. Possibly a devastating fire in the 1960s or 70s would have finished it off? Maybe it would have limped on into the 1980s with the aquarium being rebranded a SeaLife Centre and the Winter Gardens themselves being used for roller skating or similar, then it would have been demolished in the 1990s after the local Council deemed the structure unsafe...

Saturday, 3 July 2010


Litten Tree, Station Road, Colwyn Bay (Photo Credit)

The closure of the Litten Tree bar in Colwyn Bay's Station Road may actually mark something of a revival in the town's retail fortunes.

Far from it being reopened as yet another cheap booze bar with a new name, the premises are actually earmarked for conversion back into retail premises, specifically The Original Factory Shop. Readers with long memories will recall it was once a Tomms store, then a Poundstretcher back in the 1980/90s before conversion into a bar.

Even further back, in Colwyn Bay's heyday, it was a high class store called Daniel Allen & Sons (the name is still visible in brick on the rear roofline of the building from Station Square). Allen & Sons was founded in 1869 but did not move into their new Station Road premises until 1883. They sold 'the finest furniture, china & carpets' and, amongst other things, were the sole North Wales agents for Liberty's of London. Allens stayed in business until 1971 when, somewhat curiously, the Directors of the company decided that they could not longer provide their customers with the standard of merchandise they were happy to sell and called it a day.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Out & About

Blog postings have been a little light lately, I've been about and about enjoying the fabulous weather. Had a lovely walk on Sunday, covering the twin lakes of Crafnant & Geirionydd in the Conwy Valley. You can park at the Forestry Commission car park at either lake and use the connecting paths through the woods to make a complete circuit. Think it's about 5 miles in length and mostly on fairly easy paths/forest roads, with the exception of one section which is a rougher path (although still perfectly passable to the average person). There's also a cafe on the shores of Llyn Crafnant, which comes as a welcome sight.

Walk details:

Couple of photos:

Llyn Geirionydd (Photo Credit)

Crimpiau, at the head of Llyn Crafnant (Photo Credit)

Abandoned Cottage at Llyn Crafnant (Photo Credit)

Lakeside Cafe at Llyn Crafnant (Photo Credit)

More information:

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