Day 86 Mile 86: Hunting the Hidden River. The city of Bangor lies within a narrow valley flanked by two high stone ridges on either side. Along the bottom of the valley and through the present city flows the Afon Adda (formerly known as Afon Tarannon), now largely culverted though prior to the 19th century it was an open river.
Today I’m going to try to follow it through as best I can from the railway station to its eventual outflow at the sea. I’m going to try to run (as fast as possible given looking for the evidence) along the original line of the river as much as I can, while not banging into walls, and although it is largely a game of dot to dot along manhole covers it brings up some interesting stuff and raises a fresh perspective.
Map of Bangor by John Wood 1834
courtesy of the National Library of Wales
The river is clearly visible as a line that boarders the western side of
the city, before meeting the sea almost top dead centre of the map.
Stating off just below the railway station the river originally wound through open fields, which latterly became the Bangor City football ground and subsequently ASDA before meeting the edge of the medieval town around the area of Sackville road by the back of the university science library which was once a tannery.
At the turning between Glanrafon and Sackville roads I could even hear the Adda under the manhole lid 🙂
Bangor is largely associated with the development of the early monastic church and its enclosure, which was established on the south bank of the river in the 6th century AD. Early maps show the cathedral located at the south end of a long enclosure. The enclosure, which is still preserved today by the present street pattern, may indicate the boundaries of the earliest monastic church of the 6th century. In addition recent excavations unearthed timbers dating from 12th century, which may well have been part of a bridge spanning the river.
Once beyond the limits of the medieval town, the river may have formed the boundary of the lands of the medieval Dominican friary (founded c. 1250). The Friary appears to have been close to Beach Road, under the existing bus depot. The coastal strip along Beach Road developed as a maritime and industrial centre, with numerous industries represented, including a slate mill, sail-makers, foundry and saw mill.
Finally the river meets the sea behind what is now the bus drivers club. It is a strange sensation finally seeing the outflow of a river I have been making so much effort to follow (and for that matter find out about). Rather like seeing a radio presenter in person, I didn’t know quite what I expected it to look like, but it feels oddly familiar in a completely novel way.
Thanks to everyone for all the support including the friends driving past who tooted 🙂
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 1969.8 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
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