Located at the entrance to Barry Docks to the east of Barry Island can be found this old breakwater, complete with a rusting railway track leading to the lighthouse at the end.
Built by David Davies from 1889 onwards, Barry Docks handled vast amounts of coal from the south Wales valleys, peaking in 1913, when over 11 million tonnes of coal and coke passed through the port.
The coal export trade has now long gone, leaving the area littered with industrial archaeology and abandoned workings like this derelict breakwater.
Curious items linger on too, like this strange building mounted on rail wheels, which can – in theory at least – traverse the rusty railway track.
The blue door and balcony of the wheeled shed. I’m guessing it’s used by fishermen or the adjacent Yacht Club.
Entrance channel to Barry Docks, with the Lifeboat slipway to the left.
Looking south east towards the Bristol Channel.
Here you can see the full length of the breakwater and the rusting single rail track.
On the western side of the breakwater can be seen a lot of demolished reinforced concrete girders.
Looking back to Barry Island (on the left).
More concrete waste.
Almost all of the track remains in situ.
The unmanned lighthouse at the end of the breakwater.
In this close up of the track, you can see the cast chair marked with GWR (Great Western Railway) which dates it to pre-1948.
The track is bullhead rail laid on wooden sleepers, and is in fairly poor condition.
Fisherman at the end of the breakwater.
The lighthouse is a circular iron tower, 11.6m high, made by Chance Brothers in 1890.
The far end of the track, close to the lighthouse.
Looking back to Barry Island.
Barry Yacht Club next to the Lifeboat station.
A last look at the strange mobile shed.
Looking south along the breakwater, you can see there’s a path to the left of the track.
This is possibly where the track ran to join up with the long abandoned Barry Pier station.
A view of the harbour from Barry Island.
To the west of the breakwater is Jackson’s Bay – this sign warns of falling rocks. Barry Island is a short 5-10 minute walk from here.
Old postcard view. Here’s a map of the area: