Cardiff Bay barrage

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Cardiff Bay barrage

The 1.1km barrage, with its 800-metre landscaped embankment, was built at a cost of £220m from 1994 to 1999, after the Cardiff Bay Barrage Act was given its royal assent in 1993. The aim was to impound water from the rivers Ely and Taff, creating a freshwater lake covering an area of two square kilometres (200 hectares). The project was the catalyst for the £2bn regeneration of the old docklands area.

In response to concerns about the loss of mudflat feeding grounds for wading birds, compensatory wetland reserves were created close to the St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay and at Newport.

A barrage was proposed back in 1873 by shipbuilder John Batchelor, whose statue stands in The Hayes. He had promoted Penarth dock’s construction and wanted rival companies to merge to form a Harbour Trust. His proposed horseshoe-shaped “embankment” would have allowed new docks to be built between Cardiff and Penarth – increasing wharf space 15 times over.

Visitors can enjoy panoramic views and other leisure activities in the area. The Barrage also forms part of a 10km route around the Bay for cyclists and pedestrians. The Barrage is part of the Wales Coast Path and National Cycle Network Route 8.

Cardiff Bay is a popular area for sailing and other water-based activities and hosts a number of British and international events. Some activities are provided at Cardiff International White Water, in the Cardiff International Sports Village, visible across the water from the Barrage.

The constant level of the lower river Taff enabled the introduction of an aqua-bus service along the river between Cardiff Bay and a landing stage beside Bute Park, near Cardiff Castle.

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Website of Cardiff Harbour Authority

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