Cardiff Bay History


Your boat trip will take you out onto Cardiff Bay, where it’s hard to imagine these waters were once thriving with commercial ships during the Industrial Revolution laden with coal from the South Wales pits destined for the four corners of the World. During this time, many immigrants decided to make a new life for themselves in and around Cardiff bay. The docklands soon developed into a thriving multicultural community and famously nicknamed ‘Tiger Bay’.

Bay cooperation was formed with the aim to regenerate and transform Cardiff Bay after the demise of this once busy coal port by the building of the tidal barrage, which created a 500-acre fresh water lake that is fed by both the River Taff and Ely. Now internationally known as one of the finest and most successful waterside regenerations in Europe.

The regeneration is still very much on going, with the 7 hundred million pound international sports village. Also situated in and around the bay is the new Welsh Assembly building and the World-renowned Millennium Centre, which sits alongside the Mermaid Quay development, with its cosmopolitan bars, restaurants and  5 star St.David's hotel, all nestled alongside the historic bay buildings such as the Norwegian Church and the old Pierhead building



Cardiff Bay wildlife


Also on your way out onto the bay you will pass the bays wetland wildlife reserve located just past the St David’s hotel, it covers an area of approximately 19-acre. The area was officially opened as a wildlife reserve on 2002, this area had previously been a salt marsh, but after the Barrage created 200 hectares of freshwater lake, the reserve was developed.

The bay rivers and logons plays host to over 100 spaces of bird , wading birds and ducks including Herons, Coots, Grebes, Teal, Snipe, Swans, Mallards, Tufted Duck, Coots and Kingfishers. During the summer months, the Bay also attracts hundreds of Swifts, Swallows and Martins, which feed on the many insects, which emerge from the water. Looking out over the Bay from the Barrage you will see Cormorants diving for fish and Rock Pipits, Wheatears, Wagtails and Turnstones picking their way along the shoreline. 

The Environment Agency has carried out several coarse fish surveys in the Bay on behalf of Cardiff Harbour Authority. The main species recorded to date are - Chub, Roach, Mullet, Minnow, Stickleback, Eel, Grayling, Gudgeon, Barbel, Rudd, Dace, Stone loach, Carp, Bream, Bullhead, Salmon and Trout also travel up through the barrage fish pass from the sea on their migratory swim up the Rivers Taff and Ely.