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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 January 2007, 06:53 GMT
Closures shrink famous pub crawl
Mumbles Pier
Residents say Mumbles has become more of a family resort
One of Wales' best known pub crawls is shrinking as many of its watering holes are closing down.

The Mumbles Mile, near Swansea, was famous for its concentration of seafront bars, but only seven remain.

Others are boarded up or have become restaurants and there are now plans to turn one of the largest, The Famous Bear, which shut last year, into flats.

Some locals have welcomed the change, saying the village has now become more of a family resort.

Until recently, the Mumbles Mile consisted of about a dozen pubs stretching along the seafront from the White Rose in the village square to The Pilot on the approach to Mumbles pier.

The White Rose
The Nag's Head
The Village Inn
The William Hancock
The Antelope
Mumbles Rugby Club
Salt Bar at the George

A typical Mumbles Mile would see visitors having a drink in every pub en route, before ending the evening in one of the resort's now-closed nightclubs.

Author Brian Davies, who has written about the pubs of Mumbles and Gower, said that the Mumbles Mile in its modern form was at its height of popularity in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

But, he said, the trend for travelling to Mumbles had its roots in the temperance movement of the late 19th Century.

On Sundays pubs were shut across Wales, but a loophole in the act allowed travellers who had journeyed more than three miles to have an alcoholic drink.

This would see "many thousands" of people making the five-mile journey from Swansea to the many pubs of Mumbles.

He said that in the last decade, pub closures had affected the traditional mile.

"It's quite sad now if you look at a pub like The Pilot which is 150 years old and is boarded up," he said.

"There are still a few decent pubs along there, but it is not the Mumbles Mile as it once was."

Mumbles councillor Joan Peters said the village had suffered a reputation as a destination for stag and hen parties and weekends would regularly bring coaches full of revellers.

But she said competing pubs and clubs in Swansea - the city's revamped Wind Street in particular - had taken much of that trade away.

The Pilot Inn in Mumbles
The Pilot
The Famous Bear
The Prince of Wales
The Mermaid Hotel

"It's a double edged sword," she said.

"While I do feel sorry for the landlords of the pubs that have closed - and there are several others for sale - at the same time it's made life a great deal more pleasant for people living here.

"If you walk along the front you see many more families and we have some excellent new restaurants."

But for many it was the pub crawl that put the area on the map - with one group of Americans even travelling across the Atlantic in 2004 just to visit the pubs.

The nightclub at the pier shut in 2006 to make way for an ice skating rink and one of the village's two taxi companies closed last month.

As well as stag and hen parties the Mumbles Mile had proved popular with students from Swansea University.

The Students' Union said it still publicised the pub crawl to freshers and people moving to the area.

But it said the nightlife in Swansea had developed in recent years.

"It is sad to hear Mumbles is going through a period of poor trading," said welfare officer Stuart Jones.

"It would be great to see it return to a thriving and prosperous village in terms of nightlife."

Atlantic crossing for pub crawl
02 Aug 04 |  South West Wales


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