Meet the Path Officer - South Wales Coast and Severn Estuary
Tricia Cottnam describes the sheer variety of...
Here are a few of our favourites walks and recommendations showing off the best of the Welsh coastline
Follow the footsteps of the Weatherman Walking, Derek Brockway and try this 5 mile walk around Cardiff Bay. Follow one adventurer’s quest for the South Pole, a Norwegian church and an optical illusion to name but a few sights along this flat and family friendly walk. Mermaid Quay, the waterfront shopping and leisure district in Cardiff provides plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants to help you make the most of your walk.
An Antarctica adventure started here
In a bid to be the first to reach the South Pole, Captain Robert Falcon Scott set sail on the Terra Nova ship from Cardiff port on 15 June 1910.
He and his party did indeed reach it in January 1912, only to find that the Norwegian Roald Amundsen had arrived 3 weeks earlier. However, the trip ended in tragedy, when all 5 of the Terra Nova party lost their lives on their way back.
But don’t let Captain’s Scott’s attempt to venture to the South Pole dampen your adventurous side. Visit the exhibition in the Bay and admire their brave and arduous journey to one of the most inhabitable places on earth.
A bay of culture and history
Cardiff Bay was one of Britain’s three major ports in the 19th century. The Norwegian merchant fleet was the third largest in the world at that time that made Cardiff one of its major centres of its operations.
To serve the religious needs of the Norwegian sailors, a church was built in 1868. This little white church is famous for being the church where the Cardiff born and world renowned children’s novelist, Roald Dahl was baptised.
Spot the optical illusion
If you stand in one certain location on the Cardiff Barrage structures, you will find the “Three Ellipses for Three Locks” also known as “Barrage Circles” designed by artist Felice Varini.
The three yellow circles painted on the barrage structures are not immediately obvious but find that spot and all will be revealed!
From the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay to the seaside town of Penarth, this path is great for cyclists and wheelchair users as well as walkers. A walk round the whole of Cardiff Bay is 6.2 miles. Find out more about the walk along the Cardiff Bay Barrage.
There are steep gradients from Southerndown, but you are rewarded with outstanding coastal views along the route. Across the estuary at Ogmore are the magnificent sand dunes of Merthyr Mawr. Find out more about the walk from Southernndown to Ogmore by Sea.
This walk takes you past St Donat’s Castle, home to Atlantic College, and previously owned by American newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Find out more about the walk from Llantwit Major to Nash Point Lighthouse
This circular walk takes you along rural footpaths with plenty of coastal views. Starting at Redwick’s historic church, where a mark in the porch indicates the height of the devastating flood of 1607. Find out more about the Redwick walk (walk number 7 on the Let's Walk Newport leaflet)
Kenfig National Nature Reserve is home to wild orchids, insects and other wildlife and is a great start to this enjoyable walk which takes in some of the best surfing and watersports beaches in Wales. On the way, you will pass near the historic and, some say, haunted Sker house, used as the basis of R D Blackmore’s novel, The Maid of Sker. (Bus)
Start at the Old Town Bridge in the market town of Chepstow. There are great views over the estuaries of the Wye and Severn. It’s easy walking to the Blackrock picnic area – the site of the old crossing point to England.
Enjoy Cardiff’s rich heritage; the legacy of a buoyant and successful docks. See historic landmarks, on this circular walk, like the Norwegian Church (where Roald Dahl was christened) and iconic buildings such as the world renowned Wales Millennium Centre. Find out more about the Cardiff Bay Trail.
This walk follows the Glamorgan Heritage Coast towards Nash Point. Explore this spectacular and dramatic coastline (and call into the visitor centre at Dunraven Bay to find out more). You’ll discover some stunning beaches along the way.
A walk which includes Traeth yr Afon Beach, the National Nature Reserve at Merthyr Mawr, and ends near the Castle and stepping stones at Ogmore. (Bus)
An exhilarating, mostly level walk on hard surface paths around Newport Wetlands Reserve, a nationally important haven for wildlife and a National Nature Reserve. Find out more about the Gwent Circular walk.
Explore this section of the Coast Path which takes in Porthcawl and its harbour, sandy beaches, the Grand Pavilion, Locks Common, Rest Bay and the Kenfig National Nature Reserve. Find out more about the Merthyr Mawr to Kenfig walk.
This follows the Glamorgan Heritage Coast from Newton Burrows to Gileston. The walk offers great views of spectacular and dramatic coastline. Find out more about the Glamorgan Heritage Coast.