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  • Parc Slip
    and through the Parc Slip nature reserve The going is fair but there may be some muddy patches after rain Leave the car park SS 88148 84169 onto the road and turn left walking along the grass verge to a road junction Cross the road and head up the lane opposite signposted Cwm Risca ascending steadily Pass a footpath off to the right and just before the lane curves left take the stony track on the right After 30 yards turn right following the sign marked Ridgeway Walk Go through a metal gate and head up a track After 100 yards turn left across the grass towards a small wooden gate the first gap in the hedge Go through this and head slightly left towards another wooden gate After this keep ahead to a stile set in a wire fence with a sign saying please keep to edge of field The right of way goes across the field but turn left round the edge of the field passing a metal gate and heading up the field towards the top left hand corner where you cross two stiles close together Head left along a broad grassy track for 50 yards then where it meets a rough track turn right uphill to pass through the left hand of two metal gates 22 mins SS 87877 85306 On the ridgeway Turn left immediately after the gate to head along the left hand edge of a field towards a ladder stile Cross this and turn right along the right hand edge of the field towards a barn and another ladder stile Cross this and turn left down a broad track passing a plantation on the left When the track curves right head left passing a metal gate on right towards a transmitter At the top turn right across a stile following the Ogwr Ridgeway walk sign Keep ahead with wire fence on left As the route starts to descend cross a wooden stile with wire fence now on right which brings you to another stile by a road The last field contains the wildflower Yellow Rattle indicating untreated meadow 42 mins 1 83 miles The woods in bluebell time Head right along this road for around 15 minutes until you reach conifer plantations on either side you will have passed the highest point of the walk at 242 metres Just after reaching the plantation on the left take a track to the left through the trees this point is often marked by illegally dumped household items 1 hr SS 85492 86863 The clear path through the trees descends initially then curves right and levels this next section can be muddy after rain The track curves left gradually descending ignore side paths to the right bringing you to a junction with a wide stony track and quarried stone ahead Turn left for 30 yards but before crossing the stream turn right to continue along the lower path for 5 minutes with the stream just to

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  • Rhondda
    descending diagonally down the hillside from a gap between trees Pass a transmitter on the right and metal gate on the track and on the small hillock ahead is an Iron Age Hillfort known as Maendy Camp although the ditches are not easy to see through the bracken Go to the left of the fort following the path alongside the fence to the left to skirt the steep hillock ahead which you pass on your right passing two metal gates on the way Alternatively go straight ahead over the hillock Whichever way you go the track levels with views opening up to the right Down in the valley to the right would have been the Parc and Dare Collieries The track descends towards the road passing a stream then a post with waymark sign saying Sky to Sea Some 30 yards before the road where there is a green metal barrier you meet a metalled track 50 mins SS 94026 94513 447 metres 2 3 miles Left looking down on Cwmparc Right the valley of Cwm Dar with the crags of Graig Fawr Turn sharp left by the stone pillar to head along this track which winds steadily uphill On a clear day you can see across the Vale of Glamorgan and the Bristol Channel to the West Country In the valley to the right are Nantymoel and Price Town which had the Western and Wyndham Collieries You pass a small pool on the left surrounded by large stones a suitable stopping point Further on ignore a junction to the left heading towards the trees keeping on the main track by a Loops and Links stone pillar The track eventually approaches the trees and crosses a small stream It becomes less metalled and more grassy Keep ahead with the wire fence on your left there is a parallel stony track the other side of the fence following the broad green but slightly rutted track Pass a trig point on the left with stone cairn you are now at 517 metres above sea level and can see the wind turbines ahead in the distance The track starts to descend Keep alongside the wire fence until you come to a wooden stile on your left which you cross 1 hr 25 mins SS 95379 92430 501 metres 3 9 miles Left small pool by the path Right cairn and Trig point From the stile head slightly left for 10 yards to join a track which you follow into the trees After 50 yards keep ahead when you cross a trackway 200 yards further on you come to another track turn left along this SS 95669 92539 The track is fairly level at first then descending gently Where the stony path forks go right along the main path The views then open up to the right and you cross a stream to meet a broad metal track by a stone pillar Turn right along this broad track for 30 yards and then left

    Original URL path: http://www.glamorganwalks.com/spare_1.htm (2016-02-01)
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  • Aberdulais
    road SS 75718 99181 55 mins 2 71 miles 109 metres above sea level Cross the road to follow the footpath opposite up some steps The track crosses a field and enters the trees Stick to the main level track which is the opposite end of the same track the dram road we walked along towards the beginning of the walk A track joins from the right and you pass large rock formations on your left and some metal barriers on your right After about 10 minutes the track crosses a stream by an area with picnic tables a car park and small cascades You pass an old industrial building on the left see photo below and then more stonework by a large mound on the right About 300 yards further on look for our zig zag track on the right from earlier and take this to return to the car park 1 hr 20 mins 3 94 miles A building linked to the Gelliau colliery Detour 1 As soon as you get to the dram road turn right along it but only for 5 yards where you turn left to continue uphill The path ascends through the trees occasionally with wooden steps and crossing a stream As you approach some large exposed rocks the path curves slightly left You meet a track turn right along this continuing to ascend The path starts to descend with fine views to the right through the trees and occasional vantage points on the rocks SN 76660 00127 Where the path forks take the lower broader track to the right the upper route brings you out at the same point but is a bit more precarious You rejoin the dram road i e the main route by a stile the first stile referred to above SN 76837 00560 16 mins 0 52 miles Turn left along the Dram road to continue the walk Alternatively you can turn right back along the Dram road and retrace your steps to the car park for a modest little walk of just 1 mile Walk 2 Tonna via Aberdulais Head back through the car park and down the road you have just driven along past the metal barrier and onto the main road Turn right along the road heading downhill Pass Cilfrew Primary School and then take the signposted footpath to the left to Aberdulais Cross the railway line with care When the path emerges onto a main road turn left along the pavement to pass the Dulais Rock pub Just beyond is the entrance to the National Trust s Aberdulais Falls Cross the road using the traffic lights opposite the pub and follow the path under the bridge with the river on your left 15 mins Pass the blue Royal British Legion building on your left noting a plaque by the bridge which indicates that the building on the right of the canal was the lockkeeper s cottage in which lived Marie Mortimer and her daughter Rhiannon

    Original URL path: http://www.glamorganwalks.com/aberdulais.htm (2016-02-01)
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  • Lliw Valley
    04486 and head down the steps to a picnic area Cross the bridge and head left along the path with the reservoir on your left At the end return to the car park by crossing the dam 5 27 miles 1 hr 55 mins See map below A longer walk 10 7 miles 17 2 kms Upper reservoir with open moorland beyond This walk of 10 5 miles moves from the sheltered Lliw Valley up onto open moorland where a compass or GPS is worth having particularly if the visibility is poor The route includes part of St Illtyds Way as well as the Gower Way At its highest point you are at 1213 feet above sea level when you are at Penlle r Castell an old hill fort or castle The grassy area where our route turns off Take the tarmac track past the visitor centre as with the other walks with the Lower Reservoir on your left At the end of this reservoir the track emerges from woodland into a more open area As you cross a cattle grid note the stone Gower Way marker number 43 you will see more of these later The track curves left and then right to bring you to a grassy area on the left with a bench and tucked away under the gorse a concrete and metal stile SN 65424 05159 Drop down to the stream cross it and then a boggy area About 30 yards beyond the stream and through the gorse you come to a track Turn right uphill along this track following the line of the electricity cables and running parallel with the tarmac track you have just left Ignore side paths to the left The narrow path becomes grassy and wider and passes to the left of a wire fence where the electricity cables veer off to the right Keep ascending towards a rocky crag ahead Follow the path through the area of fallen rock with fine views of the upper reservoir soon appearing You come to two hillocks on the right make sure you are on the path which skirts the bases of the hillocks and then heads downhill through bracken The path then ascends and you will see in the distance the dark green of a conifer plantation which is what we are aiming at although it will disappear and reappear as the route descends and ascends The path drops down to a stream 2 28 miles 50 mins SN 65661 06456 Crags to the left Right view down to Upper Lliw Reservoir Cross the stream and keep ahead If you have a compass or GPS follow a bearing of around 340 The path descends to cross another stream then ascends the moorland ahead there are several sheep tracks but follow the one on the left Keep ahead when you cross a wider track when the plantation reappears aim for the left hand end of it the track by now may well have disappeared Soon

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  • New Page 2
    between rocks with the valley to our left 15 mins The Parish Church of St Marys On your right is a dilapidated dry stone wall which you could follow all the way to Worms Head but another option is to take the left fork when a path heads through gorse away from the wall towards the sea To your left across the valley is the headland called the Thurba with Iron age fort As you get towards the edge of the cliff the path curves to the right and in the distance you should be able to see the tip of Worms Head and a building which we are heading for Keep going along the cliff with the sea on your left keeping to the higher path After a while you will see Mewslade Bay and then Fall Bay which can be reached by paths off to the left although our route carries on alongside the stone wall which we have rejoined As you get towards the end of Fall bay take the path which drops to the left away from our stone wall and towards an enclosure bounded by more stone wall 35 mins Looking down on Fall Bay with the headland Tears Point in the distance Follow the perimeter of the enclosure with the wall on your right From the crest of the hill you get good views of Worms Head Keep going along the cliff top heading for the small building which is the old Coastguard Lookout building now a visitor centre An optional detour here is to cross the causeway onto Worms Head but check the tides or you could be marooned there until the next low tide Now head back towards Rhossili with the coast and then beach on your left If you walk to the left on one of the promontories and look back towards Worms Head you will see a small white building at the bottom of the cliffs This is Kitchen Corner You pass a National Trust shop on your right which is worth a visit and return to the car park 1 hr Looking out to Worms Head with the causeway under water Walk 2 Rhossili Beach with Burry Holms in the distance and Rhossili Downs to the right For the second walk head out of the car park as you did for the first walk and at the bus stop and telephone box head towards the churchyard but this time take the footpath which passes the church to your right At the far side of the church take the track which heads slightly downhill passing a large stone feature on the right to commemorate the Millennium consisting of red sandstone conglomerate taken from high on Rhossili Down You pass a stone building Little Hill House then go through a wooden kissing gate past another small building which was the old rocket shed and then ascend the hill using the wooden steps in the hillside As the path levels out you

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  • Oxwich
    From here more fine views open over Oxwich Bay Just before you get to an open field look out for a stile on the right and yellow footpath sign Go along the left hand edge of this field At the bottom corner of the field you come to a wooden stile 20 mins Cross this and after 10 yards turn right along a path with Oxwich Bay spread out to your left The path meanders through the trees maintaining height You pass a permissive path sign on the right which you ignore At a junction of paths with a rope swing down to your left keep right Just before the path curves to the right take sone wooden steps which drop downhill to the left When you get to an Oxwich Nature Reserve information sign go to the right At the next junction of paths keep to the left until you emerge from the trees by the sand dunes Now head to the right keeping to the edge of the trees on your right following a sandy path Avoid going into the trees or heading out across the dunes You pass some high prominent rock faces to the right and then another Oxwich information sign 35 mins Shortly after this sign the path heads right into the trees Take the right hand path which ascends steadily The path is then level for some time with occasional glimpses out over the bay eventually descending gently A path converges form the left but keep ahead 1 hr Left the folly by the road junction Right a working traction engine clearing mud from the ponds by Penrice House You come to a wooden gate with stone steps to the right Cross these and head up the road to the right At the road junction at the top by the folly head left along the road keeping to the left hand side taking care as the road can be busy After 200 yards by a footpath sign on the left take the stone stile and then follow the yellow markers towards the trees continuing downhill all the way to meet a road Turn left along the road passing the old stable buildings on your left You will see the ruins of Penrice castle up to your right At the road junction head to the right passing Penrice House on your left with further views of Penrice Castle and to your left Oxwich The tarmac road descends through the estate to meet some metal gates Walk 10 yards to the left of the gates to cross the stile set in the stone wall Turn left along the road which heads uphill 1 hr 18 mins The pond in the forest Pass ruins of an old mill to your right At the top you come to the village of Penrice with good views from the church and an opportunity for a breather Retrace your steps down the road a short way and take the footpath to

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  • Neath Walk
    a junction of paths turn left with a stream on your right As you approach a small waterfall head left up some wooden steps onto a track turn right to meet a road and then right along the road with a pond on your left Head round the pond and take the track to the left that passes a metal barrier The track widens and heads through beech trees 20 mins Go over a stone bridge with the stream crossing underneath and at a junction of paths head left going uphill with wooden bridges off to the right Go to the left of a large metal tank maintaining the high ground and taking care of the odd landslip You will soon see a field just on your left As you get to the end of the field take the path which goes to the left a stony track which starts to descend gently with stream on left 40 mins The track reaches a stone wall Take the stile to the left of the wall and right of the path and head along another path with stream on right On meeting a junction of streams the path bends to the left Follow this but after 30 yards take the path dropping down through the trees to the right keeping close to the stream Cross a stone bridge over this stream and head back up a path in the opposite direction to that which you have just taken keeping to the right hand path At the top the path curves to the left Head along this level path with stream on right After a while steps to the right take you up to the Half House When you see a bridge across the stream to the right take it along a narrow

    Original URL path: http://www.glamorganwalks.com/neath_walk.htm (2016-02-01)
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  • Local Features Vale
    of the Manor but by the middle of the 15th century the population had declined and the manor was in ruins At certain times of the year special events are held here such as Mediaeval Fairs and Banquets The site has been a winner of a Heritage in Britain award Sully A long narrow parish which whilst appearing modern dates back to Norman times and earlier Little remains of Sully castle which was linked to the de Sully family who were lords of the manor also founding the church of St John the Baptist Excavations in the 1960s showed occupation of the castle site went back to Romano British times followed by a 12th century earthwork stone keep and fortified manor house At the western end of the village towards Barry was situated Sully Hospital currently being redeveloped The building has been described as a particularly good example of inter war Functional architecture and was designed by W A Pite Son and Fairweather Pioneering work was carried out here on Tuberculosis and it was one of the best equipped chest hospitals in Britain On Sully s foreshore and to the west towards Bendricks Rock can be found several sets of dinosaur footprints Sully Island On Sully Island is an Iron Age hillfort dating to between 700BC and 100AD More of a defended homestead than a large settlement the most obvious part is the bank which is up to 2 metres high It is possible to walk over to the island at low tide but is only safe up to 2 hours either side of low tide the incoming tide can be very dangerous The Captains Wife This pub and restaurant is at Swanbridge close to Sully Sully House was once situated here and it was lived in by a sea captain On one of his voyages he was accompanied by his wife who died at sea Sailors are particularly superstitious about having corpses on board so the captain hid the body doubled up in a lead lined box On his return the captain buried the box in the woods near Sully House whilst arrangements were made to get a proper coffin and organise burial When he returned the box and body had disappeared it was assumed taken by one of the crew members who thought the box contained treasure The wife s ghost was said to roam the area seeking her resting place However during a recent renovation the doubled up body of a woman was found under flagstones in the stables the skeleton was re buried and the ghost of the Captain s Wife was never seen again Ogmore and Wick Walks Coed y Bwl Nature Reserve Situated at Castle upon Alun The only daffodil wood in Glamorgan with around a quarter of a million wild daffodils The reserve was established in 1971 and in 1975 received a Prince of Wales trust award The daffodils were planted in the early nineteenth century by Mrs Nicholl of Merthyr Mawr The flowers were known locally as TWM DILIES Depending on the climate best visited March By the road is an old stone pack horse or clapper bridge Other plants include moschatel wood anemone pignut sedges spindle yellow archangel wild privet wood melick grass hart s tongue fern and lesser celandine The pond between the wall and the road has numerous frogs along with the unusual Pick a back plant surrounding it Dunraven House The Welsh name for it was Dundryfan which indicates a triangular fortress and on the headland is an Iron Age hillfort with hut sites and pillow mounds Claimed to be the principal residence of the ancient Princes of Siluria and of Bran ap Llyr and his son Caradoc ap Bran also known as Caractacus It is mentioned in an old manuscript the Bonedd y Saint A nearby farm is called Cae Caradoc which means Caradoc s field In the 12th Century the Norman Arnold le Boteler later Butler received the land from Maurice de Londres and built the first stone building here The rent was three golden chalices of wine hence the Three Golden Cups pub nearby The manor of Dunraven was first recorded in 1542 by Leland official antiquities recorder to Henry VIII In 1776 it was illustrated by one S Hooper as a substantial residence with outbuildings Ownership passed from the Butlers to the Vaughans and then Wyndhams who built Dunraven Castle in 1803 standing in this magnificent setting on the promontory of Witch s Point Left the Ice House and right interior of the walled garden at Dunraven House Later extensive alterations were made by Thomas and Anne Wyndham and North and South wings were added The manor house and garden walls were castellated giving rise to the misnomer Dunraven Castle Following the great Victorian interest in horticulture Caroline first Countess of Dunraven introduced a luxuriant collection of exotic plants The Ice House tower was constructed over a basin shaped cellar Ice was collected in Winter and stored here between layers of straw brushwood and logs for Summer use It was used as a convalescent home during the Second World War and then in 1962 after no buyer could be found was dynamited If when strolling around the grounds you pick up the scent of mimosa do not look over your shoulder for the Blue Lady of Dunraven who haunts the site could be nearby On the rocks there are anemones and crabs accompanied by winkles limpets top shells and common dog whelks Wildflowers include spurge laurel and stinking hellebore along with snowdrops and primroses The turf which is kept short by rabbits is good for wrinkled and banded snails Monks Wood This embryonic wood was created by the Woodland Trust in 1998 It is a Community Wood at just over 10 acres New planting includes Ash Oak Rowan Willow Blackthorn Purging Buckthorn Wayfaring Tree Spindle Wild Rose Gorse Whilst there are few trees in the countryside around here the name Wick or Y Wig suggests there was woodland at some time There is a pond with Bulrushes Ogmore Castle Established around 1116 For a more detailed description of the site with photographs click here Pant Marie Flanders This well classed as an ancient monument is reputed still to produce good quality water It once served as the source of water supply for the hamlet of Heol y Mynydd situated at the head of the valley The valley is said to be named after a local resident Marie Flanders renowned as a weaver and presumably of Flemish origins Kenfig Walk Altmark This fishing vessel with a crew of one who got off safely ran aground in 1959 However this is only one of the many wrecks that have occurred along this stretch of coastline down the centuries and the looting of wrecks proved to be a profitable occupation for the locals In 1694 a Portuguese vessel came to grief but its cargo of orange trees is said to have led to the building of the orangery at Margam to house them More recently in 1947 the Liberty Ship Samtampa ran aground on Sker Rocks with the loss of all 39 crew The lifeboat the Edward Prince of Wales which set out on a rescue mission was also wrecked here with the loss of the 8 crew members Bando Below is a picture of Mrs Janet Davies wielding a bando stick During the eighteenth and nineteenth century the game of bando was played with curved ash sticks and balls of stuffed leather It took place on Kenfig sands from one goal at the River Kenfig and the other at Sker rocks two miles away In 1817 some 3 000 people turned out to watch a match between Margam and Newton Nottage Mrs Davies with bando stick Kenfig Pool The Legend A peasant once killed and robbed a local lord to impress a daughter of one of the Earls de Clare whom he later married At the wedding feast a voice was heard saying that vengeance would come with the ninth generation of the murdered lord s family When the ninth descendant turned up the voice was heard again There was a rush of water from the sea engulfing the town The bells of the church can still be heard during storms under Kenfig Pool If you look at the pool you will see some old ruins the remains of the town If you prefer historical accuracy to romance note that these are the remains of a Victorian boathouse Kenfig Castle Whilst a town lying at the bottom of Kenfig Pool may seem fanciful the truth is that there was a sizeable town here and it was buried not by water but by sand A stone axe and arrowheads suggest occupation from Neolithic times and pieces of Romano British pottery indicate a Roman presence a Roman road also runs nearby The Normans built Kenfig Castle in the 12 th Century and in 1147 Kenfig was incorporated as a Borough The keep was possibly 50 foot high and what you see is all that remains of the top The Borough was frequently attacked by the Welsh but by 1307 it had a population of 700 800 people with a leper hospital watermill and windmill The River Kenfig would have been deep enough for small ships to reach the town However from the 14 th Century sand to started to encroach gradually covering the buildings and by 1654 only one family was left living near the castle St James s Church was originally built here about 1150 but as the sand encroached it was dismantled and rebuilt stone by stone at Pyle If you visit the church there you will see that unusually the smallest stones are at the base of the building More information on the history of Kenfig can be found in the series of booklets produced by the Kenfig Society and available in the Reserve Centre See also The Story of Kenfig by A Leslie Evans Port Talbot 1960 For more on Kenfig Castle click here Llanmihangel Farm This very fine farmhouse dates from about 1600 with most of the two light windows surviving In one of the farm buildings passed just down the road is embedded part of the wall of the barn of a grange of Margam Abbey It has been estimated that the barn was originally nearly 100 foot long Nature Reserve For information about the reserve contact The Warden Kenfig National Nature Reserve Ton Kenfig Pyle CF 33 4 PT Telephone 01656 743386 or Fax 01656 745940 The reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest the last remnants of a huge sand dune system that once stretched along the coast of South Wales from the River Ogmore to the Gower It is now home to thousands of species of animals and plants including the rare Fen Orchid for which the site is internationally famous You can also find frogs toads newts along with dragonflies and damselflies in the summer There are several bird hides overlooking the 70 acre freshwater pool a favourite refuge for wildfowl at all times of year Birdlife includes whooper Bewick and mute swans goldeneye great crested grebe teal and redshank around the pool with peregrine merlin short eared owl and stonechat in the dunes Go to the Guided Walks section to see Kenfig Reserve s events programme Prince of Wales Inn This has been the location of the Guild Hall for the Borough of Kenfig since it was built in the 16 th Century However what you see now dates from its rebuilding in 1808 The Guild Hall room was above the Inn and it was here that the Burgesses met court was held and rights exercised as laid down in the Kenfig Charters The Inn is reputed to be haunted Sker House A widower Old Davy is fishing by Sker Rocks when he comes across a small boat In the stern sheets fast asleep with the baby face towards me lay a little child in white Something told me that it was not dead or even ailing only adrift upon the world and not at all aware of it The unknown waif Bardie grows up in her lowly surroundings to become an enchanting young lady beloved by the local villagers as their Maid of Sker This then is the title of a book by R D Blackmore author of Lorna Doone and he considered The Maid of Sker was his best novel Whilst living in the West Country R D Blackmore used to stay with relatives near Porthcawl and Sker House and this part of the Glamorganshire coast made a sufficient impression on him to lead to the writing of the Maid of Sker published three years after Lorna Doone Long since out of print a copy of the book is available in Cardiff Central Library but is not on the shelves just ask the librarians Sker House itself has a long and interesting history and has been restored A grange belonging to the monks of Neath Abbey existed here in the 13 th Century with part of the present building dating from the 16 th Century but most from the 17 th Century The Turberville family owned it after the Dissolution of the Monasteries It is said to have a ghost another Maid of Sker Elizabeth Williams who is believed to have been forced to marry against her will However the booklet Folktales of Pyle and Kenfig published by the Kenfig Society considers this improbable and refers to another story this time concerning one Martha Howells St James Church Pyle This was built in the 15th Century and was largely reconstructed from the old church in Kenfig sands hence the smaller stones being at the bottom and larger ones above One of the wall plates in the nave is dated 1471 A monument to Edward Thomas dates to 1693 Llantwit Major and St Donats Belvedere The word is derived from the Italian meaning a fair view and it refers to an architectural structure often built in the upper part of a building but also as here freestanding so as to command a good view You will find Belvederes throughout Western civilization from Vienna to New York and there are many Hotel Belvederes The artist Escher drawings of buildings steps etc which appear to defy logic had one of his best known creations called the Belvedere Boverton Place This substantial Tudor house was built by Roger Seys Attorney General for Wales in the 1590s who had married Elizabeth Voss It is believed to hold the largest ivy bush in Wales It was the Seys family who built the Summerhouse in the 1730s Castle ditches This encampment dates from the latter part of the pre Roman Iron Age and is a typical promontory fort depending for its defence on a combination of steep sided valleys and cliffs It may have been used until the 12 th Century when it offered protection to local inhabitants Until the 19 th Century this event was re enacted by local people on the 3 rd May and known as the Annwyl Day Celebrations on Col Huw meadow Columbarium This dovecote would have been built by the monks in the 13 th Century and the birds would have been used as a food supply High on the outside walls a timber platform was fixed which enabled the dovecote to be turned into a defensive tower when necessary The fields in which it is situated have been cultivated for centuries and the mounds in the grass show the line of the mediaeval walls Left the Columbarium Right the Gatehouse Gatehouse This is the 13 th Century gatehouse to the Norman monastic grange You can still see where the gateway entrance was in the side of the building and the pedestrian door is still in use In the field behind are the remains of the foundations of the 12 th Century monastery buildings Hillhead Cottages These were once almshouses for the poor Alongside the cottages is an ancient flight of steps known as Big Man s or Pig Man s steps They are an awkward length as they take one and a half paces but it is said that the monks who made them would have taken shorter paces because of their long robes Llantwit Major With evidence of cultivation from the 3 rd millennium BC Llantwit has a long history A Roman villa was found nearby which by the 4 th Century AD had 52 rooms and 2 courtyards The town is well hidden from the coast which would have given some protection from marauders from the sea and it was here that St Illtyd born about 425 AD established a mission centre By this time communication was mainly by sea and Breton traditions indicate that Llanilltud was where many of the founding Saints came from including Samson of Dol Gildas the Wise and Paul Aurelian The beach by the car park is the site of the Port of Col Huw originating in the 5 th Century with boats crossing the Bristol Channel to Somerset and Devon It was destroyed by storms in the 16 th Century and was never rebuilt For more on the history of the town see Llantwit Major A History and Guide edited by LV Kelly and published by the Llantwit Major Local History Society On the beach you can find rocks with tunnels made by rock boring bi valves On the cliffs are rock sea lavender samphire thrift wild carrot along with stonechats and meadow pipits In the Col Huw valley are wild madder stinking iris and bloody nosed beetles Further inland are red valerian wall pennywort and yellow stonecrop Marcross church Marcross Church of the Holy Trinity Built by the Normans in the 12th Century and displays some interesting architectural features including an unusual font a tower with a gabled roof and a leper s window through

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