William Hageman, Tribune Newspapers
8:08 PM EST, November 13, 2012
Want to walk in Richard Burton's footsteps?
On Nov. 9, a new Richard Burton trail opened in the Taibach area of Port Talbot, the small Welsh town where Burton (born Richard Walter Jenkins in 1925) spent his childhood and teenage years.
Points of interest on the trail include his home, where he worked as a boy, where he spent his free time and where he went to school. It was at the school that his acting potential was recognized by teacher Phillip Burton, who became his mentor and guardian (and whose last name the actor took in 1943).
The trail is the second commemorating Burton. The first is a three-mile interpretive trail in the tiny village of Pontrhydyfen near Port Talbot, where he was born. Among the highlights of that hiking and biking trail are his birthplace, the breathtaking Pontrhydyfen Aqueduct over the Afan River, and the chapel where his memorial service was held after his death in 1984. Borough council officials are conducting a contest among local residents to name the trails.
"Everyone in Neath Port Talbot (the borough) is proud of Richard Burton," said a spokeswoman for the Neath Port Talbot Council. "There have been more nominations for the new trail names than expected, and this reflects local feeling for Richard Burton as someone who is still very popular and who put the area on the map. A lot of people remember him personally."
These are busy times for the Burton legend. There was the October publication of "The Richard Burton Diaries" (Yale University Press, edited by Chris Williams). And "Liz and Dick," a TV movie starring Lindsay Lohan and Grant Bowler, will air Nov. 25 on Lifetime.
For more information on the trails, as well as interviews with Burton's relatives and friends, see http://www.visitnpt.co.uk/richardburton. For Wales travel information, go to visitwales.com.
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