Town residents and school children celebrated the New Year in Penarth by rolling a giant’s head down a hill.

Hen Galen, the Old Welsh New Year, was celebrated last Sunday as hundreds of locals gathered at Penarth Clifftops for the annual Penrolio (head rolling).

The welsh custom follows the tradition of the Julian calendar and involves the rolling of a giant’s head down a hill.

Bran the Blessed, or Bendigeidfran in Welsh, is a giant from Welsh mythology.

The celebrations began at 1.00pm when the artist Ifor Davies read the story of the giant from the Mabinogion tales.

The two-meter tall head, which was made by the artist, Haf Weighton, and pupils at Ysgol Penygarth, was then rolled towards the beach from Penarth Clifftops.

It was accompanied by singing and music from a wind and brass band.

The Penarth, Monmouth and Brecon Mari Lwyd also attended the celebration.

Mari Lwyd is an old Welsh custom in which a party carrying a horse skull on a pole sing and search for hospitality at people’s doors.

Whilst the giant’s head was carried along Penarth Beach, the Mari Lwyd party visited restaurants along the sea front to perform a traditional song.

The festivities ended at the Penarth Pier Pavilion where the crowd performed a Mari Lwyd ceremony, followed by singing and refreshments.

Richard Parry, a resident who attended the event, said:

“It was lovely to see so many people, including families, turn out in the January weather to take part in this head rolling and celebration of the Old Welsh new year.

“Thank you to everybody who took part, rolled, sang and visited the establishments along the seafront to wish them a happy new year.

“The old Mabinogion stories are set along the Bristol Channel and it's great that Penarth is celebrating the story of Bendigeidfran.

“The story is a national treasure, and we're delighted to be part of it."

John Exton, who constructed the Penarth Mari Lwyd decoration with his wife, Sue, said: “The Penarth Mari was an integral part of the procession. The event was well attended, and we estimate over two hundred turned up.

“At present we have organised an exhibition in Chepstow Museum celebrating the tradition, with over 20 artists displaying work.”