Welsh Slate copings offer enduring beauty ideal for a marine environment

This project at Beach Road in Felinheli, Wales, is essentially flood protection works, but while it was being carried out it was decided it offered an opportunity to improve the visual aspect of the road as well. The project is a £700,000 scheme jointly funded by Gwynedd County Council and the Welsh Government.

The works are intended to protect homes and businesses from flooding at high tides and to cope with rising sea levels. The project included the building of a new sea wall and improved drainage.  The wall is concrete, mainly faced with local Anglesey limestone, but sections of it have been designed so that the local population and visitors can sit on it and enjoy views out across the Menai Straits to Anglesey.

Welsh Slate was chosen as the ideal coping material for this section because it is smooth to sit on, could be carved and inscribed (as some of it has been) and will survive pretty much whatever the weather and sea throw at it, offering enduring beauty ideal for a marine environment.

OBR Construction of Talwrn, Anglesey, fitted 174 copings of 450mm x 700mm x 50mm in Penrhyn Heather with a honed finish and drip grooves from Welsh Slate, and two units 1200mm x 700mm x 50mm that have been engraved.

The words and images images relating to the history of Feliheli on the slate are by local poet Osian Owen. Gwynedd Council’s inhouse engineering consultancy team, YGC, combined the imagesand poetry to produce the designs on the copings digitally and they were cut into the slate by local company Llechi’r Ddraig Cyf of Chwilog.  The images were created under the guidance of artist Eleri Jones in conjunction with pupils from years five and six at Ysgol y Felinheli.

The project was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the successful bid to secure World Heritage Status for the Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales.