The newly-revealed old stone steps – apparently leading straight towards the edge of the 200 foot high Penarth Head cliff

A mysterious  set of set of old stone steps –  leading to the very edge of the 200 ft  precipice of Penarth Head –  has been now been revealed by the clearances carried out by abseiling tree surgeons last week.

The short flight of steps has evidently lain hidden by undergrowth for many years and clearly must have continued downwards towards a lower level of the original cliff before it was claimed by erosion.

The steps lie on the seaward side of the iron railings and are now visible from the parapet of the Penarth Head viewing platform.

An inaccessible plateau has now been revealed on the cliff face

Also visible for the first time – on this now-cleared area of cliff-top – is a small flat plateau below the level of the cliff edge to the south of the steps. This area too might once have been part of a larger area of ground and it’s possible a now-missing section of the steps was linked to it.

In Victorian times the ground landlord of the Penarth Head area was  Lord Windsor who in 1897 offered to give an area of the headland to the town as a public open space.

Penarth Head as it looked in the 1920s

However in June 1900 the wishes of the War Office superseded all else and it acquired the plot which had been originally offered by Lord Windsor because it wanted to construct two massive gun emplacements on the headland (Penarth Head Fort). At the same time the War Office took into its possession a sector of foreshore on the beach below where it erected searchlights .

Lord Windsor then offered an adjacent plot of land on the highest point of the headland to the town – this time comprising the area then known as “Head View” and now known as “Penarth Head Park”.

In September 1902 the Penarth Urban District Council’s Parks Committee recommended that the council should buy the adjacent signal station house for £50 to add to the land given by Lord Windsor. The deal was sealed on September 5th 1902 and by the following month the Penarth Council Parks Committee had agreed the layout for the  new Penarth Head Park .

A history of Penarth Head Park can be found on http://tinyurl.com/y9cy7p54

About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
This entry was posted in Penarth Daily News. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Frank Evans says:

    These steps are marked on the council’s definitive maps. I wondered what they were. Perhaps Lord Burnett leader of the council in the 1920s decided to have Escher steps going down to the beach until the workman realised there was nothing to build them on.

  2. daft o"dull says:

    Probably the first time a politician through it would be a good idea to build a viewing platform there. 🙂

  3. Mark Foster says:

    So it used to be a gun emplacement owned by the Ministry of Defence and now its been transmogrified into a civilian viewing platform. Come off it. You people are so disingenous, you’d believe anything the government or BBC told you. Donald Trump and your Royal Family really must get rid of the Tory and Labour parties for you.

    • Doc Salvage says:

      How lucky we are that you are able to ignore all the pesky facts and do your own research on the internet. How would we get to know all these ‘secret’ plots and schemes without your ability to filter out all the knowledge that other people have and work out alternative facts?
      The viewing platform on Penarth Head is located at least fifty yards south of the former gun emplacements. Of course, the secret tunnel connecting Penarth and Glastonbury runs under the viewing platform to emerge in what is now a first floor wardrobe in a house in Uppercliff. But don’t tell anyone.

  4. AK says:

    They should be extended soon, to give easy access to the viewing platform when it heads over the cliff.

    A zig zag ramp will also be required.

    And lights.

    All within budget and no planning application required.

    By the way, does anyone know the purpose of the concrete bases currently being laid at the edge of Plassey Square ? Three or four more viewing platforms maybe ?

    • cogan nomen says:

      Could it be the base for a mega zips-wire to Cardiff bay ?

    • Mark Foster says:

      There are six of them and they have a sign on one saying ‘Danger Deep Excavation’. They have a totally commanding view of Cardiff Bay including to the North and South. Your guess is as good as mine. I think we deserve an explanation from the Council.

    • Daft o dull says:

      It is for the statues to Liz and Gwyn….

    • Matt says:

      They’re putting benches on them. Seems a bit excessive using all that concrete. There seems to be a real aversion to green space for some on the council. Hope they plant a few trees around the square to make up for it.

  5. whatsoccurin says:

    just as an aside, there is something similar opposite the crazy Golf Course with
    warnings not to try to get to the beach that way.

    • Betty Swallocks says:

      Where is the “crazy Golf Course”? Is it anywhere near the miniature golf course alongside Cliff Walk? I’ve lived in Penarth for over fifty years, and this is new to me. Is it true we’ll be having pedalos around the fishpond in Alexandra Park?

    • snoggerdog says:

      the sign is to try & stop a quick way off the beach there is a dangerous? muddy path up to the clifftop which fishermen use if youre not very careful you can get to the much quicker than you anticipated! in other news they are also putting four benches on the zig zag. i realise that should read ON to the beach. the word bottom is also missing,DOH!

  6. Peter Church says:

    Are they mad, cutting back all the undergrowth. The only thing that’s holding the top edge of the cliff up!
    Prepare for a landslip and cliff collapse.

  7. Mark Foster says:

    There are also dozens of huge concrete block fortifications being mounted on the sea wall around the Captain’s Table at Sully Island. Each block is marked as 1.5 tons. No doubt expecting some high tides.

  8. Andrew Worsley says:

    I totally agree with Peter Church the roots of plants on the cliff face and on top of the cliff bind the soil together , cutting away those plants means the roots will wither and die, hey presto no longer be their to bind the soil etc making a rock fall imminent , not just likely. If you have ever seen what remains of the Castle in Dinas Powys years ago this site was cleaned up and the bushes etc cut back , The only part they did not attempt to tackle was the roots of the bushes and plants now growing on and within the brickwork , it is in effect holding up the Castle walls in most instances and to remove would lead to collapse . Removing the bushes and trees in the vicinity of the viewing platform is such a silly idea bearing in mind the present danger and one wonders what they are/were thinking of ??.

  9. snoggerdog says:

    if you were to stand on the beach,you would be able to see whats left of the concrete steps up to the top where the scouts hut was.dib,dib,dib.

  10. Ivor Bagman says:

    I remember as a child, in the early 50’s
    going to a lower level on the seaward side
    of Penarth Head, where there was a lawn
    and park bench.

    • Danny Oakentrode says:

      I remember climbing down to that lower level and being strongly tempted to clamber on the cliff face to the Kymin grounds some distance below. It’s likely that I’m only here to tell the tale because my better instincts led me to turn back. A case of Head over heart, perhaps?

  11. Peter Church says:

    This is a photo of the section just below the new viewing platform.
    As you can see it’s made of loosely packed boulder clay and horizontal rock strata.
    If it does look stable, then it probably isn’t stable.

    The photo is courtesy of the ukfossil.co.uk !

    • snoggerdog says:

      i go round there twice a week,with all respect that photo is further up(pier end) if you look closely there are railings facing down in that greenery,with nothing much holding them,being as i have a vivid imagination,i think of the church(no pun intended) scene in the film “the omen!

      • Peter Church says:

        Yes, you quiet correct. I walked up there this afternoon and now with the trees cut back you can see down into the gully beyond the exposed steps.
        I thought the cracks in the brickwork seems wider that last time.
        Cue more ‘Omen’ soundtrack

  12. Grey local says:

    Many years ago there was a walkway in this area from the beach to the cliff top. There was also a type of lift . I remember as a child my mother showing me the remains of this in the fifties. All that was left was just a handrail and you could make out the indents of some steps which the more hardy used to take
    My gran used to take it as she couldnt do the walk up the hill.

  13. The steps originally led to the Coastal Artillery Searchlight battery

Comments are closed.