Llantwit Major and the Heritage Coast

We’ve already had the Harvest Moon this month, and weather on the island continues to be glorious. On Saturday we took advantage of the sunshine and drove way down to the southern edge of Wales halfway between Cardiff and Swansea. We took a hike along the coast in the romantically-named Vale of Glamorgan. If you were looking for new desktop wallpaper, I think we can oblige you. Click through to see more:

A haunt for smugglers in the 17th & 18th Centuries.

A haunt for smugglers in the 17th & 18th Centuries.

The nearest village to this spot is Llantwit Major, where people have been living since Neolithic times. The Romans claimed the place for a few centuries, but it remained a sleepy place until St. Illtyd founded a monastery there in the Fifth Century AD. Ain’t no party like a Catholic party: his monastery flourished and soon became a center of learning as well as a home for those dedicated to the spiritual life. And who wouldn’t feel spiritual in these surroundings, I ask you?

Taken near the site of Illtyd's monastery.

Taken near the site of Illtyd's monastery.

Our walk was six miles round trip and followed a section of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Path. You follow the clifftops for the most part, but now and then you dip down onto the rocky beaches and inlets. There’s some sand, as you can see in the picture above, but there’s also a hard solid rock shingle. Still, there were surfers out (the air temps were about 65– I didn’t dare go near the water). We met this sleepy fellow:

A lucky horse.

A lucky horse.

Up on the clifftops are farms tilling right up to the edge of the rocks. There was a farmer out and about on his tractor, absolutely mobbed by gulls who were after the worms he was churning out of the soil.

Path to the Lighthouse at Nash Point

Path to the Lighthouse at Nash Point

Our aim was the lighthouse at Nash Point, which was the last manned lighthouse in Wales. We didn’t go up to it or tour it– we were sweaty, and her Beaniness was ready for a nap. As always, she was a delightful traveling companion/ cuddly piece of luggage.

Ignore my hair, please

Ignore my hair, please

This was a pretty easy walk– there are a few climbs, but there are stairs and railings to help you make it up, so carrying 19 lbs of cutie pie along wasn’t a chore at all. I wouldn’t like to do it in the heat or in the wet, however: some of the cliffs come right up to the edge of the path.

Look out, not down.

Look out, not down.

It was good to get some sea air into our lungs: we’d been missing it since New Jersey. And I think that getting Evey out and about in places like this is good for the development of her tiny baby soul, even if she doesn’t have concrete memories of our day out. Maybe it will be a landscape in her dreams.

From a swimmer’s point of view, it’s a shame the beaches here are so rocky. While it’s a great place to study geology, I wouldn’t really want to get in the water, and I definitely wouldn’t want to go bodysurfing. You’d need one heck of a rashguard.

The big rock on the right is the size of my head.

The big rock on the right is the size of my head.

Really, though, the only thing I regret about this walk is that we didn’t think to book a room nearby. Then we could have stayed to watch the sun set. I’m already hunting for B&Bs, maybe for this weekend. And if you come to visit, we’ll take you with us sometime.

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