Glamorgan Heritage Coast : Llantwit Major beach, St Donat's Bay, Nash Point lighthouse, Traeth Mawr beach, Southendown (Dunraven Bay), Ogmore-by-Sea
11.3 miles ( 18.2 km) with 1,375 ft (400 meters) of ascent. The (low tide) only extension to Porthcawl adds 4 miles. The (not low tide) inland route yet adds another 4 miles.
There are 2 very pleasent options, one on either side of the river, that end inland at Ogmore, which add 1.5 or 2.5 miles.
This is a long section of the Wales Coast Path (WCP) along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. The walk starts in Llantwit Major (train station, medieval centre, and St Illtyd's Church on the site of the monastery where St David studied), and heads down to the coast. Then its a remote cliff top walk, overlooking a dramatic 'flat rock shelf' beach passing Tresilian Bay, St Donat's Bay, Nash Point Lighthouse, Traeth Mawr and Traeth Bach beaches. At low tide, it one long beach. There is beach access at several places. Finally, there is a Witches Head, a headland, with a great view of the beach. Beyond it is Southendown beach (officially Dunraven Bay), with pay parking, cafe, and a visitor centre.
The cliff path becomes gentler, passing in front of Ogmore-By-Sea village. At the end of the cliff, you reach the Ogmore River, with it stunning river valley, and view over Meyrthyr-Mawr Warren (sand dunes) and Ogmore (Traeth yr Afon) beach.
Catch a bus to Brigend (station). Drivers can catch a bus back to Llantwit Major.
Continue along the coast to Porthcawl via WCP (add 4 miles)
Paddle across the Ogmore River (at low tide only), and continue along the WCP along Ogmore beach to Porthcawl. From there, catch a regular bus to Brigend station. 15.3 miles.
If the tide is high, follow the official (any state of the tide route) WCP inland to a footbridge, then back down to the coast, and then along the beach as above to Porthcawl. At 19.4 miles, way to far for most.
Continue to Ogmore (village) via the River Valley (add 2 miles)
Follow the WCP inland along the very pretty Ogmore River to Ogmore Castle (ruined), Ogmore village, and a nice pub. About 12.5 miles
Continue to Ogmore (village) via Meyrthyr-Mawr Warren sand dunes (add 2.5 miles)
Cross the river, head inland via the warren (sand dunes) to Candleston Castle (ruined), and across a footbridge, and back down the road to Ogmore Castle (ruined), the village pub and bus stop. About 13.5 miles. Recommended.
Ogmore-by-Sea to Porthcawl (8 miles)
A great walk in its own right. Start in Porthcawl, walk along the fine sand beachy to Porthcawl, inland through the dunes, past 2 ruined castles to the Ogmore pub, then down the river to the sea. Walk along the coast a little to make up time for the hourly bus. This is the 2 inland options, and the Porthcawl option above combined. Connect by bus in Brigend, its about an hour by bus back to Porthcawl. About 8 miles. No ascent, but some sand dune paths.
Tide Times - Porthcawl times are always in GMT, add 1 hour in the summer for BST
The Ogmore river enters the sea by Ogmore-by-Sea. The nearest (public) bridge is 2 miles inland.
Llantwit Major - many pubs.
Nash Point - by the beach, cliff top cafe, by the pay car park
Southendown (Dunraven beach) - cafe
Southerndown - The Three Golden Cups pub. Good reviews. Follow the road about 200m inland from the top of the cliff at Southendown beach car park.
Ogmore-by-Sea - Nowhere on the coast path. Hillary and Ians by the Sea (tea room/cafe), inland, on the main road at the south end of the village
Ogmore (inland village, not Ogmore-by-sea) - The Pelican in Her Piety. Visit for then name alone, nice location, good online reviews. Opposite the Ogmore Castle turn off.
Porthcawl - many places
Llantwit Major station is on the Cardiff - Barry - (viaduct) - Llantwit Major - Brigend line. Buy a ticket to Brigend if coming from the east (Cardiff direction). 1 train per hour Mon-Sat, 1 per 2 hours Sun.
Brigend station is on the Swansea - Cardiff - London main line (1 per hour)
Ogmore, Ogmore-by-Sea, Monknash, Llantwit Major, and the villages inbetween, are on the #303 bus route : Brigend - Ogmore - Ogmore by Sea - Southendown - St Donats - Llantwit Major - Barry - (Cardiff). 1 bus per hour Mon-Sat, 1 per 2 hours Sun
Porthcawl is on the # X25 bus route : Porthcawl (St John St., stop 1) - Brigend - Cardiff. Every 15 mins (30 mins on Sun)
By public transport, get the train to Llantwit Major. Then a bus from either Ogmore or Porthcawl to Brigend to get the train home
By Car: The Ogmore walk is recommended, as its a direct bus back to your car. Otherwise, from Porthcawl, you have to change in Brigend for the bus or train to Llantwit Major. Takes about 1 hour if the connection is good
Check traveline.cymru online before travelling!
A pretty town with a medieval centre (many listed historic buildings, cobbled streets) and several pubs. Would be a nice place to stay.
St David of Wales and St Patrick of Ireland went to college here (seriously!) on the site of St Illtyd's Church. Pretty, worth a visit, visitor centre (10 - 4pm), free, 75m west of the town centre along church street, CF61 1SG. Originally Roman, the site is 1,500 years old. Founded by St. Illtud circa 508 AD, it was sacked by the Viking in 987, rebuilt in 1111, and, sadly, it suffered again in 1539, during the dissolution of the monasteries.
The sandy beach (free parking, CF61 1RF), officially called Cwm Colhugh, has dramatic cliffs. Stout Point and Pigeon Point are near by.
Tresilian Bay is a pebble beach, with a large white house. Access from St Donat's, or Llantwit Major
St Donat's Bay
St Donat's castle, and the buildings in front of the beach are part of the private Atlantic College. The pebble beach has areas of flat rocks, and is backed by steep rock cliffs. Access via the coast path, and a public footpath inland to the east of the college. Limited parking on the narrow country road at the start of the footpath. CF61 1YY
Nash Point has an operation lighthouse with visitor centre (open Sat, Sun in Summer, and Wed in Aug). Nearby, by the beach acces, is a cliff top cafe, and pay car park. Great views of the Nash Sands, and a low tide, sandbar, shipwrecks on which were the reason for the lighthouse. CF61 1ZH.
Nash Point beach, Cwm Nash beach, Traeth Bach, and Traeth Mawr,
Together 1 long straight beach at low tide, with steep rock cliffs, and dramatic flats shelf rock beaches. Beach access at Nash Point and Cwm Nash. If you walk along the beach, be aware of the tide!
Coast access via Monknash along a really lovely footpath along Cwm Nash river valley. Park in a farmer's field (honesty box, CF71 7QQ, down the small lane past the pub), just past the Heritage Coast campsite, or for free by the Plough and Harrow pub (outside seating, good reviews) on the main road. CF32 0RW
Southendown Beach (Dunraven Bay)
Pretty sandy beach. "Flat shelf rocks" great for beach walking. Much smaller at high tide. Dramatic location often used by Doctor Who. Great short walk uphill to the headland with great views over the Heritage Coastline. Cafe. Visitor Centre. Expensive private parking (CF32 0RT), equally expensive council car park at the top of the hill. No need to pay (you may have to insist) if you are just going to the visitor centre, it has its own free car park. Its only the sea front parking you need to pay for. Park for free in Southendown village, by the Three Golden Cups pub, about 500m away. CF32 0RP
Make sure you stick to the (obvious) cliff edge path up and over the headland for the viewpoint, rather than the WCP inland though the trees.
If you walk south along the beach, be aware that you can be cut off by tides
A village on the side of a hill on a cliff top, with a stunning view and a car park. Just 1 cafe on the main road to the south of town. Car park: £5 year round, CF32 0PB (river mounth). Grim toilets. People almost fight over spaces at popular times.
At the end of the river mouth car park is Ogmore-by-Sea beach. Be very aware of currents if swimming close to the river mouth, and if you walk far along the beach, be aware of being cut off by tides.
About a mile inland along a very pretty valley is Ogmore village, with a pub, Ogmore Castle (ruined), and stepping stones. CF32 0QP
Ogmore Beach (Traeth yr Afon) and Merthyr-mawr Warren NNR
Ogmore beach is a long wide flat sandy beach backed by sand dunes (Merthyr-mawr Warren National Nature Reserve). It can be reached from Porthcawl, or at low tide, by paddling over the Ogmore river from Ogmore-by-Sea. The nearest bridge is 2 miles inland. "Ogmore beach" is the name my parents used for this beach, so I'm sticking to it. "Ogmore-by-Sea" beach is in front of Ogmore-by-Sea, on the other side of the river.
Inland, accessed via Merthyr-mawr, is Candelston Castle (ruined, CF32 0LS).
A large town thats seen better days, with sandy beaches and seafront caravan parks. Regular buses to Brigend (train station).
19-Jan : low: 03:54 high: 10:19 low: 16:20 high: 22:37
20-Jan : low: 04:33 high: 11:01 low: 17:03 high: 23:20
21-Jan : low: 05:19 high: 11:49 low: 17:56
22-Jan : high: 00:13 low: 06:23 high: 12:50 low: 19:04
23-Jan : high: 01:27 low: 07:42 high: 14:06 low: 20:19
24-Jan : high: 02:46 low: 08:59 high: 15:17 low: 21:26
25-Jan : high: 03:48 low: 09:59 high: 16:15 low: 22:19
Times for Porthcawl. Corrected for BST if appropriate. Contains ADMIRALTY® tidal data: © Crown Copyright and database right.
The Severn Estuary has the second highest tidal range in the world (after the Bay of Fundy), with typically, a 30 foot (10 metre) difference between high and low tide.
If you walk along the beach beneath high cliffs, or far out on the sands, be aware of that you can be cut off by a rising tide!
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
Llantwit Major to Llantwit Major beach
- From the station, turn right on Le Pouliguen Way, then left on Station Road. (Left at the first mini roundabout for a supermarket)
- Left on Durels St then imeadiately bear right on Stag Lane
- Straight on os Church Lane to St Illyd's Church an visitor centre
- Walk around the church. On the other side, take the side road off Church Lane, south.
- This becomes a footpath which eventutally joins Flanders Lane. Continue south. You are now on the Vale Millenium Heritage (VMH) Trail. Continue on the north rim of a valley to the sea, and Llantwit Major beach
Llantwit Major beach to Ogmore-by-Sea
- Turn right on the Wales Coast Path (WCP), west. You soon come to Tresilian Bay.
- Continue back up to the cliff path.
- Next is St Donat's - At a junction, a path inland leads to the main road (parking, bus stop). Carry on along the coast path. A path to the left leads down to the beach, or just carry on.
- Cross the beach in front of Atlantic College (private) and up the other side
- Follow the cliff top path with sea views to Nash Point Lighthouse (visitor centre)
- Continue to the Marcross Brook valley, the access point for Nash Point beach (parking, cliff top cafe)
- Cross the valley, and continue. Next is Cwn Nash beach. The walk inland (along the VMH trail, not waymarked) to the car park and pub is very pretty.
- Continue, then is a 400m detour inland around Cwm Bach valley
- And another 400m detour inland around Cwm Mawr valley
- You come to the end of the long beach and enter Dunraven Country Park. At the path junction leave the WCP briefly, and go left, uphill over Witches Head for the views
- And come down the other side to the Southendown's (Dunraven Bay) private beach car park, rejoining the WCP. Visitor centre, pay parking, toilets, cafe. If you walk out along the sandd to 'dancing stones', take care of the tides!
- Back up the cliff top (a Council car park). Follow the road inland 400m for a pub and bus stop.
- Continue along the cliff path. You come close to the coast road for a while.
- Follow the cliff top path below Ogmore-by-Sea (residential houses only, no facilities)
- You come to the Ogmore-by-Sea river mouth beach pay car park.
- Admire the view over the beach and sand dunes across the river, with Porthcawl in the distance. Here you have a choice. By the main road is a bus stop to Brigend, or back to Llantwit Major
Ogmore-by-Sea to Southendown
- At low tide, cross the river, and continue along the beach to Porthcawl.
Ogmore-by-Sea to Ogmore or the inland WCP route
- Follow the WCP inland alkong the river valley.
- Pass the private bridge to the Sewag Plant
- You come to the Pelican pub and bus stop for Llantwit Major or Brigend. Turn left for the castle and stepping stones shortcut to the bridge
- But, too continue to Porthcawl around the Ogmore River, continue on for 500m, then left on a footpath crossing a stream, then in 400m, the Ogmore river on another footbridge.
- At the main road, turn left, passing a church, and after 1km, a car park by the ruins of Candelston Castle.
- Take paths of your choosing through the sand dunes, heading west (short cut to the beach path towards Porthcawl) or south west (back towards the river mouth).
Ogmore via the Warren
From the Merthyr Mawr church, its about 3km inland to Brigend station - you'll need a map