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

Webmaster, Angus McDonald

Last updated  17.06.04

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Porthkerry Park Circular

A 4/5 mile walk starting in Porthkerry Country Park, Barry, skirting the edge of the town and then back into the country. Park in the car park at the far end of Porthkerry Park (chargeable in season) (OS Explorer 151 - grid ref. 086669). Café and toilets by the car park and toilets opposite the Roman Villa. Mostly easy walking but several steps and some short muddy stretches after rain. Part of this walk and the historical notes are taken from the the leaflet ‘Old Barry’ produced by the Vale of Glamorgan Council but currently out of print. Route checked 17th June, 2004.

For a map showing how to get to the start click here


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From the beach looking back to the car park with the woods and Golden Stairs to the right

From the car park take the path towards the sea with the pitch and putt course on your right. Just before the path turns to the right go straight ahead towards the trees across the stream over a concrete bridge and follow the path to the right with the stream on your right. The path becomes concrete and just as it emerges from the trees take the steps to your left leading up through the trees. There are quite a few of these steps (known as Golden Stairs from the once-abundant primroses and the setting sun which illuminates the steps in the evenings). At the top carry on with the cliff edge to your right, ignoring a path off to your left before finally emerging onto a wide greensward. Keep ahead along the greensward with the sea and tree-lined cliff to your right. After a while the greensward descends with fine views ahead over Barry.

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          The view ahead over Barry             The view looking back to Porthkerry

Keep to the right-hand edge of the greensward as it descends and at the bottom aim for a path with steps and a white house to your left (25mins). Keep along this path with the houses on your left and the pebble-strewn beach (The Knap) to your right. You pass the site of a Roman Villa (Glan-Y-Mor) on your left and on the right of the path is a toilet block. At the bottom carry on along the sea front promenade passing Marine Lake (shaped like a Welsh Harp) on your left. At the end go up onto the grassy area, Cold Knap Point, where there are fine views (this was an island in the 17th Century and has Bronze Age burials). Retrace your steps to the promenade but this time turn right past the old Lifeguard Station. During 2004 the area to the left with the old swimming pool was being landscaped. Turn left on the edge of the bay heading towards some houses. To the right you will see the old Watchtower on the edge of the beach. You reach a roundabout but note the old white house ahead, Cold Knap Farm. Head up the path with black lamp posts to the left of the Farm house.

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                                            Roman Villa                           Cold Knap Farm

The path emerges on to Cold Knap Way – keep straight ahead until you get to a T junction. Here, turn right on to The Parade and then right into Parade Gardens but going ahead parallel with the road. At the bottom aim for left-hand edge of the blue railings to exit the Gardens. Cross the road and head uphill following the road alongside Giuliano's restaurant. Just before the railway bridge cross the road so you are continuing on pavement. At the road junction cross the road carefully heading up St Nicholas Road with St Nicholas Church on your left and then St Nicholas Church Hall on right. Just before the Threshers Wine shop (the building is Barry’s oldest shop, 1860) turn left (Old Village Road). On the right you pass a cottage and some terraced houses – all that remains of the old village of Barry (this area inhabited since the 12th Century). Keep ahead ignoring road to the left until you get to a complex road junction where you keep in the same direction aiming for some prominent ruins along Park Road. The ruins are Barry Castle (1 hr 5 mins).

Beyond the castle where the road curves to the right keep straight ahead down Porth Y Castell road. After 40 yards turn right up Westwood Rise. Go along this road until you meet footpaths crossing the road. This is just after a house number 82 with blue metal gates. Take the footpath to the right through the hedge, down some concrete steps and take the path to the left. After 80 yards the path branches – take the right-hand path gently descending through the trees. At the bottom the path curves to the left. To your left the woodland is called Cliffwood. You pass the ruins of Cliffwood Cottage on your right.

On emerging into Porthkerry Park you can either turn left which takes you back to the car park or continue the walk by heading diagonally right, to the right of the white cottage, and aim for the road tunnel. Go under the bridge and immediately turn left following the yellow waymark (‘Circular Walk’) alongside a metal gate up an often muddy path. The railway line is to your left. The path goes up some wooden steps and then after a wooden stile, emerges on to a field. Go diagonally left across the field, aiming for a house in the corner of the field where there is a wooden stile (1 hr 35 mins). 10 yards ahead is another wooden stile. Keep down left-hand edge of field. At the end of the field follow the edge as it curves to the right. Just by a metal gate on your left cross the stile and hug the right-hand edge of the field to the next stile a short distance ahead which you cross. Now descend down the left-hand edge of the field.

At the bottom of the field (can be muddy) you will see a ruined building just to the right covered in ivy. Follow the direction of the waymark sign heading slightly right as you pass the ruin to a bridge over a stream. Over the bridge and then turn left aiming for the wooden stile in the hedge ahead. Cross this and another stile next to it. After 50 yards take the stone bridge re-crossing the stream to your left following the waymark. Then turn right aiming for the bottom of the field with the trees to your left. At the bottom left-hand corner is a wooden stile by a metal gate. Cross stile and continue down the path to the right with stone wall to the left. Cross a small stream via a wooden bridge and then emerge on to a metalled road, (turning left here brings you directly back to the car park). Head left down the road but after 5 yards take the stile to your right heading across the field towards the trees. Take the right-hand edge of the field and at the bottom you will see a waymark. Take the path which ascends steeply along the right-hand edge of the wood through the trees (2 hours).

The path emerges on to a small greensward. Keep straight ahead towards the church (13th Century, dedicated to St. Curig, restored 1867). Just before the church turn left following the footpath sign and where the road splits take the left-hand fork. Just before the house at the end of the drive turn left down a clearly-marked red footpath sign which drops down through the trees. Keep ahead following the waymark sign when it crosses another path and at the bottom emerge on to the pitch and putt area. Head back to the car park aiming for the right-hand end of the pitch and putt building. (2 hrs 10 mins).


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Map of Walk

Alternative route

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Quarry reclamation work at Rhoose Point, the most Southerly point on the mainland of Wales

When you get to the small greensward (see last para) turn right along the country lane passing farm buildings on your right. When you reach the main road turn left walking along the pavement - this junction is a popular spot to watch planes landing at Cardiff International Airport. Carry on into the village of Rhoose, straight on at first roundabout and left exit at second roundabout. Turn left down Station Road by a Spar shop, cross the railway line and keep ahead down a concrete path towards the sea. When you reach the beach turn left across a wooden bridge and keep walking along the cliff with the sea to your right. To your left a major reclamation project is taking place in the old quarry. You pass Rhoose Point, the most Southerly point in Wales. Eventually and after following a signposted diversion you reach a tarmac road by a caravan park. Turn left along it to go through the caravan park. At the far end turn right off the road when you see a waymarked track to the right going through a gap in the trees - this is the Bulwarks. You emerge onto a field - go ahead but slightly right aiming for a path which drops downhill through trees. This meets the pebbles of Porthkerry beach - turn left to follow the footpath signs back into Porthkerry Park and to the car park. This excursion takes around 1 hr 30 mins, an extra 4 miles, 6 kms.

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Looking back along the coast towards Barry in the distance