Glamorgan Heritage Coast

This was the stretch of the Glamorgan Coast Heritage Trail on the Wales Coastal Path that I’d been really looking forward to, but had also had some trepidation about – wondering if my ankle was going to stand-up to the gentle undulations that would be involved. Glad to say that although I started with a degree of pessimism as the ankle was sore and tender, I finished strongly (as Alec will attest to) and with only minor discomfort 🙂

The walk was 12.7miles long and for the first time really on any of our walks, involved some gentle climbs. It started with the train journey to Llantwit Major – what a fantastic re-opening of this line it is for walkers – through the town, and then down to the coast the path leads and the Beach Cafe – we didn’t pause for their famous bacon sandwich – but started the first climb on to the top of the cliffs.

The path then leads across a flat clifftop, closely hugging to the cliff edge, until you descend to Tresilian Bay that has a striking white house in it. An awkward hobble across the cobbles and then you’re back on to the top of the cliff after passing through some woodland.

A descent through the woodland takes you to the next bay at St Donats – Atlantic Cottage, where we paused to have the pork pies (Tesco’s pickle variety) that have become a feature of our walks.

Our next target was Nash Point, and the lighthouse. Marvelling, but not pausing at the sight of the amazing warning siren (that I believe is demonstrated twice a month), we scrambled down into the valley and up the other side of the Marcross Brook.

The next stretch of coast is all wild flowers, butterflies and geology, with wonderful views like the one below.

You also reach the highest point on the walk and the cliffs as you look down on the stunning beach below.

Butterfly (Alec tells me it’s a female Common Blue) …

Highest point on the walk – just after Nash Brook.

Then the walk takes you towards Dunraven Head (as seen below) and Dunraven Castle. The walk through the gardens is a bit depressing as they are rather overgrown and in need of a lot of TLC. Now in the control of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, I can see the case for handing it over to the National Trust, like the same council did with Dyffryn Gardens.

Now down in Dunraven Bay (or Southerndown Beach as it’s often referred to) we just had to have an ice cream before starting the last ascent up onto the cliffs and the walk to Ogmore-by-the-Sea. This stretch of the walk is a geologists delight as you approach the car park and the smooth steeply sloping cliffs give way to rocky forelands.

Not pausing for a rest, and with our destination almost within sight, we separated for the final stretch up the River Ogmore to The Pelican her Piety where we were going to have supper with Jenny and Angie. Alec took the “close to the river” approach; I took the line of least resistance, ie the most direct route! This led me to have quite a lead when I arrived at the pub, which meant I had to get the beers in whilst I waited. I then heard about the dangers of walking the road as motorists had twice nearly hit Alec as he walked the last quarter-of-a-mile.

For a full set of images … view them on Google+ Photos (Picasaweb).

The Google Map of the walk is shown below …

Extending an excellent coastal walk

Last September I did a shorter version of this walk with @JoeNicholls ending at the Blue Anchor in East Aberthaw before catching a bus back to Barry. We had a lovely day – I had no doubts that I would enjoy a longer version with Alec as we aimed to not only repeat the Blue Anchor experience, but also take in extending the walk to the railway station in Llantwit Major – our first step (sic) in doing the Wales Coastal Path.

Along the way we saw some beautiful orchids, of which the ones below were perhaps the best example, growing besides the nature reserve (“Aberthaw Biodiversity”) near the sea wall below the powerstation. Indeed the ponds there are worth a visit to observe the birds.

Aberthaw-1Of course the element that dominates the landscape is the power station itself.


The last bit of the walk was the worst – about two miles of road to Llantwit Major Railway Station. The map was created by uploading the .gpx trail from the Garmin into GPS Visualizer and then transcoding it to a .kml file. It was then uploaded to the Google Maps Engine which enabled it to be embedded on this site. [I intend to write a post about the GPS Track to Google Map workflow, and the use of the OS OpenSpace plugin in due course.]

Finally here’s a panoramic view of the coastline looking down to Aberthaw – Alec’s boots are evident :-).


[Note: This post marks my first use of OS OpenSpace and the Google Maps Engine, created using tools from GPS Visualizer – a utility I’ve used for a long time. I’m afraid I haven’t the confidence in Everytrail to have a long term future, and so an alternative method had to be found. A shame, Everytrail was really good.]

Here’s the OS map of our walk, which was about 17 miles, using the OS OpenSpace WordPress Plugin. You can zoom in and out using the slider, which presents the map at different scales and detail, and pan left and right – using the controls in the top-left of the map.

The Google Map is also shown below for comparison …