Ferryside to Kidwelly – Wales Coast Path

We were slightly confused with the leap into summertime – the clocks had changed, but we were still out on the path at 7am! A footpath closed sign at the start of the walk soon cleared any cobwebs.

If you like to walk up steps then cover this section from the Kidwelly end, and if you prefer going down steps then approaching the walk from Ferryside might be easier on your knees.

A fresh breeze and early morning sunshine, even the farms we walked past were quiet, dozy sheep stare at us with a startled expression. This early morning start could become a bit of a habit.

The X11 bus from Carmarthen services this route very well.

Burry Port to Kidwelly – Wales Coast Path

We stayed in a very “tidy” apartment by the harbour in Burry Port booked through AirBnB, over looking the beach and with stunning views of the Worms head and Gower in the distance. It is also within a stone’s throw of the Parson Pickles factory, housed in an old tinplate building. Will be going to see if they have a factory shop in the morning!

Coal, copper, silver and lead used to be shipped from this harbour.

References to Amelia Earhart regularly appear in the town – she flew with two companions from Trepassy in Newfoundland in June 1928 – taking just over 21 hours. They only had 50 gallons of fuel left when they landed. In 1932 she flew solo across the Atlantic and then in 1937 disappeared without a trace.

Pembrey Country Park was already buzzing with dog walkers and cyclists as we set off on our walk . This is a great space for outdoor enthusiasts, it even has a ski slope.

My favourite stretch on this route is the Cefn Sidan (Silky Back) sands. I found a map listing the shipwrecks along this shore, I gave up counting after 70 wrecks. Some can still be seen along the shore. Josephine’s (wife of Napoleon) niece is at rest in the local church after the sinking of La Jeune Emma.


Burry Port to Penclawdd – Wales Coast Path


Staying in Burry Port , my imagination was fired by the tales of “Gwyr y Bwelli Bach” – Men of the small hatchets – these were the tight knit band of local families who looted the cargo of the many shipwrecks along this coast. Survivors of the wrecks must have been horrified, having survived the cruel seas, to then be confronted by this determined bunch of reprobates.

Much of the walk is along the Millennium Coastal Path, the huge power station that dominated this area has been demolished, and the heavy industry which dominated the area has been replaced with 13 miles of leisure walkways, cycle trails, several nature reserves and a Nicklaus designed golf course at Machynys.

The old Strade Park, has given way to a housing complex, but the goalposts with the traditional sospan fach, a nod to the tinplate industry in Llanelli, marks the spot.

Penclawdd on the other hand is the centre of the cockle picking area, a photograph in a pub in Burry Port showed a woman and her donkey on the sands in Penclawdd – the women have now been replaced by men on tractors licensed to pick!

The walk was helped along by brilliant sunshine, sparkling seas, blue skies and the very friendly locals.

Penclawdd to Cwm Ivy, Llanmadoc, Gower – Wales Coast Path

We are currently using Walking the Wales Coastal Path – (written by Paddy Dillon) – published by Cicerone, as our main guide for our walks.

We drop off luggage at AirBNB cottage, described as such but really, a terrace house in Penclawdd. Then park one car at Crofty and drive to the Cwm Ivy car park just beyond Llanmadoc.

A bit of a false start, as when we got to the Groose, a dyke traversing the marsh there were diversion notices. The sea wall had collapsed in 2014, and decision by partnership bodies regarding the best solution to the problem is yet to be taken

We did walk down to inspect the damage, and indeed it was wiser to retrace our steps and change our route. Unfortunately, the tide hadn’t quite reached its lowest ebb enabling us to cross the marshes, so we took to the red route, the indicator for the Alternative route when the tide is high.

Muddy underfoot, with pleasant blue sky and some cloud, we made our way companionably across the Landimore salt marsh, skirting Weobley Castle, a 14th century fortified Manor House.

We met 5 ladies from London, checking their Land-ranger maps, and gave them the benefit of our recent experience and diversions.

Squelching our way along, past curious sheep and horses to Llanrhidian marshes, the landscape seems primeval, we fantasise about creatures from the deep and dark rising up.

I think it was a dung heap covered in Toad Stools that triggered off a distant memory of the “Verry Volk” that roam these parts. In my part of Wales we would call them “Tylwyth Teg” I half expected to turn a corner and see a group of pixies in red and green dancing a jig – I stuck to the path for fear of squishing the wee ones!

Our walk through to Crofty was uneventful – we crossed over to the processing plant for Penclawdd Cockles, before reaching the car.

We were delighted to see them as a starter on the menu at the Railway Inn, Penclawdd that evening. My main course was Burry Port Mussels, although I had to ask if they were local, as it wasn’t highlighted on the menu! Simple local food, cooked well, what more could you want after a long walk.

Cwm Ivy, Llanmadoc to Rhossili – Wales Coast Path

Early start in bright sunshine, a perfect walking day. Started off by driving to Rhossili, parking one car in the National Trust car park – membership of the National Trust comes in handy, as we have a number of NT car parks in Wales around the coast which are free to members.

Back to Cwm Ivy car park, and a stop for coffee and the toilet before heading off. The delightful, friendly owner opened up for us early, and we had time to browse in the shop, some super locally crafted items.

I was wishing that we had popped in at the end of our walk so I could indulge in a little retail therapy, when I was diverted by the smell of freshly baked scones, yummie!

We were determined to walk around Whitford Burrows through the dunes at Whitford Point, walk along the beach and then head up Hill Tor, rather than take the alternative short cut avoiding the Point.

If you are walking in these parts, take time to include the whole stretch, you will be rewarded by a rich mix of forest, marsh, dunes and beach, and a clear view of the Whitford Point lighthouse, the only cast iron water lighthouse left in Britain.

Our walk continues, we run into the London ladies we had met the previous day looking far more relaxed, we are not walking through long stretches of mud today!

We finally reach Rhossili bay with the tantalising Worm’s Head, a constant land mark in the distance as we walked the Carmarthen coastline and we now have the Worm in our sights.

The joy of taking off my boots and walking bare foot in the sand, sadly to have to put them back on to walk the final mile to St Mary’s Church.

Rhossili to Horton, Gower – Wales Coast Path

Early morning and a cold start to the day. We parked one car at Horton and another at Rhossili. We started the walk from the National Trust car park and headed down towards the Worm.

Unfortunately it is high tide, so we did not walk the length of the Worm.

We were not able to get down to Paviland cave either due to the tide. Paviland is where the skeleton known as the Red Lady of Paviland was discovered in 1823. The so called red lady has subsequently been identified as a man! The skeleton has been dated to be 29,000 years old. After today’s walk I feel that old too! There are quite a few ascents and descents on this leg of the Wales Coast Path.

The sun burns through, we regularly stop to take in the landscape – the heavy, pungent smell of the yellow gorse, I wonder if Jo Malone has a candle to match.

The sea crashing on rocks, the haunting sound of the bell on a lone life buoy way out to sea, the sun sparkling on the ocean – a fishing boat comes into view, a bumble bee hums as it dives into the gorse flowers. Lucy bursts into spontaneous song, and we all join in.

All is well with the world.

Southgate to Horton, Gower – Wales Coast Path

Bright sunshine early morning in Cardiff, but grey on the Gower.

Despite the sea mist spring is unfurling, may blossom and gorse in full glory, a yellow carpet of primrose in the woods, soon to be replaced by brilliant bluebells, already in early bloom.

We walked down towards the Three Cliffs, before turning towards Pennard Castle. Legend has it that this 12century castle was engulfed in sand, because the owner at the time refused to let the Fairy folk dance at his wedding. To add to the spookiness the castle is also to home to Gwrach y Rhibyn – the witch of the mist….

Taking account of the low tide, we shadow the stream at Pennard Pill and cross over the stepping stones.  Wales Coast Path takes you through Oxwich Burrows, the beach sadly is out of sight most of the time.

The more challenging part of the walk comes after we passed St. Illtyd’s Church. If you have time explore this 14century church. There is a dried up well in the corner of the grave yard, and the story is that a white horse – ceffyl dwr, water horse has been seen disappearing into the well.

More ghostly Gower tales!

Heading into the woods you now encounter steps, up and down they go – a total of 440 – we were glad to have rounded Oxwich Point and on the home run to Horton,only to be confronted by a diversion. It wasn’t a very long detour but it is the last thing you want to see near the end of a hike.

A narrow path between houses leads us into the village of Horton down hill to the car park and the end of our walk.

Langland Bay to Southgate – Wales Coast Path

Rain, high winds and hail and muddy underfoot – it took an age to complete the walk between Langland and Pennard.

At one stage we had bruising hail stones hitting us hard in the face. Turning a corner the wind caught my jacket and I thought I was going to fly right off the cliff edge.

Surfers were still out to play though, the scenery was spectacular and walking through such inclement weather was exhilarating.

We cut short the walk and with wet weather gear drying off nicely, it was time for a well deserved hot chocolate and brandy.

Swansea to Langland Bay – Wales Coast Path

We were joined on this leg of the walk by our friend Enikő Benedek.

It was raining when we arrived in Swansea, but we sat in the car until the shower cleared. It was also blustery on the marina in Swansea, but we managed to avoid the rain by stopping for coffee in the Mumbles.

The walk took us along the fitness trail through the Mumbles, bringing back memories of the Mumbles mile, and onto the Gower Peninsula, the first Area of Outstanding Beauty in Britain, designated in 1956.

Heather, gorse, crocus, daffodils, daisies and snowdrops – spring had sprung.

We ended our walk in Langland Bay, and coincidentally managed to leave Swansea just after the footie kick off, avoiding traffic. Great to be out in the fresh air.

It was great to have Eniko join us for the walk – such a joy when friends walk together.

Aberavon to Trafalgar bridge, Swansea – Wales Coast Path

Leaving the beach we head over Baglan Burrows – a mix of salt marsh and brackish marsh, reed beds, and shrublands, the dunes are gouged with tyremarks from illegal motorbike riders – I can understand the attraction but it must play merry hell with the plant and wildlife.

Past the power station and pipeline we soon see Brunel Tower, named after the designer of Briton Ferry docks – Sir Mark Brunel – not much here now to denote how busy this dockland was in the 19th century

A bit of banter with three middle aged cyclists before crossing the Briton Ferry bridge, where Lucy recounts the time when her Dad had a car accident on the bridge, and her mother only found out about it when she saw the car on the news. One can only imagine the consternation in the O’Donnell household.

Before we headed under the M4, we sneaked a look over the edge of the bridge to have a good look at what exactly sits in that little triangle between the M4 and A48……some moored boats, a couple of houses and a fire station.

We marvelled at the pillars shoring up the M4 – you don’t fully appreciate the engineering that goes into our roads until you walk over and under them!

We followed the A483 for a while, and we’re glad to turn off this busy road to Jersey Marine and the quieter stretch of the Tennant Canal, previously known as the Glan y Wern and used to transport coal.

We skirt around the Park and Ride car park before ending up in the SA1 area of Swansea.

Crossing the Trafalgar Bridge, Lucy and I are feeling pretty smug having completed the South Wales section of the Wales Coastal path -114miles/184km.

We felt we fully deserved lunch at the Grape and Olive – with great views from the high rise location