Client: Denbighshire County Council
Architect: BCA Landscape
Artist: Stephen Broadbent
Contractor: BAM Nuttall (Formerly Edmund Nuttall Ltd)

This multi award winning seafront park was inspired by the meeting of coastal processes and the interventions used to control them and celebrates the fascinating heritage of Rhyl in the form of a ‘beachcombing’ artwork experience. 

Unique detail design features, scattered through the scheme like flotsam on the beach, celebrate Rhyl events and characters – “Postcards from Rhyl” chosen with the local history group are printed on tiles, fish faces designed by a nearby school spout water jets and marks are carved in the concrete, like someone has drawn with a stick in the sand. 

The new paddling pool play area and mini golf have become popular with both local people and visitors to Rhyl. The amphitheatre and surrounding gardens provide a place to picnic and sunbathe with views across the beach and out to sea. 

The inspiration for Drift Park was taken from its rugged, seaside environment. The tarmac surface was broken up and used as the basis for a new landform, mirroring natural coastal processes, while design features are scattered randomly to create a ‘beach-combing’ experience. 

The park celebrates Rhyl and its citizens: ‘Postcards from Rhyl’, chosen by the local history group, are printed on tiles and fish faces designed by a nearby school serve as water jets. 

The five sheltered gardens also include several modernised public attractions such as a water play park and openair theatre. The overall regeneration work has brought about a perceived change in the town’s future. 

It was not architecture that was needed to regenerate the sea front: that could come later. They needed someone who knew how to make thoughtful marks on the land. It needed a sensibility to understand the forms of the sand and the fauna and flora of the seaside – a team who would drink in the knowledge of the local historians about this once remarkable sea-front, and engage businesses and politicians and local schoolchildren, so that all ages and communities could feel a sense of ownership. All this is included in BCA Landscape’s wonderful mark-making on new land forms at Rhyl’s new west promenade.

Tom Leitener RSAW – Touchstone

The Future

Increased investment in regeneration and development is obvious by merely walking the Parc. The adjacent buildings on West Parade are now being developed, some being conserved and some demolished making way for new contemporary buildings and facilities. This phenomenon is also happening to other areas of the town most notable being “Ocean Plaza” on the old fairground site (private sector, £85million), the physical infrastructure improvements at the Foryd Harbour (£1.4million), and the conversion of run-down hotels into quality apartments. The overall regeneration work has brought about a perceived change in the town’s future. 

Materials used