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

Last updated  16.1.07

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Walks from Cosmeston Country Park

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Cosmeston Lakes Country Park is a good starting point for walks with free parking, toilets and cafe. As well as having firm paths around the park, there is plenty of wildlife to be seen - the lakes with abundant birdlife and meadows and woods with wildflowers and dragonflies. Public rights of way radiate in all directions giving access to Penarth, Sully and Dinas Powys and the coast is just 15 minutes away on foot. Close by is the Cosmeston Mediaeval Village which has won tourism awards.

The area is covered by OS Explorer map 151 and the grid reference for the start is ST 17843/69244. Click here for a map to the start.

Two short walks within the park

Walk 1 - Just three-quarters of a mile. Also suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Facing the lake, head left along a boardwalk, through reeds and with the visitor centre to your left. The boardwalk becomes a winding, stony track. On meeting a track with a post marked 'E 5', head right. Shortly after crossing a bridge over water head right along a broad track which skirts the lake to your right, bringing you back to where you started. (15 mins, 0.77 miles).

Walk 2 - This 2.5 mile walk takes you around the country park. The first half is on good firm paths, the second half a bit less even and muddier after rain. 

Facing the lake, head right following the track around the lake as it curves left. Pass an adventure playground. On meeting a main track with another lake opposite, head right. After about 17 minutes walking turn left by a post marked 'U 20' to pass through a kissing gate. Stay on the track as it later broadens and winds through the trees. Where the path forks by a sign marked 'M 10', head right. Pass another lake and conservation area on your left. Cross a wooden bridge, then meet a main track and head right along it. After 50 yards, by a post marked 'C 9' head left along a concrete track, passing the Mediaeval Village on your right. By a bump in the track and opposite the entrance to the village, turn left over a wooden bridge to follow the track, partly on boardwalk to re-emerge by the car park and visitor centre. ( 47 mins, 2.57 miles).

Longer walks from the park

The longest walk is just under 12 miles or 19 kilometres. You pass the Sully Inn, The Captains Wife pub and restaurant and there are cafes and toilets in Penarth. The going is flat with a total ascent and descent of only 212 metres. After heavy rain you could find Cog Moors quite wet and parts of the cliff path muddy. You can shorten this walk by returning from St Marys Well bay via the red track on the map below which reduces the distance to just over 8 miles. Alternatively you can follow the red track from Cosmeston towards St Marys Well bay and then pick up the long route to Penarth and back - this circuit is 5 miles.

Facing the lake, head left along a boardwalk, through reeds and with the visitor centre to your left. The boardwalk becomes a winding, stony track. On meeting a track with a post marked 'E 5' turn left for 50 yards and then right along a track which crosses a bridge and then skirts another lake to your right. At a junction by a post 'M 10' turn left and head along a broad path winding through trees, ignoring side paths. The track eventually narrows and passes through a wooden kissing gate, 20 yards beyond which is a main track with post 'U 20'. (26 mins, 1.5 miles).

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Left, ancient church of St Peter at Old Cogan. Right, herringbone brickwork.

Head left along this straight track to meet a fork where you turn left, passing a white house, Old Cogan Hall, via a gate. 150 yards beyond and on the right is the ancient church of St Peter with some remaining herringbone brickwork. Carry on to meet a road, then head left along it, taking care as there is no pavement. Where the road turns sharp left, keep straight ahead passing a sign 'No Through Road to Dinas Powys'. Follow a waymark post and then stile and short wooden bridge. Head up the middle of a field with wire fence on left, then left over a gate at top of the field and immediately right by another gate. Keep ahead along right-hand edge of next field passing a white metal gate, a subsequent green gate bringing you onto a road. (45 mins. 2.51 miles, ST 16140/70345).

Head right along the road which eventually descends to meet another road - head left along this for 200 yards to meet a busy main road. Head left along this main road with care for 100 yards then cross the road and head right by a waymark post (ST 15423/70522) to follow a footpath which crosses a stream and then heads left alongside a playing field with a stream to your left. Cross a tarmac entrance to the playing fields keeping ahead along the footpath which rejoins the playing field. Cross a series of stiles and a concrete farm track keeping in the same direction, the main road a little to your left. Just after walking under an electricity line head towards a stile by a black metal bridge and cross this to meet a road. Head right along the road with care. Just before a bridge over a stream head left to drop down and then cross a stile to enter a field, heading diagonal right with the stream on your right.

After crossing a short wooden bridge, look to the left for a stile in a hedgerow. After this head diagonally across the field aiming for the right-hand end of the houses ahead of you where there is a stile (ST 14948/68887). Cross the stile and wooden footbridge, now heading left across the field aiming for a stile this side of a farm barn. Cross a clapper bridge to reach the stile, now heading to the right of the farm buildings to reach a stile by a road. (1 hr 37 minutes, 4.97 miles).

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

Head right along the road into Sully, then right again on meeting another road to pass the Sully Inn. Just before reaching a main road curve left to pass in front of Sully's Parish Church of St John the Baptist. On meeting the main road, head left. 40 yards beyond a wooden bus stop, cross the road to take the footpath opposite via a kissing gate. The path brings you to the beach. Now head left along the top of the beach, passing a playing field, more housing and then a second playing field. Sully Island soon appears in front of you and Flat Holm to the left of it with white lighthouse. Other bumps in the Bristol Channel are Steep Holm beyond Sully Island and to the left, Brean Down in Somerset. As you approach a caravan park, head left along the end of the field past some conifers, at the end of which is a wooden kissing gate which brings you onto a road. Head right to reach the Captains Wife pub and restaurant (2 hrs 7 mins, 6.6 miles,  ST 16735/67467).

Carry on through the car park to pass through a gap in the wall at the far end and head along the coast road. Pass a blue sign indicating Bay Caravan Park. If you are doing the long walk skip to the next paragraph. For the shorter version, carry on along the road, passing under a railway bridge to meet a main road. Cross the main road with care to take the bridleway immediately opposite by a metal gate. Cosmeston Mediaeval Village appears to the right - just past this take the concrete track to the right by a post, 'C 9'. At a bump in the road opposite the entrance to the Mediaeval Village, turn left across a wooden bridge and follow the trackway and boardwalk to reach the car park where you started. (2 hrs 37 mins, 8.26 miles).

To continue on the long walk, just past the blue Bay Caravan Park sign look out for a grassy trackway on your right, just beyond wooden fencing (ST 17514/68061) which leads into a field (2 hrs 22 mins, 7.41 miles). Turn right along this trackway and 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 gap with waymark 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. There are also two entrances on the right to the Lavernock Point Nature Reserve which brings you to the cliff top and good views over St Mary's Well Bay (see photo) but you will need to retrace your steps to the road to carry on. 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.

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St Mary's Well Bay with Sully Island beyond - the bay only visible from the Lavernock Point Nature Reserve

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. 

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Looking East towards Penarth, on the right Penarth Pier.

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. (3 hrs 18 mins, 10.28 miles). When you reach the pier cross the road by the pedestrian crossing to head up Bridgman Road, Windsor Court on your left. As the road curves left, cross the road and head into the park on your right, Alexandra Park, via green gates. If the park is closed, head up the track to the left of the park. Once in the park, head up the tarmac path to the left with the stream (streambed in summer!) on your left. Leave the park via another set of green gates by a concrete bridge and keep straight ahead. A bridge takes you across the stream then head up some steps. On reaching a road with the Job Centre ahead of you, turn left passing the Turner House Gallery on your left, then just past the GM2 building head right along a track with a signpost, Berkley Drive, black railings on your right. Take the next right where the path has around a dozen conifer trees growing in it, the path then curving left with some industrial units on your right.

You are now on the line of the old railway, the extension to the Cardiff to Penarth line which ran to Barry via Lavernock, Swanbridge, Sully, and Cadoxton. Go under a bridge and keep ahead across grass. The track reappears and passes under another bridge. A further bridge brings you to a housing estate. Keep ahead on the pavement then, on meeting a road, head right where you will see the track reappear about 100 yards away. The track goes under another bridge then meets a road crossing it. Head right, downhill, down the road and follow it as it winds through the houses to meet the main Penarth to Sully road. Cross with care opposite a bus stop, head left and then right to re-enter Cosmeston Country Park. (3 hrs 57 mins, 11.9 miles).

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Map of longer routes