Newport Wetlands to Duffryn

Today the plan was to complete part of a leg of the walk left from a previous weekend – we could not have walked any further on either our Cardiff to Newport leg, or on the 1.5 legs of Caldicot to Wetlands – so this shorter day joins up the two bits.

And what a plan we had – Leave Sharon’s car at Duffryn, Andrew then drives us both to the wetlands and parks – we walk back to Sharon’s car and then Sharon drives back to Andrew’s car – what could possibly go wrong??!! More on that later.

So at the wetlands we had to get back to the white lighthouse to resume our walk, which was 0.5 miles of walk which wasn’t on the coastal path and then off we went, following the large circluar dog walk through the wetlands.

The walk heads towards the power-station, and then ends up back through wetlands car park (2 miles done and back to the car lol), and then off across fields and through marshland.

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Cleo not waiting for a picture

This part of the walk felt more like a farm walk than a coastal path walk – through field after field after field, each with a bridge and double gate – which really slowed down the pace.

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A little past Nash Church we hit the by now typical “footpath closed” snag:

But this time we were able to climb along the outside of the bridge quite easily as there was no gap to jump across. Suddenly the coastal path joins bike route 4, and becomes much smoother for a mile.

At this point (and I don’t know why) I decided to check Sharon had her car keys ready for the end of the walk. Quite calmly Sharon said that she had left them hidden from view – in my car!! It took about 5 minutes for Sharon to convince me that she wasn’t joking and was really that “special”, but eventually I was convinced and phoned Mum’s taxis to be at the end of the route to drive us back to Wetlands.

The next part of the walk went quite industrial, walking on a narrow path on the edge of the river Usk, until you reach the Newport Transporter bridge. We decided to cross using the bridge (the roast lamb was in the oven after all!!):

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Then a short walk along the SDR and turn down towards Pill and the YMCA, then pass by Argos, through a tunnel and there is the car (minus keys):

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Luckily, next to the car was mum to drive us back to the Wetlands.

So a total of 7.2 miles walked in 2 hours and 1 minute, 6.7 miles on the coastal path, making the total 99.4 miles walked, and 770.6 miles to go. And we have now walked the entire section from Chepstow to Barry!!!

Kidwelly to Llanelli

 

Making the most of our caravan site location we today drove to Kidwelly and left the car at the railway station, with the plan to walk to Llanelli (13 miles according to the coastal path book) and then for Andrew to get the train back to get the car while Sharon and the kids played in the park by the discovery centre (the finishing point of the previous leg from Pen-Clawdd to Llanelli.

So here is the Kidwelly train station sign with the coastal path sign on a lamppost, and the kids and their bikes waiting for a train to pass. Cleo was ready to go, and after a short walk down a lane we got our first glimpse of the coast today.

 

We walked along a canal and then briefly on the main roads until we reached the wetlands, and here the winds really battered us (we had chosen to walk this way to have the wind aiding us most of the way, but here it was very much against us with 40mph gusts). Overhead there were two fighter jets having a mock battle.

Lunchbreak time and a wall sheltered us from the wind. The salt marshes here were green but it was a very low tide and when Andrew passed here much later in the day on the train the area was flooded except for the raised path.

So after marshland the coastal path then gave us forest, with a couple of miles of woodland walks. And here our book suggested we turn left and continue with 4 more miles of woodland to the Pembrey country part, but we followed the signs (maybe they are newer than the book) and went straight on until we hit the beach. Having got past the initial sand in the eyes moment we got down to the solid sand with the tide miles out.

What an amazing beach, and completely empty, we have never had a whole beach to ourselves before and we did some beach combing for shells.

The wind was at our backs now and blowing hard, with sand whistling past us, so we didn’t often look back but when we did the sky was very dark.

Trying a panoramic picture on the blog for then first time, the left being sunny, the right being rainy.

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The sand made some wonderful swirling shapes, the sand is flat, all the shapes are blowing sand.

Just time for Sharon and Cleo to pose before we rushed on, with the storm clouds out over the sea, although somehow the rain managed to miss us.

Then we saw a way off the beach into Pembrey country park (where the caravan was going to be before the site was flooded) and headed in land, where the coastal path went right past the dry ski slope and we stopped so that the kids could have a quick toboggan run.

And then after a climb over the toboggan hill we left the country park and headed towards Burry port on the cycle path and coastal path all in one. Looking across the estuary we could see part of where we walked on Tuesday and part of where we will go in the future.

By now the tide was coming in and the wind was making the waves quite large. Time was also ticking on and we knew there were trains at 5, 5.30, 6, 6.30 and then nothing till 8, so with a brief look at Burry port we continued the walk.

We were looking for the amazing circular shell shaped grass lands, and almost missed them till we looked behind us as we reached the barge.

 

Absolutely amazing, and we nearly missed it, although seeing it meant we did miss the left hand turn to go over the railway line and added an extra mile or so doubling back and up a steep bank. Then for our favourite bit of the day, we wanted a picture of us all on the grass steps, so Andrew asked a rather old passerby to take our picture. After his first attempt Andrew looked and he had turned the camera around to take a selfie, the second attempt was no better, and on the third attempt he managed to not only turn the camera round but also to take an 18 shot burst of himself…. We gave up!!! Here is his best picture.

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And here is the empty step which we took after he had left so as not to hurt his feelings.

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The pace quickened,and again we missed a poorly signposted turn which would have kept us closer to the railway track. But the bike path ran parallel and didn’t cost us much time. A little bit of history for you now and to tell you about this plague to celebrate the landing point of Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly the Atlantic Ocean single handed in 1928.

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And then we suffered from a sign being turned the wrong way and ended up walking to the discovery centre along a road and not the coast, but we were not turning back now. So while the official book says the walk is 13 miles we actually walked 15.8 miles, and then Andrew had to sprint half a mile to the train station to get the train back to Kidwelly (free as no ticket collector), and back in the car to collect the family.

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Without doubt the longest we have walked on the coastal path in a single day (the blisters prove this), but the best day so far in terms of the magnificent scenery and the variety of the walk from marshes to forest to beach to estuary, absolutely fabulous. For the official tally… 13 miles completed on this leg (although the book might want to add a mile or two for being able to go along the beach), so that is 92.7 miles completed and 777.3 miles to go!!!!

 

Pen-Clawdd to Llangennith (part 1)

The full Pen-Clawdd to Llangennith walk (including optional Berges Island) is 17 miles, which is a little beyond our single day best so far. So with the caravan sited down here and the kids ready for another biking adventure we set off to nibble at this leg by walking from Pen-Clawdd to Llanrhidian, leaving a more manageable walk for another day (another of Sharon’s good ideas of course).

So we parked the car where we finished on Saturday and set off down the alley…

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We had another first time walkiescleo child with us today having persuaded Elise to join us (the promise of fish and chips at the end) and she chose to walk with us rather than take her bike with the other kids.

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No sooner had we set off though and we hit the first snag, the alleyway was flooded and impassable, although the kids on bikes rode through it ok.

 

This gave us an idea, and as the kids had wellies we got them to ride back, give us the bikes and we rode through while they waded back…Cleo also got a swim…You can see the remains of Andrew’s first plan, the bridge of sticks, at the bottom of the 3rd picture lol.

The walk then quickly hits the salt marshes, which are very boggy, but also very picturesque, and luckily it wasn’t high tide so it was easy to walk along.

 

But not always so easy to ride along….

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And then my favourite comment of the day from Elise. On the marshes are a lot of ponies. Cleo decided to have a poo right besides a massive pile of horse poo, So Elise calls out ‘can I have a poo bag please dad?’. My response….’Which one are you picking up first?’.

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Anyway, on we walked and the pace was good at just over 16 minutes per mile, although Elise was running at times to keep up. We saw another very smart house…

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With Cleo photobombing!! Along here were various tractors and machinery because cockles are still gathered by hand here using rakes and riddles.

 

 

The rest of this section of walk is along a narrow quiet road, alongside the salt water marshes, right up to the point where you hit the village of Llanrhidian.

In the distance you can see Berges Island, which looks well worth the extra miles on a future walk.

 

And here is the point at which we left the coastal path, to pick it up again another day, 3.7 miles completed.

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We then walked up the steep hill to the main road

 

And started the walk back to the car where we had left it. We had thought the road would be quicker, but actually the return journey was also 3.7 miles making 7.4 miles walked today and the total for the coastal path now at 79.7 miles completed and 790.3 miles to go.

And the reward for the kids….. some fabulous fish and chips at the fish bar we had walked past on Saturday.

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More walking on Wednesday so keep an eye out for another update.

Andrew, Sharon, Cleo and various children.

Pen-Clawdd to Llanelli

After walking almost 50 miles in Edinburgh last weekend (48.6 miles to be precise and not a step of it counting towards the coastal path alas), we are back on the trail this weekend, with kids in tow.

As luck would have it we have a few days on Gowerton caravan site with the van, and the coastal path runs right by the front door…. how convenient, and our first walk on the Carmarthenshire and the Gower section of the coastal path.

We are sited about a third of the way along the Pen-Clawdd to Llanelli leg of the path so for Saturday we decided to turn left and pick up the first third. That bit was sensible, however, letting the kids take bikes on a non-bike path section was slightly less sensible.

So we turned left out of the campsite and walked to the main road, where across the other side of the road the coastal path ran down an alleyway and into a muddy wood.

 

There were a few stiles and gates to navigate with the kids bikes, as well as 4 inch deep mud in places, and a few bemused looking sheep, not used to seeing people on bikes. After briefly touching the road at one point, the coastal path then joined the road for the rest of the journey into Pen-Clawdd.

 

 

The rest of the way followed either the bike path or pavements and ran along beside the Burry estuary.

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