Deganwy Mixes The Modern with Victorian Restoration

The original Deganwy shelter - a black and white photo
The original shelter on Deganwy promenade by c/o Arthur James
A mix of modern and historical, Deganwy sits on the shores of the Conwy Estuary between Victorian Llandudno and medieval Conwy. An evolving town that’s making modern additions, it also celebrates its heritage – just recently they completed the restoration of their Victorian beach shelter to its original splendour. So what is the story behind this project, and what’s this town all about?

South facing, sun-magnet beaches, with a spa

Enjoying a fortunate position, Deganwy delivers stunning views across the water to the Isle of Anglesey and Conwy Castle. The town’s beach is a south-facing sun magnet that’s complemented by a contemporary marina and quayside development. There’s also a four-star spa hotel for those who fancy a sea view with added indulgences – us, please!

Golfers, pack your clubs

If you’re a golfer, you’ll want to pack your clubs, as there are two courses between Llandudno and Deganwy - Maesdu and North Wales Golf Clubs. Walkers also get the goods, with routes across the Vardre hillside, along the coast to the Great Orme, and of course along the Wales Coast Path.

Bird lovers, find black tailed godwits to lapwings

South of Deganwy on the banks of the River Conwy is an RSPB nature reserve with masses of wildlife from black-tailed godwits to lapwings, and superb views of the upper Conwy Valley.

Castle history to rival Shakespeare storytelling

The site of Castell Deganwy (Deganwy Castle) sits behind the town, and has a turbulent history dating to at least the 6th century when it was the seat of King Maelgwn Gwynedd. In the centuries since, a string of powers occupied, fortified and then demolished Castell Deganwy. Henry III rebuilt the castle for the last time between 1245 and 1250 before its final destruction in 1263. If you walk to the castle today, you’ll see the remains of Henry's fort.

Restoration of the Deganwy Victorian beach shelter

Strong waves crashing against the promenade shelter.

Deganwy promenade shelter taking damage during the storms of 2013/14 by c/o Arthur James
In the spirit of Henry III’s preservation efforts, a present day rebuild has recently been completed in Deganwy. When the town’s beach shelter was severely damaged during the winter storms of 2013/14, Conwy County Borough Council put a plan into action to raise funds and assemble a specialised team for its restoration.

One of the project’s main aims was to preserve the shelter's heritage. Built in Victorian/Edwardian times, it’s on Deganwy promenade, which is part of the Wales Coastal Path and National Cycle Network. Thousands of tourists, cyclists and residents pass the shelter each year. The shelter has also become an important part of the town’s local history with its links to the early days of the development of Deganwy as a tourist destination. 

Conwy Council applied for grant funding and handed over to the Deganwy and District Residents' Association who formed a Beach Shelter Restoration Project Team. They received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Conwy Town and County Councils, the Residents' Association and HAFOD, a local fundraising group. Restoration started in March 2017 and finished at the end of August 2017. 

Refurbished Deganwy Shelter with bunting and flowerpots.

Deganwy Shelter post refurbishment by the Deganwy Beach Shelter Restoration Project Team by c/o Arthur James
Three story-boards are planned for the promenade, so visitors to the beach can learn about the history of Deganwy and the shelter. In time, a QR Code will also provide a link to the 'History Points' website which will include heritage information.

Local councillor and project manager Arthur James thanked everybody involved, saying, “Their efforts have resulted in the return to public use of this iconic Victorian shelter on Deganwy promenade – long may our residents and visitors alike continue enjoying it.”

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