Wednesday, 8 January 2014

TOWYN AND ABERGELE



The last few weeks have seen some dreadful scenes on the British coast with the combination of high spring tides and stormy weather leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.  Faced with all this, the people of Towyn - or Tywyn in Welsh - must have been holding their breath and harbouring terrible feelings of deja vu, since this little resort on the North Wales coast has seen it all before.  On February 26 1990 the sea wall in Towyn was breached by massive waves, causing a large residential area to be inundated with seawater up to 6 feet in depth, invading houses, businesses and caravans.  Up to 6,000 people had to be evacuated, the largest such evacuation since World War II.  The coastal defences which proved unequal to the 1990 event have since been reinforced, and thankfully seem to have held up in the recent flooding episode, although neighbouring Kinmel Bay and Rhyl were sadly hit by flooding last week. 

Towyn is a small family-friendly seaside resort, while Abergele lies slightly inland, apart from the beach suburb of Pensarn, where there have been reported sightings of a ghost ship.  The main point of historical interest in Abergele is Gwrych Castle, which lies just to the west of the town and can be clearly seen from the A5 road.  Although it looks older, the castle was constructed between 1819 and 1825.  The castle was used to house Jewish refugees during World War II, then later it opened its doors to visitors, with attractions in the grounds which included a miniature railway and a small zoo.  There were also holiday apartments available for rent.  Sadly, this all ended in 1985 when the castle was closed to the public and went into a decline.  Now there are plans to turn it into a luxury 5-star hotel.  A stay there could prove to be an eventful one, because the castle is one of the most haunted properties in Wales.  The castle is full of tales of apparitions, cowering, terrified dogs, the sound of galloping horses' hooves, strange smells and cold spots. 

Map of the area. 

File:Gwrych Castle.jpg
Photo by Dot Potter, via Wikimedia Commons

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