The Cutting at West Cross

by Carol Powell

Ah! Happy Days!

A Lost View, 10 January 2015

A Wistful Memory

by Carol Powell (née Symmons)

History is all about change as I have often said, but in 2015, a minor and possibly unnoticed change by most of us, but a significant one to me, began with the demolition of the trees on the seaward side of 'the Cutting' at West Cross in order to erect a seawall to protect the coastpath, as time and tide had eroded the adjacent shoreline.

Much of my fondly-remembered childhood was spent on that section of the beach. Summer days were passed swimming both morning and evening, if the tide was right and the weather always seemed to be right in those days!

L-R: Pat Williams, Carol and Sandy Symmons

Our costumes were made of a crinkly material, which sagged when full of water! On the evenings when the tide was out, we would play games of cricket on the beach, with a pile of stones or some sticks or even the garden spade as a wicket.

The Mumbles Train travelling though the cutting, 1950s

Mrs. Coates's Cottage, which once overlooked the cutting, 1957

The same pole is in both photos, showing how close the track was to the then derelict cottage. The poles carried the power supply overhead line for the electric cars.

During the day, we would make ‘sand’ houses with shaped sandy beds and kitchens, into which we would ‘invite our neighbours’. For garden ponds, there were the beach streams to ‘dam’ and make overflows. Our household ornaments were feathers, shells, stones, seaweed and pieces of wood

Sometimes, we would climb the trees in the ‘cutting’ at West Cross, to wave to the often-startled upstairs passengers on the Mumbles train, as it passed close by us.

But on other occasions, it was peaceful and private, just to sit on a branch of one of those trees hidden by leaves, absorbed in my School Friend weekly magazine or an Enid Blyton Famous Five book. I could day-dream, look out across the bay and imagine that our lighthouse island was ‘Kirren Island’ and that I was able to row out to it in my very own boat, just as ‘George’ did in the stories.

A photo from my album, c1959

I remember some Saturday mornings when my Father would take us down to The Mumbles. We would often walk along the beach or the side of the railway track in the Cutting and would paraphrase the song,‘ The Happy Wanderer.’ singing as we went:

We love to go a-wandering along the railway track

And as we go, we love to sing, our knapsacks on our backs.

Ah! Happy Days!

Memories, March 2008

The Land Train passing through the cutting making its way to West Cross Station, 2010

The Promenade, February 2014

Tree felling in progress, 8 January 2015

As we walked along the beach, we took these photos, but did not realise that the men at work were intending to cut all the trees down, as from time to time, they had been trimmed.

Tree felling in progress, 8 January 2015

We still believe that the new sea wall could have been constructed in front of these trees, without cutting them down. As almost all construction work took place from the seaward side and would not have affected the trees.

Two trees are left, after over twenty trees and saplings are cut down, 10 January 2015

Two trees are left, after over twenty trees and saplings are cut down, 10 January 2015

This view is now lost

Trees down, February 2015

Just the roots remain,15 February 2015

Now, there are no trees left at this site.

In May 2015, work begun to build a seawall at this site,

following the big storm of January 2014.

The new seawall

The construction of the Seawall is underway, 6 June 2015

Nearly completed, 8 August, 2015


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