Following the large, five mile sweep of Swansea Bay, from Swansea Marina to Mumbles Pier, runs the Oystermouth and Mumbles Road, as well as a well-maintained cycle track and pedestrian promenade. Historically, this picturesque route along the bay has been well traveled, and at one time, as recently as the 1960s, there existed a tram-road operating on rails from as early as 1807, making it the world's first passenger railway.
The most popular stretch of beach during Victorian times is known locally as 'The Slip', an area close to Victoria Park and the site of the old Victorian 'Slip Bridge'. At one time the arches of the Slip Bridge were used as make-shift shops selling seaside consumables and Council-run deck chair rental. The bridge was constructed in 1915, giving safe access to Swansea's sands over the rail track of the time, and has been mostly neglected over the years. Finally, in 2004, the council were forced to take action over the severe disrepair of the bridge. The iron structure was removed from its stone supports on Sunday 28th March 2004, and slowly maneuvered to the nearby 'Rec' accompanied by police escort and a large crowd of spectators. Despite local petition, the cost of repairing and reinstating the bridge to its former glory was seen as excessive, instead the council moved the distinctive iron structure to become an integrated part of the nearby promenade.
"We will apply for planning permission to make it a bridge for cyclists, walkers and the land train. And a feature along the seafront that celebrates our history."
- Council Leader, Chris Holley (Feb 2005)
In 2011, seven years after the bridge was moved from its stone abutments the Swansea Slip Bridge Civic Society said:
"One of the biggest reasons to restore the bridge to the abutments is because it is one of only two structures left which were part of the old railway, the other being the Junction café. It was built in 1915 and should be preserved for history."
Join the Facebook group Save Swansea Slip Bridge.
Amazingly, the Bristol Channel has the second largest tidal range in the world. This is most noticeable at Swansea Bay where, at low tide, the sea retreats so far from the high tide mark, that it exposes black clumps of the ancient remnants of a primaeval forest that once stretched right across the Bristol Channel.