Leckwith Village History

Geographically, Leckwith has always been difficult to define. In the last century when it was a parish the name also included the area between Leckwith Hill and the edge of Cardiff as far as the railway when this was open country and marshland. This land is now the sites of Cardiff City football ground, athletics stadium and shopping malls and, although sometimes still referred to as Leckwith, is part of Cardiff and quite separate from Leckwith village which is at the top of Leckwith Hill and in the Vale of Glamorgan. Current maps show that as well as the small built-up area along the B4267 and surrounding open land, Leckwith village includes Leckwith Hill, known as Cock Hill, down to the river Ely. The name itself is equally confusing since while Leckwith remains the formal name, the modern Welsh version is Lecwydd, the original Welsh name was Llechwydd while the original name on old maps was Lequeth. This may represent the Norman influence in this part of South Wales but the origin is obscure.


The early history show that this was a manor belonging to Cardiff Castle and supplied farm products to the castle from the mid 1400s to 1926 when the farms were sold off. It has always been, and still is, an agricultural region, based on scattered farms and a small collection of houses on the B4267 to Llandough. Leckwith was always very self-sufficient, Victorian inhabitants being described as farmers, lime burners, dairymen, bridge keepers and so on. It is remarkable that even though very close to urban Cardiff the unspoilt rural nature of the area and its extensive woodlands have not changed for centuries. It is the closest part of the Vale of Glamorgan to Cardiff City giving a unique combination of rural environment and seclusion and easy commuting to both the city centre and the M4 and being in an elevated position there are magnificent views over the Bristol Channel, Cwrt-yr-Ala valley and the hills north of Cardiff.

Leckwith no longer has a parish church (St James), the building having become derelict many years ago and is now converted into two houses. The common, known as the Gower, is situated behind the row of 1950’s houses on the main road facing the Green but this is now much smaller than it was in Victorian times. It is owned and maintained by the Community Council.

The old stone bridge over the river Ely at the bottom of Leckwith Hill remains intact and in continual use. This was built in the 16th century with triangular recesses, three arches and single track width, and is accompanied by the bridge keeper’s house, itself once a farm. The bridge is Grade 11 listed but as far as traffic is concerned has been superseded and largely concealed by the concrete bridge built alongside it in 1935. It is the sole entrance to the small industrial estate along the Ely river so although five centuries old it is still able to withstand heavy vehicles.

The prehistory of the area turns up occasionally. Near the bridge in 1928, at the old pre-barrage tidal reaches of the river Ely, a man with the unlikely name of Jockenhovel O'Connor discovered a hoard of bronze-age armaments from around 600 BC - one rib and pellet socketed axe, one socketed axe fragment, four leatherworking knives, two socketed sickles, two razors and a chariot pole cap, now in the national museum. (Peter Finch Archive)

The sites of most of the old farms in Leckwith remain, White Farm and Yynyston have been developed for private housing, Brynwell, Woodlands and Bullcroft remain as single buildings while Beggan remains a fully working farm with its own Cock Hill vineyard as well as a herd of Welsh Black cattle. Other houses include the Forester’s cottages on the Gower common, built when the Forestry Commission managed much of the local woodland, and a small number of stone built Victorian houses. The ruins of an old long house remain beside the church.



Bus services
The 95 and 95a service runs from Barry to Cardiff every 15 minutes and stops at Leckwith Green.
Bus Services website



The Ely Trail
This runs along the whole length of the River Ely within the Cardiff City Council boundary. The Trail is a mainly off-road stone-dust path suitable for cyclists and walkers and it is possible to walk and cycle from Cardiff Bay to St. Fagans.
You can join this part of the Trail from Leckwith Road at the foot of the hill.
Ely Trail Out Door Cardiff website


Countryside activities
The area has many public rights of way across the fields to Michaelston-le-Pit, Wenvoe, Ely and Dinas Powys and the area is very popular among walkers and ramblers as well as birdlife enthusiasts.
Penarth and District Ramblers website