Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes &
Webmaster, Angus McDonald
Last updated 27.04.04
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Porthcawl Short and Long Walks
We have two walks starting at Newton, near Porthcawl, which can be taken individually or combined in a figure of eight. The shorter walk of 6 miles is mainly in the dune system of Merthyr Mawr and the going can be slow. Route-finding is also not that easy. The longer walk of 9.6 miles is much faster going involving country lanes, footpaths, beaches and you pass 3 ancient wells on the way. Combining the two gives a walk of 15.6 miles. There are two pubs at the start but otherwise no refreshments or toilets on the short walk although you might be lucky and find an ice-cream van at the Merthyr Mawr car park. Similarly the longer walk is short on toilets and refreshments although once you get to the sea-front at Porthcawl there is an abundant supply of café’s, ice-creams etc.
OS Explorer 151, Grid Ref: SS 83597/77487
To get to the start aim for Newton which is at the Eastern end of Porthcawl. Park anywhere near the village green, the Ancient Briton Pub or the 12th Century church.
For a map showing how to get to the start click here
Left, the Ancient Briton from the green. Right, St John's Church
With your back to the Ancient Briton pub turn left to head along Church Street which passes the Church of St John the Baptist on the right and the Jolly Sailor pub on the left. Next you pass allotments on the right. As you reach level with the end of the allotments and before Bryneglwys Avenue take the tarmac footpath to the left. Where the track splits go ahead to a waymark sign by a road and metal gate. Cross the road keeping straight ahead and then another road still going ahead. There is a tall overgrown hedge to the left and the path becomes stony. After a while on the open common land you see a path off to the right but keep straight ahead – you are now walking on sand. At a junction of paths take the left path, slightly grassier. (10 mins).
The path goes gently uphill. After a while the path runs alongside a field on your left and enters a coppiced area of trees. Ignore the path off to the right and pass through two upright metal girders. 50 yards further on fine views open up to the right, whilst our path keeps to the left alongside the hedge. You pass a large house on the left and as you get level with the end of the garden (SS 84985/77549, 1.14 miles, 20 mins) the path turns sharp right and winds its way through the sand downhill. At a junction of paths turn left following the clear route continuing downhill. Just after you cross over some dark grey stones underfoot you come to an open grassy area. There are two paths off to the left, the second by a wooden post, but take the nearer path to the left, 5 yards this side of the post, winding uphill. Look ahead to note a heavily tree-covered valley which is the direction of our route. Ignore a path going off to the left and paths joining from the right – more coppiced trees on the left. You emerge from the trees and pass through a wooden kissing gate with a waymark post marked Glamorgan Heritage Coast. At the next junction take a right fork bringing you to a second wooden kissing gate. The path curves to the right, the fence on your right.
Through the woods, carpeted with bluebells in May
Go through a third wooden kissing gate, the fence now on your left. Fork right as the fence heads off to the left, the path bringing you shortly to a stone wall. Pass through a fourth kissing gate with a large gate to the left, now turning right towards Candleston. (SS 86593/77822, 2.37 miles, 45 mins).
Left, Candleston Castle. Right, view from within.
After 20 yards take the left fork following the path which curves and then descends, becoming sandy, to a track (SS 87047/77636, 2.68 miles, 54 mins). Go right towards Candleston on the wide and often sandy track. After a while you come to a rough car parking area at which point look to the left and a short ascent brings you to Candleston Castle (SS 87136/77228). Return to the car park which you cross heading for a wide sandy area of dune. Go over a stream at the bottom of the car park and ascend through the middle of the sand, aiming for some short wooden stumps. From the top you can look across to Ogmore opposite. From the top of this sandy area take the right hand path of the two ahead and as the path descends keep to the left-hand side of the clump of trees. From the crest of any high dune you should be able to see the Coastguard centre at Ogmore on the coast. You need to aim to the right of this heading along a bit of a valley with the highest ground on your right. The general direction is South West. If you head towards the South you will come to the Ogmore River – no problem, just turn right and follow the river to the beach. Either way you should eventually come out on to the beach. (SS 85903/76261, 4.25 miles, 1hr 30 mins).
Left, looking across to Ogmore, Coastguard centre top left. Right, on the beach looking back to Ogmore.
Turn right and head along the beach. Just before you get to the houses you cross some large slabs of concrete and just before you get to the huge rectangular boulders head to the right off the beach towards two large green portacabins (SS 83935/77024, 5.74 miles) which are close to an area used for car parking. Go diagonally right across the car park to meet the road and then turn right along the road. After a few minutes walking you will see the Village green where we started. At the beginning of the green on the right is Sandford’s Well. (6.18 miles, 2 hrs 10 mins)
With your back to the Ancient Briton pub go to the left and then head up the road, Clevis Hill. Head up and then downhill until you get to a main road. Turn right along the road, past a Bus Stop and head towards a roundabout sign. We need to go straight across at the roundabout so keep to the right side of the road as you approach and cross when safe to do so. Once across the road turn left to pick up the country lane, Tyn-y-caeau Lane, off the roundabout. After about 15 minutes walking this lane comes to a T junction with a stone stile straight opposite. Cross the stile and go ahead across the field, aiming for the left-hand corner where the hedge and wall ahead meet the line of trees on the left (SS 82664/78526). Cross the stone stile with two metal bars and head along the right-hand edge of the field. (20 mins).
Go through a metal kissing gate and 50 yards further on the path curves to the right through a gap in the hedge, crossing another stone stile with metal bars. Follow the right-hand edge of the field. When you are about 40 yards from the hedge on the field boundary ahead of you and the hedge you were following curves to the right go straight ahead to find an inconspicuous stile, stone and metal bars, about 20 yards from the right-hand corner of the field in the hedge (SS 82434/78295). Cross this to reach a road and then another stile on the far side of the road. Go ahead across the field aiming for a metal gate with stone stile alongside. Go over the stile and head left along the pavement by the road. Just past a stone bus shelter on the far side of the road and before the roundabout cross the road with care and if you head down a grassy slope you will find the well of Y Ffynnon Fawr (SS 82227/78074).
The well of Y Ffynnon Fawr
We need to go back down the road we have just come along but staying on this side of the road with the path running through trees just on the edge of the field on your left. Just before you come level with a pale coloured house to your left on the far side of the field look out for a stone stile on your left. (If you miss this and come out on a road just turn left up the road which the correct route brings you onto). Cross the stile and head diagonally right across the field to another stile just to the left of a solitary tree. Cross this onto the road and turn left along the road a short way before turning right along Moor Lane. This lane eventually curves to the right and then to the left at which point look out for the Ffynon Dewi well on the left which looks at first like a pile of stones. Just past the well a road joins from the right but keep left towards a railway arch. (45 mins).
Pass the Brodawel camping park on the left. Just by a large farm and farm buildings our road curves to the left to meet a main road. Cross this and then go over a wooden stile by a metal gate onto the rough track opposite (1 hr, 3.04 miles, SS 80951/79566). Go along this track which eventually brings you to the ochre-coloured Sker House. Go through the farm yard and look out for stone steps on your left. Go over these and head down the rough track to your left heading towards the sea with Sker House on your left. (1 hr 15 mins).
Go to the left of the pond on the left of the track and head diagonally left until you reach the sea front. You now head towards Porthcawl with the sea on your right and stone wall on left. The grassy area narrows, you cross a metal stile, the golf course on your left. At the end of the golf course the path goes through a gap in the stone wall onto concrete and then a grassy area. A little way to the left is a car park with ice-cream van usually in attendance in season. Keep ahead, passing the Life Guard station (1 hr 57 mins, 5.94 miles, SS 80440/78092) and then head to the right onto the ridge above the beach, known as Lock's Common. Eventually you run out of grass and gorse and head along the Promenade (2 hrs 10 mins)
From Locks Common, looking back along our route towards Sker
There is another short patch of grass and then more Promenade. At the end of the Prom follow the road as it curves to the left and immediately after the harbour take the road which curves to the right and then left with the beach, Sandy Bay, now on your right (2 hrs 35 mins, 7.64 miles, SS 81995/76557). Head towards the Fun Fair ahead with caravan park stretching to the right. As you get to the end of the beach turn right into the Fun Fair area and after a few yards right again down some steps onto the beach. Head left along the beach aiming for a concrete ramp at the far end. Go up the ramp and then either down the far side to cross the beach, Trecco Bay, or go left and skirt the beach on a path with the caravans on your left. If you are on the beach, just before the end of the caravans, leave the beach to go right along the path by the caravans which then joins a road which curves to the left. Keep ahead with beach on right and caravans on left followed by houses on left. You pass Bay View road on the left. Keep going along this road which brings you back to the Village Green. If you have not done the Merthyr Mawr walk look out for Sandfords Well on the right as you get to the Village Green. (3 hrs 10 mins, 9.64 miles).
Map of walk