The wonderful thing about this project is that every single day that I have been away, whether it’s Wales or Whitby or Worthing, every day throws up at least one supremely amazing discovery. Today is no exception. I travel eastwards from Porthcawl. The beaches and headlands continue to be awesome and I wonder at their magnificence and beauty. Ogmore-by-Sea provides views over the sands back to Porthcawl itself as well as providing a lowtide backdrop of rolling cliffs, exposed sands and craggy outcrops of rocks.
From the cliffs of Southerndown, the headlands and bays of the coast can be seen rolling away into the distance.
One of the most striking out beaches is just outside the village at Dunraven. Down a long descent on a narrow road the beach opens up before the visitor. It is a rough, stoney beach with the occasional patch of smooth sand, that looks like it as been scraped of all loose material by huge earth-movers, leaving lines of jagged bedrock heading towards the surf. Humanity gets lost amongst its scratchy surfaces. Can you spot the group of 30 or so infants?
Any patches of sand are lost by Llantwit Major where smoothed stones and large pebbles and even rounded boulders fight for position on the beach. Here is an excellent tea room and toilet and a free car park.
At Barry there is a change. The town is on an island which is separated by a headland. On the east side the low tide exposes a classy expanse off smooth, drying sand which has captured the skeletons of old boats but which still remains excellent terrain for walking designer dogs.
On the other side of the headland is the main resort. Here the bay is still soft sand but it receives a daily seeing to. The tracks of raking tractors show where the litter has been picked and gathered. It looks like Ben Hur has run half a chariot race around the beach. The shops on the front are rather tatty and require a bit of a facelift to match the modern redevelopment of paths and promenades that run along and around the low cliffs. If you venture into town a lot of building is going on – both residential and commercial.
My favourite sight of the day can be found amongst the cobbles of Penarth beach. Here stands the rather stubby but so elegant Penarth Pier Pavilion. The light and the colour of the stones provides a wonderful contrast to the fresh, bright paintwork. I love its size and compactness reaching out from the classy town of Penarth that lines the cliffs behind it.