Waders are birds found along shorelines and mudflats that wade in order to forage for food in the mud or sand. They are called shorebirds in North America, where the term "wader" is used to refer to long-legged wading birds such as storks and herons. Waders are members of the order Charadriiformes, which includes gulls and their allies. There are about 210 species of wader, most of which live in coastal environments. Many species of Arctic and temperate regions are migratory, but tropical birds are resident, or move only in response to rainfall patterns; some of the Arctic species, such as the little stint, are amongst the longest distance migrants, spending the non-breeding season in the southern hemisphere. Many of the smaller species found in coastal habitats but not the calidrids, are named as "sandpipers", but this term does not have a strict meaning, since the upland sandpiper is a grassland species; the smallest member of this group is the least sandpiper, small adults of which can weigh as little as 15.5 grams and measure just over 13 cm.
The largest species is believed to be the Far Eastern curlew, at about 63 cm and 860 grams, although the beach thick-knee is the heaviest at about 1 kg. In the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy and many other groups are subsumed into a enlarged Ciconiiformes order. However, the classification of the Charadriiformes is one of the weakest points of the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy, as DNA–DNA hybridization has turned out to be incapable of properly resolving the interrelationships of the group; the waders were united in a single suborder Charadrii, but this has turned out to be a "wastebasket taxon", uniting no less than four charadriiform lineages in a paraphyletic assemblage. However, it indicated that the plains wanderer belonged into one of them. Following recent studies, the waders may be more subdivided as follows: Suborder Scolopaci Family Scolopacidae: snipe, sandpipers and allies Suborder Thinocori Family Rostratulidae: painted snipe Family Jacanidae: jacanas Family Thinocoridae: seedsnipe Family Pedionomidae: plains wanderer Suborder Chionidi Family Burhinidae: thick-knees Family Chionididae: sheathbills Family Pluvianellidae: Magellanic plover Suborder Charadrii Family Ibidorhynchidae: ibisbill Family Recurvirostridae: avocets and stilts Family Haematopodidae: oystercatchers Family Charadriidae: plovers and lapwingsIn keeping more in line with the traditional grouping, the Thinocori could be included in the Scolopaci, the Chionidi in the Charadrii.
However, the increasing knowledge about the early evolutionary history of modern birds suggests that the assumption of Paton et al. and Thomas et al. of 4 distinct "wader" lineages being present around the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary is correct. Shorebirds is a blanket term used to refer to multiple species of birds that live in wet, coastal environments; because most these species spend much of their time near bodies of water, many have long legs suitable for wading. Some species prefer locations with rocks or mud. Many shorebirds display migratory patterns and migrate before breeding season; these behaviors explain the long wing lengths observed in species, can account for the efficient metabolisms that give the birds energy during long migrations. The majority of species eat. Different lengths of bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat on the coast, without direct competition for food. Many waders have sensitive nerve endings at the end of their bills which enable them to detect prey items hidden in mud or soft soil.
Some larger species those adapted to drier habitats will take larger prey including insects and small reptiles. Shorebirds, like many other animals, exhibit phenotypic differences between males and females known as sexual dimorphism. In shorebirds, various sexual dimorphisms are seen, but not limited to, size and agility. In polygynous species, where one male individual mates with multiple female partners over his lifetime, dimorphisms tend to be more diverse. In monogamous species, where male individuals mate with a single female partner, males do not have distinctive dimorphic characteristics such as colored feathers, but they still tend to be larger in size compared to females; the suborder of Charadrii displays the widest range of sexual dimorphisms seen in the Charadriiformes order. However, cases of sexual monomorphism, where there are no distinguishing physical features besides external genitalia, are seen in this order. One of the biggest factors that leads to the development of sexual dimorphism in shorebirds is sexual selection.
Males with ideal characteristics favored by females are more to reproduce and pass on their genetic information to their offspring better than the males who lack such characteristics. Mentioned earlier, male shorebirds are larger in size compared to their female counterparts. Competition between males tends to lead to sexual selection toward larger males and as a result, an increase in dimorphism. Bigger males tend to have greater access to female mates because their larger size aids them in defeating other competitors. If the species exhibits gender role reversal males will select female mates based on traits that are the most appealing. In the Jacana species, fe
The River Parrett flows through the counties of Dorset and Somerset in South West England, from its source in the Thorney Mills springs in the hills around Chedington in Dorset. Flowing northwest through Somerset and the Somerset Levels to its mouth at Burnham-on-Sea, into the Bridgwater Bay nature reserve on the Bristol Channel, the Parrett and its tributaries drain an area of 660 square miles – about 50 per cent of Somerset's land area, with a population of 300,000; the Parrett's main tributaries include the Rivers Tone and Yeo, the River Cary via the King's Sedgemoor Drain. The 37-mile long river is tidal for 19 miles up to Oath; the fall of the river between Langport and Bridgwater is only 1 foot per mile, so it is prone to frequent flooding in winter and during high tides. Many approaches have been tried since at least the medieval period to reduce the incidence and effect of floods and to drain the surrounding fields. In Anglo-Saxon times the river formed a boundary between Dumnonia, it served the Port of Bridgwater, enabled cargoes to be transported inland.
The arrival of the railways led to a decline in commercial shipping, the only working docks are at Dunball. Man's influence on the river has left a legacy of industrial artefacts; the Parrett along with its connected waterways and network of drains supports an ecosystem that includes several rare species of flora and fauna. The River Parrett Trail has been established along the banks of the river; the River Parrett is 37 miles long, flowing south to north from Dorset through Somerset. Its source is in the Thorney Mills springs in the hills around Chedington, 2.5 miles from that of the River Axe, in nearby Beaminster, which runs in the opposite direction to the English Channel at Axmouth in Devon. The two rivers give their names to Axe Parish Council. From its source, the Parrett runs north through South Perrott and under the Salisbury to Exeter railway line before passing to the west of North Perrott and Haselbury Plucknett, it runs through fields between Merriott to the west and West Chinnock and Chiselborough to the east.
Passing under the A303 road to the east of South Petherton, the river flows between East Lambrook and Bower Hinton west of Martock and towards Kingsbury Episcopi, through Thorney and Muchelney, passing the remains of Muchelney Abbey before entering Langport, about 10 miles north of Chiselborough. Below Thorney Bridge; the Parrett flows northwest for another 10 miles to Bridgwater through the Somerset Levels past Aller, close to the Aller and Beer Woods and Aller Hill biological Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The sluice gate at the deserted medieval village of Oath marks the river's tidal limit; the river crosses Southlake Moor. The next major landmark along the river's course is Burrow Mump, an ancient earthwork owned by the National Trust; the river arrives in Burrowbridge, where the old pumping station building was once a museum. Flowing north, it passes Langmead and Weston Level SSSI, on past the land-drainage pumping station at Westonzoyland. Further downstream the river passes the village of Huntworth before flowing under the M5 motorway at Dunwear.
As it enters Bridgwater it passes under Somerset and Hamp Bridges, past Bridgwater Castle, which had a tidal moat up to 65 feet wide in places, fed by water from the river. From Bridgwater to the sea is 6 miles; the King's Sedgemoor Drain empties into the River Parrett next to the wharf at Dunball. The clyce has been moved about 0.3 miles downstream from its original position and now obstructs the entrance to the small harbour next to the wharf. The course of the river below Bridgwater is now somewhat straighter than in former times; the village of Combwich lies adjacent to a channel in the river known as "Combwich Reach". Cartographic evidence indicates that in the early 18th century the peninsula was longer than at present. A "neck" started to form in the peninsula, by 1802 the tip had broken off to form Stert Island. Fenning Island broke away but has rejoined the peninsula. Much of the peninsula's northern end eroded away or now exists as "islands" visible at low tide within an intertidal area of mud known as the Stert Flats.
The mouth at Burnham-on-Sea is a nature reserve where the river flows into Bridgwater Bay on the Bristol Channel. In addition to the rivers Parrett and Washford, several of the man-made drainage ditches, including the River Huntspill from the Somerset Levels, the Cannington Brook from the "Pawlett Hams" discharge into the bay; the Parrett has only one gauging station, at Chiselborough close to the source. It measures flow from the first 29 square miles of the drainage basin, or about 4.3 per cent of the total. The mean flow measured by the Environment Agency at Chiselborough was 42 cubic feet per second, with a peak of 6,100 cubic feet per second on 30 May 1979 and a minimum of 2.5 cubic feet per second over a seven-day period in August 1976. Tributaries of the Parrett with gauging stations include the Yeo, Isle and Tone; the lower Parrett has a fall of only 1 foot per mile between Bridgwater. To the northeast of the River Parrett's mouth, the Bristol Channel becomes the Severn Estuary, which has a tidal range of 14 metres.
The rate and direction of flow of the Parrett is therefore dependent on the state of the tide on the River Severn. In co
Hartland Point is a 325 ft high rocky outcrop of land on the north-western tip of the Devon coast in England. It is three miles north-west of the village of Hartland; the point marks the western limit of the Bristol Channel with the Atlantic Ocean continuing to the west. This location was known to the Romans as the "promontory of Hercules". Trinity House, the lighthouse authority for England and Wales, has a lighthouse on the tip of the peninsula; the Hartland Point Lighthouse was built in 1874 under the direction of Sir James Douglass. The Grade II-listed tower is 18 metres tall with the lamp being 37 metres above mean sea level; the light could be seen up to 25 miles away from the coast. It was blessed by Frederick Temple, Bishop of Exeter, who became Archbishop of Canterbury; the tower was automated in 1984 and is now controlled from Trinity House Operations Centre at Harwich in Essex. Prior to automation, the lighthouse was built with accommodation for four keepers and their families; the keepers' dwellings have since been demolished to make room for a helipad to be constructed.
This was necessary due to the precarious nature of the access road, liable to frequent rock falls and landslips. Vehicular access is now difficult and the gates tend to remain locked; the large concrete structures to the south of the lighthouse provided the keepers with fresh water. In its 2010 Aids to Navigation Review, Trinity House proposed to discontinue the Hartland Point Lighthouse Station on the grounds that Global Positioning Systems are superseding lighthouses as the most important navigation aids. HM Coastguard maintains a small station on the top of the point near the lighthouse; this is now unmanned. The South West Coast Path was an aid to the Coastguard who needed to be able to travel from station to station on foot while being able to keep an eye on the sea to spot for smugglers; the path stays close to the edge of the cliffs on its journey through Hartland Point and it is an ideal way to explore the point, its landmarks and the scenery. The UK's Ministry of Defence had a radar l installed on the point and controlled from nearby RAF Hartland Point.
The current radar is operated by the UK Civil Aviation Agency for air traffic control. This is used for air traffic control of both civilian aircraft; the unusual white-dome-topped structure can be seen from distances of up to 10 miles from the point. On 31 December 1982 the Panama-registered, Dutch-owned MS Johanna was driven aground on rocks less than 400 m from the lighthouse; the cargo ship was carrying wheat from the Netherlands up the Bristol Channel towards Cardiff. Four of the crew were rescued by a helicopter from RAF Chivenor. Three officers were taken off in the day by the RNLI lifeboat from Clovelly; the decaying remains of the hull can still be seen
Bay of Fundy
The Bay of Fundy is a bay between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with a small portion touching the US state of Maine. It has an high tidal range. Portions of the Bay of Fundy, Shepody Bay and Minas Basin, form one of six Canadian sites in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, are classified as a Hemispheric site, it is administered by the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Canadian Wildlife Service, is managed in conjunction with Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Some sources believe the name "Fundy" is a corruption of the French word Fendu, meaning "split", while others believe it comes from the Portuguese funda, meaning "deep"; the bay was named Baie Française by Samuel de Champlain during a 1604 expedition to St. Croix Island; the Bay of Fundy has a high tidal range. Oceanographers attribute it to tidal resonance resulting from a coincidence of timing: the time it takes a large wave to go from the mouth of the bay to the inner shore and back is the same as the time from one high tide to the next.
During the 12.4-hour tidal period, 115 billion tonnes of water flow out of the bay. According to the Canadian Hydrographic Service, there is a 16.8-metre tidal range in Leaf Basin for Ungava Bay and 17 metres at Burntcoat Head for the Bay of Fundy. The range at Leaf Basin is higher on average than at Minas Basin; the highest water level recorded in the Bay of Fundy system occurred at the head of the Minas Basin on the night of October 4–5, 1869 during a tropical cyclone named the "Saxby Gale". The water level of 21.6 metres resulted from the combination of high winds, abnormally low atmospheric pressure, a spring tide. The tides in the Bay of Fundy are semidiurnal, which means that they have two highs and two lows each day; the height that the water rises and falls to each day during these tides are equal. There are six hours and thirteen minutes between each high and low tide. Alternative forms of energy are being explored in depth in a number of unique areas. Tidal energy harnesses the movement of ocean water to generate electricity through a number of mechanisms.
A process of gathering tidal energy called "In-stream turbine technology" is being tested in the Minas Passage, Nova Scotia. This project is being spearheaded by the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy or FORCE. In-stream tidal turbine technology is a simple design. An elevated turbine is submerged under water in a location that enables its movement with tidal cycles; as the blades of the turbine move, they create energy. From here the power travels to a cable attached to the seafloor and back to an offsite facility, where it can be added to the power grid. While this technology has shown to be successful in its early stages of testing, FORCE has not begun the process for energy collection. However, the installation of the undersea cable in December 2013 indicates that the project is moving along swiftly. A megawatt-scale turbine was installed at Cape Sharp near Partridge Island in November 2016, its owner, Open Hydro, went into insolvency in August 2018. The Bay of Fundy lies in a rift valley called the Fundy Basin.
These flood basalts poured out over the landscape. Sections of the flood basalts have been eroded away, but still form a basaltic mountain range known as North Mountain; as a result, much of the basin floor is made of tholeiitic basalts giving its brown colour. The rift valley failed as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge continued to separate North America and Africa; the upper part of the bay splits into Chignecto Bay in the northeast and the Minas Basin in the east. Chignecto Bay is further subdivided into Cumberland Basin and Shepody Bay and the extreme eastern portion of Minas Basin is called Cobequid Bay; some of these upper reaches exhibit exposed red bay muds. Cape Chignecto defines Chignecto Bay whereas Cape Split defines the Minas Channel, leading to the Minas Basin; the Minas Channel connects the Minas Basin with the main body of the bay. The channel is 5.6 kilometres across and 106.7 metres deep. The tides that flow through the channel are powerful, they are as powerful as 25 million horses. Facing Cape Split at the entrance to the Minas Channel are the basalt cliffs of Cape d'Or.
The lower part of the bay is home to four important sub-basins: Passamaquoddy Bay and Back Bay on the New Brunswick shore, Cobscook Bay on the Maine shore, the Annapolis Basin on the Nova Scotia shore. The bay is home to several islands, the largest of, Grand Manan at the boundary with the Gulf of Maine. Other important islands on the north side of the bay include Campobello Island, Moose Island, Deer Island in the Passamaquoddy Bay area. Brier Island and Long Island can be found on the south side of the bay while Isle Haute is in the upper bay off Cape Chignecto. Smaller islands and islets exist in Passamaquoddy Bay, Back Bay, Annapolis Basin; the Five Islands, in the Minas Basin, are scenic. The Bay of Fundy is home to another interesting geologic feature, the Hopewell Rocks formation; this formation is where the "famous flower-pot rocks" are l
South West England
South West England is one of nine official regions of England. It is the largest in area, covering 9,200 square miles, consists of the counties of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Cornwall, as well as the Isles of Scilly. Five million people live in South West England; the region includes much of the ancient kingdom of Wessex. The largest city is Bristol. Other major urban centres include Plymouth, Gloucester, Exeter, Bath and the South East Dorset conurbation which includes Bournemouth and Christchurch. There are eight cities: Salisbury, Wells, Gloucester, Exeter and Truro, it includes two entire national parks and Exmoor. The northern part of Gloucestershire, near Chipping Campden, is as close to the Scottish border as it is to the tip of Cornwall; the region has by far the longest coastline of any English region. The region is at the first level of NUTS for Eurostat purposes. Key data and facts about the region are produced by the South West Observatory. Following the abolition of the South West Regional Assembly and Government Office, local government co-ordination across the region is now undertaken by South West Councils.
The region is known for its rich folklore, including the legend of King Arthur and Glastonbury Tor, as well as its traditions and customs. Cornwall has its own language and some regard it as a Celtic nation; the South West is known for Cheddar cheese. It is home to the Eden Project, Aardman Animations, the Glastonbury Festival, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, trip hop music and Cornwall's surfing beaches; the region has been home to some of Britain's most renowned writers, including Daphne du Maurier and Agatha Christie, both of whom set many of their works here, the South West is the location of Thomas Hardy's Wessex, the setting for many of his best-known novels. Most of the region is located on the South West Peninsula, between the English Channel and Bristol Channel, it has the longest coastline of all the English regions, totalling over 700 miles. Much of the coast is now protected from further substantial development because of its environmental importance, which contributes to the region's attractiveness to tourists and residents.
Geologically the region is divided into the igneous and metamorphic west and sedimentary east, the dividing line to the west of the River Exe. Cornwall and West Devon's landscape is of rocky coastline and high moorland, notably at Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor; these are due to the slate that underlie the area. The highest point of the region is High Willhays, at 2,038 feet, on Dartmoor. In North Devon the slates of the west and limestones of the east meet at Exmoor National Park; the variety of rocks of similar ages seen here have led to the county's name being lent to that of the Devonian period. The east of the region is characterised by limestone downland; the vales, with good irrigation, are home to the region's dairy agriculture. The Blackmore Vale was Thomas Hardy's "Vale of the Little Dairies"; the Southern England Chalk Formation extends into the region, creating a series of high, sparsely populated and archaeologically rich downs, most famously Salisbury Plain, but Cranborne Chase, the Dorset Downs and the Purbeck Hills.
These downs are the principal area of arable agriculture in the region. Limestone is found in the region, at the Cotswolds, Quantock Hills and Mendip Hills, where they support sheep farming. All of the principal rock types can be seen on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset and East Devon, where they document the entire Mesozoic era from west to east; the climate of South West England is classed as oceanic according to the Köppen climate classification. The oceanic climate experiences cool winters with warmer summers and precipitation all year round, with more experienced in winter. Annual rainfall is up to 2,000 millimetres on higher ground. Summer maxima averages range from 18 °C to 22 °C and winter minimum averages range from 1 °C to 4 °C across the south-west, it is the second windiest area of the United Kingdom, the majority of winds coming from the south-west and north-east. Government organisations predict the region to rise in temperature and become the hottest region in the United Kingdom. Inland areas of low altitude experience the least amount of precipitation.
They experience the highest summer maxima temperatures. Snowfalls are less so in comparison to higher ground, it experiences the lowest wind speeds and sunshine total in between that of the moors. The climate of inland areas is more noticeable the further north-east into the region. In comparison to inland areas, the coast experiences high minimum temperatures in winter, it experiences lower maximum temperatures during the summer. Rainfall is the lowest at the coast and snowfall is rarer than the rest of the region. Coastal areas are the windiest parts of the peninsula and they receive the most sunshine; the general coastal climate is more typical the further south-west into the region. Areas of moorland inland such as: Bodmin Moor and Exmoor experience lower temperatures and more precipitation than the rest of the south west (approxima
Brean Down is a promontory off the coast of Somerset, standing 318 feet high and extending 1.5 miles into the Bristol Channel at the eastern end of Bridgwater Bay between Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-on-Sea. Made of Carboniferous Limestone, it is a continuation of the Mendip Hills. Two further continuations are the small islands of Flat Holm; the cliffs on the northern and southern flanks of Brean Down have large quantities of fossils laid down in the marine deposits about 320–350 million years ago. The site has been occupied by humans since the late Bronze Age and includes the remains of a Romano-Celtic Temple. At the seaward end is Brean Down Fort, built in 1865 and re-armed in the Second World War. Brean Down is now owned by the National Trust, is rich in wildlife and archaeology, it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to both the geology and presence of nationally rare plants including the white rock-rose. It has been scheduled as an ancient monument; the Mendip Hills, of which Brean Down forms the most westerly part, are the most southerly Carboniferous Limestone upland in Britain.
These rock strata were laid down during the early Carboniferous period, about 320–350 million years ago. Subsequently, much of northwestern Europe underwent continental collision throughout the late Paleozoic era, culminating in the final phases of the Variscan orogeny near the end of the Carboniferous period, 300 million years ago; this tectonic activity produced a complex suite of mountain and hill ranges across what is now southern Ireland, south-western England and elsewhere in western Europe. As a result of the Variscan mountain-building, the Mendip area now comprises at least four anticlinal fold structures, with an east-west trend, each with a core of older Devonian sandstone and Silurian volcanic rocks. West of the main Mendip plateau the Carboniferous Limestone continues in Bleadon Hill and Brean Down, on the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm. Brean Down is just over 2 kilometres long and runs in an east-west direction near the mouth of the River Axe opposite Uphill Cliff; the flat area on the top of the peninsula may represent a raised bench laid down when the sea level was much higher than it is today, as the highest point of the promontory is 97 metres above sea level.
The cliffs on the north and south faces are rich in fossils that include corals and crinoids, which supports the theory of the marine deposition of the rocks. 13 separate layers have been identified in the'sand cliff' on the south side, the lowest five dating to the millennia of the last glaciation. Human occupation dates back to the Beaker culture of the late Bronze Age. There is evidence of an Iron Age hill fort and prehistoric barrows and field systems. There is evidence of a shrine dating from pre-Roman times, re-established as a Romano-Celtic Temple in the mid-4th century. According to at least one source, it is likely this was succeeded by a small late-4th-century Christian oratory. Several Roman finds including gold coins of Augustus and Drusus, two silver denarii of Vespasian and a Roman carnelian ring were found at the site during quarrying. Brean Down Fort was built on the headland between 1864 and 1871 on the recommendations of the 1859 Royal Commission, it was the most southerly of a chain of defences across the Bristol Channel, protecting the access to Bristol and Cardiff.
Four acres of land at the end of Brean Down were requisitioned in 1862, with construction beginning in 1864 and completed in 1871. In the 1860s plans were laid for a deep-water harbour on the northern shore of Brean Down, it was intended that this harbour would replace Bristol as a port on embarkation for transatlantic crossings and the export of minerals and agricultural produce from the Mendip Hills and the rest of Somerset. The foundation stones of the pier were laid, but the project was abandoned after a large storm destroyed the foundations. In 1897, following wireless transmissions from Lavernock Point in Wales and Flat Holm, Guglielmo Marconi moved his equipment to Brean Down and set a new distance record of 14 kilometres for wireless transmission over open sea. In 1912 Brean Down was leased by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as a bird sanctuary, acquiring the shooting rights to stop others shooting on the promontory. On the outbreak of World War II, the fort was rearmed with two 6-inch ex-naval guns, machine gun posts were built on the Down.
Birnbeck Pier was taken over by the Admiralty in 1941 as an outpost of the Department of Miscellaneous Weapons Development. It was commissioned as HMS Birnbeck, was used for secret weapons development and storage with testing; the "Bouncing bomb" was tested at the Brean Down Fort on the opposite side of Weston Bay. In 1954 the former Axbridge Rural District Council gave 59.685 hectares of the down to the National Trust to celebrate the Festival of Britain. The Major Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Weston-Super Mare gave 1.494 hectares in 1963, a further 1.371 hectares at Brean Down Cove was acquired from M. D. and M Matthews in 2000. After restoring the fort, which covers 1.606 hectares, Sedgemoor District Council gave this to the trust as well in 2002. Various proposals have been put forward to construct a Severn Barrage for tidal electricity production from Brean Down to Lavernock Point in south Wales; the proposals, which go back over 100 years, have never been successful so far, however Peter Hain and others are still working on further proposals and trying to persuade the government to fund either the barrage or tidal lagoons.
In addition to the geological interest of the site, the range of plants growing on
Barry, Vale of Glamorgan
Barry is a town in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, on the north coast of the Bristol Channel 9 miles south-southwest of Cardiff. Barry is a seaside resort, with attractions including several beaches the resurrected Barry Island Pleasure Park. According to Office for National Statistics 2016 estimate data, the population of Barry was 54,673, making it the third largest town in Wales, after Wrexham and Merthyr Tydfil. Once a small village, Barry has absorbed its larger neighbouring villages of Cadoxton and Barry Island, now, Sully, it grew from the 1880s with the development of Barry Docks, which in 1913 was the largest coal port in the world. The place was named after Saint Baruc; the area now occupied. Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age microlith flint tools have been found at Friars Point on Barry Island and near Wenvoe and Neolithic or New Stone Age polished stone axe-heads were discovered in St. Andrews Major. A cinerary urn was found on Barry Island during excavations of Bronze Age barrows and two more were found in a barrow at Cold Knap Point.
A large defended enclosure or Iron Age promontory hillfort was located at the Bulwarks at Porthkerry and there was evidence of the existence of an early Iron Age farmstead during construction of Barry College off Colcot Road. In Roman times farmsteads existed on the site of Barry Castle and Biglis and there were verbal reports of discovery of a cemetery including lead coffins with scallop-shell decoration. Both St. Baruc's Chapel and St. Nicholas Church have re-used Roman bricks and tiles incorpoarated in their building fabric and a Roman villa was discovered in Llandough. In 1980 a Roman building consisting of 22 rooms and cellars in four ranges around a central courtyard was excavated at Glan-y-môr and is believed to be a third-century building associated with naval activity, maybe a supply depot; the Vikings launched raids in the area and Barry Island was known to be a raider base in 1087. Flat Holm and Steep Holm islands in the Bristol Channel have their name Holm name derived from a Scandinavian word for an island in an estuary.
The excavation of the Glan-y-môr site revealed the site had been reused in the 6th and 7th century and between AD 830 and 950 as a dry stone sub-rectangular building with a turf or thatched roof. The main feature of the area at this time was the island in the Bristol Channel, separated from the mainland by a tidal estuary, it is described in Giraldus Gerald of Wales' Itinerarium Cambriae. He states that Barry derives its name from St. Baruc whose remains are deposited in a chapel on the island; the local noble family who owned the island and the adjoining estates took the name of de Barri from the island. Following the Norman conquest of England the area was divided into manors with the Barry area split into two large lordships and Dinas Powys. Penmark was split into the sub-manors of West Penmark and Barry. Dinas Powys was split into the sub-manors of Uchelolau; the sub-manor of Barry was granted by the de Umfraville family to the de Barri family and the seat of the manor was Barry Castle, located on high ground overlooking the Bristol Channel, a site occupied in Roman times by a native homestead.
The castle was a small fortified manor house, built to replace an earlier earthwork. By the late 13th century the castle had two stone buildings on the east and west sides of a courtyard. Early in the 14th century the castle was strengthened by the addition of a large hall and gatehouse on its south side, the ruins of which are all that survive today. By now Barry had grown into a village and port with its own church and watermill but in the 14th century its population was drastically reduced by the Black Death and the consequences of the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr, it took the population some 300 years to recover and once more hold the title of village a sparsely populated area with a few scattered farms and much of the land a marsh that a small river flowed through. By 1622 the pattern of fields, where enclosure was complete, around Barry village was pretty much as it was to remain until the growth of the modern town. According to the 1673 Hearth-Tax list the parish contained thirteen houses.
Whitehouse Cottage, the oldest existing inhabited house in modern Barry, dates from the late 1500s with the east end of the building added in around 1600. It overlooks the sea at Cold Knap. By 1871 the population of Barry was over 100, with 21 buildings, the new estate-owning Romilly family being involved in the buildup of the village but it remained a agricultural community, it grew. The coal trade was growing faster than the facilities at Tiger Bay in Cardiff could and so a group of colliery owners formed the Barry Railway Company and chose to build the docks at Barry. Work commenced in 1884 and the first dock basin was opened in 1889 to be followed by two other docks and extensive port installations; the Barry Railway brought coal down from the South Wales Valleys to the new docks whose trade grew from one million tons in the first year, to over nine million tons by 1903. The port was crowded with ships and had flourishing ship repair yards, cold stores, flour mills and an ice factory. By 1913, Barry was the largest coal exporting port in the world.
Behind the docks rose the terraced houses of Barry which, with Cadoxton, soon formed a sizeable town. The railways which had played a major part in the development of the dock helped make Barry Island a popular resort. Barry Memorial Hall on Gladstone Road was inaugurated in November 1932, obtained its name to honour those loca