It’s a well-known fact that heading outside for a mindful meander through nature is one of the best ways to improve both your physical and mental health. Whatever your age or ability, re-discover Bridgend’s beautiful beaches and dramatic sea views by foot with one of these wonderful coastal walks.
1. Shipwrecks, sand-dunes and orchids
Uncover the coastal beauty of Bridgend’s beaches on the 3-mile walk between Rest Bay and Kenfig Nature Reserve passing shipwrecks, rare orchids, and some of northern Europe’s highest sand dunes.
Starting from Rest Bay’s car park, head West on the Wales Coast Path past the greens of Royal Porthcawl Golf Club to enjoy the fantastic views across Swansea Bay. At the rugged headland of Sker Point, sharp eyes might be able to spot the remains of the 1947 shipwreck which inspired R.D Blackmore’s novel The Maid of Sker. Continue onwards to past the natural haven of Kenfig Sands, adored for its incredibly rare colourful orchids, insect population and some of Europe’s largest sand dunes.
Difficulty | Medium
Distance | 5km | www.visitbridgend.co.uk/activities/walk-rest-bay-to-kenfig-nature-reserve
2. Uncover the secrets of Kenfig Nature Reserve
Spend the day exploring the sandy trails of the Site of Special Scientific Interest, Kenfig Nature Reserve. Recognised as one of Wales’ top active sand-dune reserves, grab your binoculars and watch wading birdlife on your winding walk through the wild landscape. Spot Golden Plovers, Tufted Duck and Gadwalls land in the waters of Kenfig Pool, the second largest natural freshwater lake in South Wales. Follow the Sker beach circular walk for a longer journey leading back inland towards the reserve’s meadows and woodlands where dragonflies and insects can be seen hovering amongst wildflowers.
Difficulty | Easy
Distance | Variable | www.visitbridgend.co.uk/activities/walk-kenfig-nature-reserve
3. Family-friendly strolls along the sands of Trecco Bay
If you’re looking to get the entire family out and about, consider a coastal stroll beside the sands of Trecco Bay. Soak up the last of the summer sun and dive into traditional seaside fun along the Wales Coast Past. Starting from the popular family-friendly destination of Trecco Bay Holiday Park, head west along sandy paths towards the colourful rides, roller coasters and games that overlook the sands of Coney Beach.
Little ones will love playing in the golden sands before continuing the walk along the Eastern Promenade to Porthcawl’s charming Marina. End your walk with a bite to eat at one of the many coastal dining spots serving up everything from delicious wood-fired pizzas to freshly-caught fish dishes.
Difficulty | Easy
Distance | 3km | www.visitbridgend.co.uk/activities/walk-trecco-bay-to-porthcawl-marina
4. Hike past castle’s and over dunes on the Heritage coastline
The Glamorgan Heritage Coast offers up no shortage of Blue Flag beaches, fascinating prehistoric geology sites and pretty lighthouses. Embark on the eight mile section between Porthcawl and Ogmore-by-Sea and pass atmospheric castles, picturesque villages and soak up views which reach the banks of North Devon.
Starting from Ogmore-by-Sea, walk inland along the banks of the River Ogmore and explore the ancient castle ruins. Rejoin the Wales Coast Path and head back towards the coastline through the wilderness of Merthyr Mawr Nature Reserve. Put your leg muscles to the test by ascending the Big Dipper before continuing through the pretty village of Newton and onwards to the beaches of Porthcawl. Finish your adventure at Porthcawl Lighthouse, overlooking the colourful harbour, and grab a well deserved drink.
Difficulty | Medium - Hard
Distance | 8km | www.visitbridgend.co.uk/activities/walk-ogmore-to-porthcawl
5. River Ogmore and Merthyr Mawr
Starting amongst the wild terrain banks of Merthyr Mawr’s coastal sand dunes, follow the flowing waters of the River Ogmore inland, ascending the lower banks of the rolling green valley. Following the riverside trail, passing through the pretty village of quaint thatched cottages towards the atmospheric ruins of Ogmore Castle.
Hop across the stepping stones which cross the shallows of the Ewenny River. Greet neighbouring ponies which graze beside the norman remains before hiking onwards the tranquil Craig-y-Parcau woodlands. Walk through the autumnal ash and oak trees and pick wild blackberries that grow amongst the thistle hedgerows.
Difficulty | Medium - Hard
Distance | 9km | www.visitbridgend.co.uk/activities/walk-river-ogmore-and-merthyr-mawr