Get to know the route, points of interest and surrounding area of the Vale of Glamorgan.
Porthcawl to Ogmore
The sleepy seaside town of Porthcawl plays host to the start of the 2018 Vale of Glamorgan Ultra Marathon. Taking in the beauty of the 1860’s Porthcawl Lighthouse, Athletes will head east around Coney Beach Pleasure Park. First opened in 1920, Coney Beach played host to American troops returning from their services in WW 1. The tired and outdated park still sees it’s fair share of visitors, however these days they’re most likely walking their pup. The silence from the left ear mixes with the waves crashing into the right. It’s the start of something Epic and Beautiful!
Newton Beach opens the door into the beautiful sand dunes of South Wales. Some say these views encompass the best landscape offerings from the entire Wales Coast Path. After a couple miles logged along the coast, the course heads North into the lush Merthyr Mawr National Nature Reserve. This is by far my favorite section along the VOGUM course. The challenging surfaces, large pathways and soft sand makes Merthyr Mawr a fun-filled experience for all ages.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled on the left-hand side for the 14th century manor house of Candleston Castle. Looking more like a piece of nature these days, Candleston holds a simple beauty with it’s ivy-covered ruins and wild green fields.
Ogmore Castle and Beyond
Now for the water bit! The crossing of River Ogmore and Ewenny River will take Athletes directly through the grounds of Ogmore Castle and back-down South towards the coast. As it’ll be the weekend, there’s a chance many will be out and about just up the hill to the left of the path at Southerndown Golf Club. The 1905 course is ranked amongst the Top 100 Golf Courses.
Once Athletes are back along the coast, they will head through Southerndown and into Dunraven Bay. The cliffs of Witches Point at Dunraven Bay make for breathtaking views both day and night. This is the Coast Path at it’s best … the genuine ‘Welshness’ one feels when on it’s edge!
Halfway To Penarth
Once past Dunraven Castle, the course heads towards Nash Point and right by the Nash Point Lighthouse. Nash Point was the last lighthouse in Wales, and second last in UK, to be de-manned – August 1998. Now it’s 100% automatic!
There are a few more worthy sites along the first half of the VOGUM course. Coming through Mile 16, Athlete’s have view of St Donat’s Bay to the right and the 11th century St Donat’s Church on the left. Llantwit Major Beach is only a little further up-stream, where the rock cliffs jump out into the ocean and history fills the street.
Take a breath, look up and enjoy the path you’re on. Let the scenery take hold and live in the moment. And remember, you’re halfway through the VOGUM!!!