Cwmdonkin Park

The park was very important to Dylan when he was growing up in Uplands.

“The ball I threw while playing in the park has not yet reached the ground”.

This is how Dylan remembers this place in his poem ‘Should lanterns shine’ and this park is perhaps one of the most important landmarks in Dylan’s childhood and development.

In his radio broadcast ‘Reminiscences of Childhood’ he dwells at length on the importance of this space and its profound significance in his early life. It was

…”A world within the world of the sea town… full of terrors and treasures…a country just born and always changing….and that park grew up with me….In that small, iron-railed universe of rockery, gravel-path, playbank, bowling-green, bandstand reservoir, chrysanthemum garden, … the grass one must keep off, I endured, with pleasure, the first agonies of unrequited love, the first slow boiling in the belly of a bad poem, the strutting and raven-locked self-dramatization of what, at that time seemed incurable adolescence.”
Although some of the Park’s features have gone, notably the reservoir and bandstand, and although ‘Old Smalley’, the bearded park-keeper who Dylan terrorised is long dead, much of what inspired him still remains, and the whole place is celebrated in poems like ‘Once it was the colour of saying’, and of course in ‘The Hunchback in the Park’.

Dylan’s deeply nostalgic radio piece ‘Return Journey’ comes to its dramatic climax in the park, and his radio piece ‘Reminiscences of Childhood’ the significance of this park is stated emphatically.

On entering the Park, you can turn left or right either way will bring you round to a triangular shelter, erected as a memorial to Dylan. Carry on up the path before turning left, on to a broad walk. Along on the left is the cast-iron drinking fountain, sadly no longer with a tin drinking cup.

Drinking water from the chained cup
That the children filled with gravel
In the fountain basin where I sailed my ship
The Hunchback in the Park

Ahead of you is a park hut, and if you turn down the path to the left a few years, alongside a pond, you will seen an engraved memorial stone to the poet which was erected in 1963.

Return to the fountain, and proceed up the hill past the hut and leave the park by the top gate, turn right and walk along to the first right which is Cwmdonkin Drive. Here is a seat where you can pause a while and view Swansea Bay, Mumbles Head, and the North Devon Coast in the far distance.

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