Barry to Cardiff
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Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes & local information

Last updated  25.10.08

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The Glamorgan Coast Path (4)

Barry to Cardiff

This final stretch of the Coast Path is just 11 miles and makes a manageable day's walk. Despite its proximity to major towns there is still good walking as the photos below indicate. Check the tides if you wish to walk partly along the beaches. Refreshments can be found at the Captain's Wife and Penarth sea-front. It is now (2008) possible to walk through to Cardiff Bay between 7am and 8pm and a water bus operates throughout the year - details from - but check which jetties it is calling at. 

The route starts at Barry Island railway station, (ST 11468/66676) - for a map click here. Ordnance Survey Explorer map 151 covers the walk. 

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Whitmore Bay looking East on left, West on right.

This starts with an optional 2 mile perambulation around Barry Island. From the railway station on Barry Island cross the pedestrian crossing and turn right for 100 yards before curving left to reach the sea-front. Head left along the promenade, the beach on your right, and at the far end take the narrower tarmac track which curves around the headland just above the rocks - Clement Colley walk. Ahead of you are the islands of Flat Holm to the left, Steep Holm to the right and between, the prominent hump of Brean Down. The path continues to curve left, bringing you to the secluded Jacksons Bay. Cross the beach to pick up a path at the far side behind the building with a Lifeguard sign which has toilets which are infrequently open. The path heads up to the top of the cliff. Once on the greensward head for some pine trees which surround the ruined chapel of St. Baruch.

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Left, Jacksons Bay and right, St Baruch's Chapel

Retrace your steps back round Red Brink Crescent and follow the road round, passing Barry harbour to your right. Turn right into Dyfrig Street - an industrial panorama ahead of you - and just before the road ends, turn left. On meeting the road at the top, turn right and after 70 yards take the second right - after 50 yards where it says Clive Road, follow the road left - across the water to your right is the next leg of the journey. At the bottom of the hill take the road to the right in the direction of the car park. Don't enter the car park but follow the road right (for coaches) to reach a metal barrier - see next section. (2.34 miles, 41 mins - not included in times or distances which follow).

If not walking around Barry Island, with your back to the railway station, head down the pavement to the right, passing Quasar. Follow the road to the right under the railway bridge, crossing the road at a convenient point. Then follow the road left in the direction of the car park. Don't enter the car park but keep to the right of the road and rail bridges following the direction for coaches. Go past a white metal barrier (see section above if you have walked around the Island) and head across the parking area towards grey metal railings in the middle of which is a pedestrian access which takes you onto a broad track with wire fence on either side. First a yellow barrier then a pedestrian barrier bring you onto a side road. Turn right towards a roundabout, then ahead walking alongside the waterfront on your right.

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Barry waterfront

You can continue along the road but it is more pleasant to take a path along the waterside. At the end of the flats when you can go no further, turn left to the main road opposite the Council Docks building and statue of David Davies and head right along the road. Before you reach a roundabout cross the road with care so you are heading in the same direction along a pedestrian way next to a cycleway. Some 2.2 miles, 38 minutes, after leaving the railway station turn right along a road where you see a Docks sign (ST 12967/68463). This next section is on a private road which is driven and walked along by members of the public. Keep ahead, ignoring a turning to the right, to cross a railway line which is still in use but is supervised if a train is imminent. At a roundabout keep straight ahead to meet a second roundabout 50 yards beyond. (50 mins, 2.84 miles).

Keep straight ahead beyond this roundabout following the road as it passes a container park on the left. When the road forks sharp right keep ahead along a winding road and before you reach a building on the right, head left over rough ground to get to the foreshore which is just 20 yards away. (ST13458/67148, 55 mins, 3.11 miles). 

Looking East from Bendrick Rock

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This is a small rocky and sandy bay - the rocky headland just to the right is Bendrick Rock and just to the right of an old disused slipway are some genuine dinosaur footprints shown in this photo. Dinosaur Footprints.jpg (161662 bytes) Now, head to the left, the sea on your right, along large slabs of rock to pick up a cliff-top path with wire fence on left, the path veering left to meet the fence and then heading alongside it, later enclosed by hedgerows. You pass a low white building with colourful murals which is Ty Hafan, the Children's Hospice in Wales. After 1.3 miles with a wall ahead and bench on right turn right to reach the foreshore and then left along a pebbly path with houses on your left. You pass a rugby pitch and just beyond this is a topograph to the left of the path. Pass more houses on the left and a larger playing field area. Head along the right-hand edge towards a caravan park. When you reach it head left up the playing field until you get to the end of the conifers where a kissing gate brings you onto a road. Head right down this road to get to the Captains Wife pub and restaurant. (ST16727/67477, 1 hr 41 mins, 5.59 miles)

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Rocky foreshore with Sully Island in the distance, causeway under water

NOTE: The route to Lavernock described here does not take the footpath shown on the OS map which runs along St Mary's Well bay as this is currently (2006) impassable after a cliff fall. The footpath is open either end - the photo below is taken from the path - but there is a gap in the middle with barriers. At low tide much of the route, particularly from Lavernock to Penarth, is accessible along the beach but some sections are rocky or bouldery.

From the Captains Wife continue along the coast through the car park and follow the road at first level, then winding gently uphill. Pass a caravan park with St Mary's Well bay not visible beyond it and after 15 minutes (0.88 miles) just past the entrance to this - the Bay Caravan park - turn right along a trackway into a field with metal fence on right and tennis courts beyond this. Keep along the left-hand edge of the field. After 250 yards follow the hedge boundary as it curves to the right and then left to reach a stile in left-hand corner of the field. With the hedgerow now on your right head towards the large cream house ahead to pick up a path with chippings to the right of the house. A stile brings you to the road - head right along this passing a chalet site on right which gives access to the Marconi Inn. Continue on the road passing the church of St Lawrence which has a plaque on the perimeter wall to Guglielmo Marconi and George Kemp. The road ends as you pass Lavernock House on your left, becoming a path which heads left along the cliffs (2 hrs 13 mins, 7.39 miles)

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St Mary's Well Bay with Sully Island beyond - the bay not visible from the route

Good views open up ahead around the coast of South Wales with the second Severn Crossing visible on a clear day. The path reaches a greensward after 18 minutes - continue along the path to reach a parking area with children's play area, public toilets and a cafe/restaurant which is open most of the year. (2 hrs 41 mins, 8.7 miles, ST18638/70467)

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Looking East towards Penarth

From the car park, continue along the cliff-top path which descends to pass cafes, restaurants and shops and then Penarth pier which may be offering fish and chips etc. It is possible at low tide to get round the headland on the beach but it is rocky in places. Our route follows the road as it curves left uphill. Turn right into the grounds of a large house known as the Kymin, keeping to the left and after some steps take the path to the left, almost doubling back, to leave the grounds via some metal railings. (Instead of entering the Kymin you can take the path on the right just beyond the vehicular entrance to the Kymin). Head right up this path and then right when you meet a road - Kymin Terrace. Head right at the next road junction which is Bradford Place and then turn right into Clive Crescent. At the end a gate set in metal railings brings you into a small grassy area with benches and fine coastal views.

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Left, Penarth Pier. Right, Cardiff Bay barrage locks.

Leave the grassy area by another gate, half-way up, and walk along a street - Penarth Headland. At the end turn right and after 50 yards follow the road as it curves left and descends with views of Cardiff Bay opening up ahead. Stay on this road - St Augustine's Crescent - later becoming St Augustine's Road. The road levels and just past Northcliffe Drive follow the road right as it descends past No Entry signs, then right again as you meet another road, still descending. Keep ahead when you reach a roundabout and then curve left to cross the Cardiff Bay barrage locks. If lock-gates are about to open there may be a short delay before you can proceed. A Water Bus stopping-off point is on your left and land train bus-stop later on your right. Continue across the barrage either alongside the road or the bay. Two white sails mark a performance area and across the bay you can see the Millennium arts centre (bronze building with curved roof), the Assembly Building just to the right with white air vent and the small white Norwegian church further right. Just beyond a children's play area is another land-train bus-stop, then a new pale grey building, which has toilets (ST 19346/73528, 3 hrs 26 mins, 11.03 miles), and beyond this a track with fencing either side allows you to walk through to Cardiff via the Norwegian Church between 7am and 8pm. 

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Left, path across the barrage. Right, band-stand with Bay buildings in the distance.

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Route Map