Urban exploring: Barry Island Pleasure Park

Seems like there’s always something in the news, bubbling under, about Barry Island’s Pleasure Park.

Barry Island Pleasure Park

Back in January, “Fairground veteran Henry Danter has announced his “ambition, dream and vision” for his £20m, five-year masterplan to bring the town’s pleasure park back to its glory days.”

I read that story and bookmarked it as something to come back to later. It’s a nice read, and I hope Barry Island can relive its glory day: Could Barry Island Pleasure Park’s rides be up and running by April? That’s the aim

I’ve got fond memories of this place. Well, not memories so much as hilarious photographs of myself as a ruddy faced toddler, covered in ice cream, making sandcastles or going on the log flume. Etc.

It’s pretty far from what it looks like these days. Last year I found these amazing photos on 28 Days Later, posted by user Zudge.

I asked Zudge (who currently lives in Cardiff) some questions about his experience of going along to photograph the abandoned fairground, and his love of urban exploring:

“I’ve been a fair few times when the park was open. I stopped going when they closed down their more “permanent” rides such as the ghost train and log flume.

“I was out with a friend and I’d brought my camera gear with me because I was hoping to go to the beach and get some scenic shots. Upon walking past the park on the way back to their house, we noticed a way we could get in. After some looking around the outside, we decided to head in and look around a bit. We decided to explore it because we knew it wouldn’t be there much longer. We figured we might not get another chance, so we should get in and have a look before it’s completely gone.

“I’ve done a fair few sites over the past couple of years. I’ve done sites such as The Gaiety on City Road in Cardiff, Cwm Coke Works in Beddau, Cardiff Dairy on Newport Road and St Athans Boy’s Village. I did have a few reports up on here but they must’ve been deleted for whatever reason. Ideally, I’d like to go to Talgarth or Denbigh Asylum. I’ve been in love with those sites ever since I first saw reports on them. There’s also a shopping centre in Reading I’d like to go and have a look at, but that’s a bit of a distance to travel. Plus I think that location is still being used for special events.”

This is what Zudge says about the Haunted Mine Ghost Train:

“This was my favourite bit of the explore. I’ve always loved ghost trains, and this one has definitely got a history behind it. Originally it was a boxcar racer themed dark ride, but throughout the years it started to look a bit run down. The owners of the park asked John Wardley to come and help redevelop it. John Wardley is known for having major roles in world famous rides such as Nemesis, Air and Oblivion at Alton Towers, Colossus, The Swarm and SAW – The Ride at Thorpe Park as well as various other attractions world wide. When John Wardley helped redevelop the box car racer ride, it became Dr Frankenstein’s Scream Machine and featured a very different layout to what it was originally and what it is now. The ride was later redeveloped again into The Haunted Mine, it featured a much smaller layout than the original ride yet still had some of the same effects and props such as the falling boxes and the Frankenstein’s Monster from the facade. Unfortunately, the ride is in a rather sorry state with the facade completely missing and half of the props inside either broken, vandalised or missing.”

Those desperate to cling on to memories of its glory days can also buy Barry Island memorabilia, as loads of old theme park props are being put up for sale (bagsy Mr Blobby)

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10 responses to “Urban exploring: Barry Island Pleasure Park

  1. Oh how sad! I met up on my first ever date here many years ago and he won me a truly hideous plate that I thought was great at the time! If I lived closer would love to buy a couple of the props up for sale

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  2. Hi. I these images are fantastic and a real part of local history. I would love to make some hard copies. Analogue platinum prints of them if possible so future generations have the opportunity to view them! Could somebody put me in touch with Zudge? Cheers. Gareth

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    • Hi! Best way to contact Zudge is to sign up to the 28dayslater forum and send a PM on there. Good luck – I agree, these images are amazing!

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