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

Webmaster, Angus McDonald

Last updated 3.3.03

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Kenfig to Margam circuit

A circuit from Kenfig to Margam and back on footpaths, country lanes, trackways, beach and dunes. The distance is 15.6 miles, 25 Kms, but the going is mostly flat and route-finding straightforward. The beginning and end of the route follows much of the Kenfig walk and also part of Margam Walk 1 - on both of these sites you will see more photographs of local features. You pass Ye Old Wine House pub in Pyle and the Abbots Kitchen at Margam. Good stopping points are Margam Park and the dunes alongside Margam and Kenfig sands.

Be prepared to cross the Kenfig River on the return leg as it crosses the beach to the sea. In Summer after a dry spell it may only be a couple of inches deep but in Winter after rain you will need to get your boots and socks off and wade through although it should not be more than 6-8 inches deep. Aim to get to this point at lower tide as the river is shallower as it spreads across the beach. A hand towel is useful.

OS Explorer 151 and 165 are needed to cover the walk.

Park at the Kenfig nature reserve. For a map of how to get to the start click here

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Our route starts to the left of the photo, goes through Margam Park shown here, round Eglwys Nunydd reservoir in the distance and back along the beach at top of photo

From the car park at the Reserve Centre (SS 80157/81033) aim for the bus shelter/toilets building by the road and turn left to follow the road along a tarmac pavement. Pass a caravan park to your left and then good views over Kenfig Pool. Pass the Prince of Wales pub on your right. Ignore the footpath sign by the bus shelter on your left and then 10 yards past a red triangular road sign indicating ‘road curving to the right’ (SS 80390/81936, 0.74 miles), turn left on to the grass and then go diagonally right in the direction of some tall pylons visible in the distance.

The path ascends as you approach some dunes. From the highest spot look ahead across the trees to some factory buildings. To the left-hand edge of the buildings but nearer (within the dune system) you should see some ruins projecting up. You are heading for this point although you will lose sight of it at times. The path descends to the left of the main clump of trees just in front of you, then resumes its original direction with the pylons in the distance. You will also see a tall metal chimney, silver with black top, ahead. The ruins of Kenfig Castle  soon reappear – aim for these, ignoring side paths (SS 80106/82687,1.19 miles, 23 mins).

From the castle, drop down to the wire fence and turn right along a grass path with the fence on your left and towards the large M4 road bridge. Go through a metal kissing gate and under the bridge to meet a tarmac track. Keep ahead along this track to meet a road. Cross the road then turn left along it walking on the grass verge and under a railway bridge. 100 yards beyond the bridge turn right down a rough track with a sign saying Glasfryn Kennels. Keep ahead on this metalled track passing a house and then the kennels on your left. Where the road turns into the kennels, keep ahead onto a green track towards a waymark post. Follow this path with bushes either side and on meeting another track turn left following the waymark direction. Cross a wooden stile into a field and then keep ahead across the field aiming just to the right of the pylons in the distance. You will soon see, just beyond a metal gate, a wooden stile, which you cross to go into some trees (SS 81324/82939). The path now heads to the right downhill and through the trees. Keep ahead when the path emerges from the trees with a stream to your left. Cross the stream via a bridge close to a house, Llanmihangel Farm, and go through a metal gate. Go ahead along the road, passing some old farm buildings on your left. Where the track turns right, cross the wooden stile immediately ahead of you and keep ahead along the rough track through the field, following the line of some telegraph poles towards some metal gates by a railway line. Cross a wooden stile by the first gate and turn right along the track with the railway line on your left. This track was originally used by colliers to get to work and was known as the Black Path. Eventually the track curves right and then left to meet a metal gate. Pass through the gap by the gate and keep ahead along the main track with the river now on your right. You emerge onto a main road in the middle of Pyle and immediately on your right is the church of St James. (1 hr, 3.16 miles, SS 82581/82671).  

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The stile by the ruined building (below)

Cross the road and head left along it towards Ye Old Wine House. Pass this and keep on the pavement as it passes under a bridge. Go past a road turning on the right to reach a layby. At the end of this layby take the footpath to the right and head across the field, aiming to the left of the trees ahead. Cross the stile in the top left-hand corner of the field, which is by a metal gate, and keep ahead along the green track. Pass a waymark post, cross a wooden stile by a metal gate and then another stile and gate, the wire fence on your left. Cross a wooden stile by a ruined building. The next bit can be a bit messy, particularly after rain. The footpath, no longer obvious, keeps ahead along the left-hand edge of the field but pick any route which brings you to the left-hand corner of the field where there is a wooden stile by a metal gate. (SS 83069/83665). Cross the stile and 20 yards beyond turn left along a road. When you come to a road junction, head left along the road, passing under electricity cables. 100 yards beyond this junction as the road curves to the left, turn right between two stone walls with Oakdale Lodge marked on them and head along the track. Pass a red and white metal barrier and then keep straight ahead down a track which descends to cross a stream. Where our rough track curves right to meet a metal gate, keep ahead but slightly left to take the path that leads into the trees. A new housing estate can soon be seen on your left. Keep ahead to cross a track and then a metal gate. From here make your way out into the field to your right and head along the left-hand edge of it with the trees on your left. As you approach an old hedgerow ahead of you, aim slightly right to pass through a gap in it and then aim for the gap in the next line of more mature trees ahead. You are about 100 yards from the trees and houses on your left. Once through this gap look ahead and you will see some stiles stretching ahead into the distance which mark our route. Cross a stile in a wire fence on the far side of a stream with the end of the housing estate on your left. Pass two isolated stiles and another one in a wire fence. Now keep ahead towards the house, cross a wooden stile by a metal gate, then a wooden gate, passing the house on your right and head down the lane. You pass a stile by a metal gate to meet a quiet country lane. (5.66 miles, 1 hr 52 mins, SS 81535/85217).  

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Isolated stiles, the hills of Margam in the distance

Turn right to head up the lane. Pass the entrance to a farm on your right and 50 yards beyond this as the road curves right, uphill and into trees, turn left through large metal gates which bring you into Margam Park, (SS 81884/86159). Keep straight along the track ahead with the steep slope of the hill to your right - this marks the boundary of the South Wales coalfield. The Monks mine is also in the hillside. The stony track then goes into an area of rhododendrons. To the left you can see the large reservoir of Eglwys Nunydd which our route takes us around and further left Kenfig Pool, where we started. At a junction keep on the main stony track to the right, heading gently uphill and then descending. As the track descends more steeply the hillock ahead is the site of an Iron Age Hillfort. At a junction of several tracks (SS 80772/86569, 7.24 miles, 2 hrs 21 mins), take the second track on your right which descends and is waymarked with a purple arrow. As you meet a stream on your right, the track levels, passing a wooden bridge. Keep ahead along the main track and follow it as it turns right across the stream to meet similar metal gates to those through which we entered the park. Continue along the track now to the left, to join a country lane, still keeping left. Pass the monastery fish pond on your left and then glimpses of Margam Abbey church, also on the left. Pass a gatehouse-like building and 100 yards beyond this follow the road left, Cycle Route 4, and immediately right along a road. Turning left at this point would have brought you to the Abbots kitchen, the Margam Stones Museum and the Abbey Church. Close by is Margam Castle which replaced an old house. Keep ahead down this road, ignoring the turning to the right although if you look to the right at this point you will see the Gorsedd stones in the field. Our road meets a main road which you should cross with care by the old Post Office. Turn right along this road on the pavement as it curves left by a large roundabout and cross a road by a blue M4 sign. The pavement takes you over the M4. (8.47 miles, 2 hrs 41 mins, SS 79576/86077).  

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Looking back across Margam moors with Margam in the distance

Cross the exit road from the M4 continuing round the roundabout and then turn left down a road signposted Margam Crematorium. Keep ahead down this road passing the entrance to the Crematorium on your left. Keep on the right of the road where there are the remains of a pavement. The road curves left by the BOC gases plant where it is a little easier to walk on the left of the road. After a straight stretch the road curves right, becoming quieter and more rural and passing the reservoir on your left. Cross a small stone bridge and then several railway lines with care. Go through a small metal gate, keeping in the same direction. Cross a road and head down the lane opposite towards 3 pylons in the distance. You now pass through Margam moors. Next you pass an industrial rollercoaster on your right with its pylons and where the road curves left keep straight ahead across grass and dunes and towards a metal gate. Cross a road and drop down to the beach with fine views to the right towards Swansea and Gower. (10.8 miles, 3 hrs 18 mins, SS 77334/84557).

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Margam sands with Swansea and Gower in the distance

Head left along the beach towards the dunes in the distance. When you reach the Kenfig river which runs across the beach to the sea, wade across and continue ahead along the beach with dunes to your left. You pass the wreck of the Altmark – its ribs showing near the dunes and eventually you will see Sker rocks ahead which completely cross the beach. The game of Bando was played here. Aim to the left where the rocks meet the dunes and pebbles and walk up to a prominent metal sign. (14.2 miles, 4 hrs 16 mins, SS 78990/80118).  

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Very old tree stumps revealed by a low tide near Sker rocks

Keep ahead along the stony track which curves towards the sea to meet a ramshackle stile by a metal gate. Then follow the clear path which curves to the left heading for a large ochre-coloured house which is Sker House. The track passes a pool on your right and then runs past a stone wall. Where the track forks keep ahead with the stone wall to your right. Where the path meets a wire fence turn right and take the stone stile by Sker House. Immediately turn left to head along the track with the wire fence on your left and away from Sker House. Where the main track curves to the right keep ahead over a wooden stile and 50 yards beyond, another wooden stile by a metal gate. Where the track crosses the first fairway – a green is just to your left – keep ahead, leaving the stony path which curves to the right and aiming just to the right of a small dune hillock. This track is at first indistinct but later becomes stony. You should see houses in the distance ahead with the hills beyond. Keep in the same direction as the track crosses several fairways. The path then passes a spinney on your right and you will see the Kenfig visitor centre ahead and slightly left. Pass a car park on your right to reach your start point by the visitor centre. (15.6 miles, 4 hrs 45 mins)

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Map of route