Colwyn Bay is a relatively recent town, developing rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th century. Until the mid-20th century it was an important holiday destination. Before the late 19th century the land was fields and woods, with a few farms and cottages, the majority being owned by the Pwllycrochan Estate.
The tythe map of 1847 showed few buildings in the parish of Llandrillo in Rhos, principally “Pyll y crochan” (Pwllycrochan) Rhyd Farm, Dinerth Farm, Aberhod, Nant y Glyn Farm and the township of Colwyn (Old Colwyn as we know it today). The area almost completely comprised open land, farmsteads, footpaths and water courses. However the subsequent development of Colwyn Bay was linked to the sale of the estate in 1865 and to the establishment of the Colwyn Bay and Pwllycrochan Estate Company in 1875.
Being aware of the benefits of easy rail access from the urban areas of North West England, and the possibilities of developing a new fashionable resort, the Company sold off the land as building plots. What could be built on the plots was controlled by the Estate, with the former estate parkland being earmarked for the finest villas. By 1901 the town’s population had grown to 8,689. Further developments during the 20th Century led to the population of Colwyn Bay rising to around 30,000 by the end of the 20th century . Inevitably this had led to the urbanisation of the area and pressure on open spaces for residential and commercial development. Over time various pieces of hitherto open land have been taken into the ownership and custody of the local authority for all to enjoy.
At the time of establishing the present project in 2017 the pressure on open spaces continues and for this reason the Colwyn Bay Heritage Group decided to research and document a number of the town’s main publically owned open spaces which remain as important legacies of the very rural environment which preceded the development of Colwyn Bay as we know it today. The following articles document some of the more prominent public open spaces left in Colwyn Bay including their location, history and heritage of those spaces along with their present use.
The Open Spaces Project is ongoing. New articles will become available as soon as they’re completed.