Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

I was back in South Wales, the Bridgend area to be more precise and ready for fresh air, beauty and miles underfoot. What a great way to start the adventures…. Hiking the Bridgend section of the Wales Coast Path from the dunes around Merthyr Mawr along to Kenfig Nature Reserve. Miles of coastal beauty, variety and plenty of history and legend to learn about.

DSC02745 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

Right from the beginning there was history. Merthyr Mawr itself was a beautiful small quiet place with its historic church and thatched cottages. My first couple of miles though took me through totally unique nature. The couple of miles of sand dunes to the beach. The warren of dunes are immense, sandy hill after sandy hill to wander over and around. Each one providing a magnificent viewing platform.  Deeper under the sand lays limestone, the dunes have rolled and formed over time on top of this to create the highest dunes in Britain. These vast dunes moved inland and the sand affected  populations. In the 1950s they planted sea-buckthorn to stabilise and stop the thread. This obviously had a massive and fast impact. Woods have formed, the dunes got covered in the buckthorn. To look at you couldn’t imagine only 70 years ago the scene was more like the Sahara Dessert with the huge dunes, in fact some scenes from the film Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here. Great work and care is being taken now to free the dunes of shrub and thorn. Current work is and has been underway to get rid of the sea-buckthorn and reduce the shrubbery to allow nature to be fully restored. A fascinating, unique and sandy start.

DSC02748 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

DSC02749 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

DSC02751 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

DSC02752 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

DSC02753 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

At the coastline it was time to head Westwards. Sea wind blowing in the face, a mix of weathers and even a rainbow joined us on Newton Beach.

DSC02758 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

DSC02768 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

photo62 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

DSC02771 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

Sand and sea to the left, blue skies and green hills to the right. A few miles along it was time to hit the town of Porthcawl. Skirting around the huge caravan site and amusement arcade the gorgeous rocks, sand and rolling sea of Rest Beach lays before you. No matter what the weather this beach shines out charm.

DSC02774 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

DSC02789 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

Very popular with surfers and walkers alike, golden sand laying out inviting all. Popular with surfers and on this day the kite surfers where enjoying the waves in their numbers. Dog walkers, family strollers and coast walkers taking it all in together.

DSC02778 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

Exiting Porthcawl the sea views keep on coming and to your right the course of Royal Porthcawl Golf Club pans out. Hardy golfers taking on the links. I had my eye on a mysterious looking building in the distance at this point. Bright yellow, standing out in the greenery. I wanted to learn more.

DSC02783 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

DSC02784 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

The lonely windswept building was originally built in the 12th Century by Cistercian monks. Since then it has had many residents and also more recently fell into disrepair. Tales of ghosts and past residents are still attached to the place. RD Blackmore’s Maid of Sker was based upon one such tale of a girl once apparently locked in a room with no way out there by her father who forbade her to see her lover. Today the yellow whitewash is a sign of restoration of the building to glory.

DSC02791 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

The house became the marker that I was nearing the dunes of Kenfig Nature Reserve, and the end of a fantastic walk along the miles of the Bridgend section of the Wales Coast Path. I must give a huge thank you to my hiking companion for the day, Ian Skinner @Isky11 .. A great bloke and superb font of local knowledge.

DSC02813 Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf

It was time to wander Kenfig Nature Reserve………..

 

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About Paul Steele

Founder of BaldHiker.com and avid hiker, climber and trekker. Never liking to sit still and always seeking new adventures around the world. Sharing personal views here and tweeting live via @paul_steele

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6 Responses to "Bridgend: Hiking The Wales Coast Of Sand, Sea And Surf"

  1. Paul  September 13, 2013 at 07:34

    Looks like a fabulous stretch of coast and you have taken some breathtaking pictures of the clouds. Very inspiring!

    Reply
    • Paul Steele  September 13, 2013 at 07:36

      Hi Paul, yes sometimes it can be unfortunately forgotten amongst Pembrokeshire etc but I can’t recommend the area enough :)

      Reply
  2. Tara  April 2, 2013 at 16:44

    We just come back from North Wales – Hay-on-Way were we walked along the Offa’s Dyke Path. Beautiful land – Wales.

    Reply
  3. Annie  November 9, 2012 at 08:39

    Haunting & beautiful…Family originally from Wales, The Mumbles…thank you for the walk.

    Reply
  4. Ian Skinner  November 5, 2012 at 08:26

    Paul it was real nice to accompany you on the Bridgend part of your hike along the Wales Coastal Path.
    All types of weather prevailed on the walk which was simply fab. I’ll be honest is was a blast!

    Reply
  5. Ella Sempreviva  November 4, 2012 at 21:33

    GORGEOUS photos!

    Inspiring, Paul. Thank you.

    Reply

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