Southerndown to Llantwit Major 6.07.13

A visit to my mother in South Wales allows me a day to do some walking along the south coast. The weather is perfect, a sea mist which will blow away by 10 o’clock, the bus driver assures me – and he’s right. Memories of family holidays come floating through the window of the bus, the smell of sheep and warm grass, the sand dunes where I played with my cousins. Round the corner the lane down to the beach at Southerndown, where early birds are staking their claims with windbreaks and brightly coloured towels.

P1030063

a-plaque-marks-wales-coast-path-284627635-2512521

The coastal path winds steeply up the cliff and from the top I have a wonderful view of the wild sweep of Dunraven Bay (originally Dyndryfan) – vast beaches of golden sand, separated by craggy headlands and behind me, lolling in the sunshine, a herd of cows.

P1030109

Walking along the top of the cliffs I soon come to my first stile, fashioned from stone and concrete with a pretty yellow, white and blue plaque set into the stone – this is the logo of the Wales Coast Path. I am to come across quite a few of these lovely stiles, some of them with perfectly placed stone handles for the weary legged.

After a while the path leaves the cliff edge and dives into a lush green forest, the bright purples, pinks and yellows of wild flowers, nodding in the pools of sunlight – I try a photograph but neither the camera nor myself are up to the job. Another pretty stile leads me out of the cool shade of the forest where I stand blinking in the sun – to my left ancient cliffs of layered limestone and shale lord over a deserted beach.

P1030093

P1030075

Walking on in the hot sun I come to a battered old shed which serves as a family run tea house, Nanny and Grandad settled in white plastic chairs, the one supervising proceedings the other glued to the rugby on the small TV. Coy grandchildren serve me a mug of strong tea which I take with me to the edge of the cliff to lie down for a rest. The faint sound of a bell from the sea puzzles me until I’m told it’s the buoy marking the entrance to the Bristol Channel.

P1030089

P1030086

I walk on and just up the path is Nash Lighthouse, standing proud against the bright blue blue sky, its fog horn making me jump as I walk past. From now on it’s plain sailing along the cliff path down into another wood and following the happy shrieks of children playing in the sea I walk down concrete steps to the beach below the fortress of St. Donats. I am by now so hot and sweaty I tear off my clothes and hurl myself into the waves.  Refreshed I walk on to Llantwit Major, stopping to admire the line up of motorcycles and scooters outside the beach cafe.

P1030105

Twenty minutes later I’m sitting in a bus that will take me back to Cardiff and the train home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s