25 June 2019

Penarth: the Dolly Steps

I must have been up and down this flight of steps a hundred times before, thanks to a local I know through social media, I found out they were called the Dolly Steps. (Thank you, Conrad!)

Looking up  from the bottom and looking down from the top

The steps lead down from Plymouth Road in central Penarth into an area known as the Dingle. There, huge old trees tower over a small stream that bubbles out of the hillside before meandering its way alongside Alexandra Park and on down to the sea.

The risers of these steps are incredibly shallow – taking the steps singly feels awkward but their treads are a little too wide to easily negotiate two at a time, unless you’re running. (I do not run!)

The reason for the design of the steps harks back to when they were created, in the late Victorian era. Women then still wore long, floor-length gowns and modesty prevented them from showing their ankles. The shallow steps allowed them to walk elegantly down to the seaside to take the air whilst still staying within the bounds of propriety.

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