Rhys grew up in Bro Morgannwg and recently returned after living away. Now, he's out to explore parts of his hometown he's rarely ventured.
Hiking in the Vale of Glamorgan
On an extremely windy Monday in May after a tough morning at work, I decided to head out to Ogmore by Sea to enjoy a hard afternoon of walking. I love work, however, there's a vast difference between enjoying the cold sea air and feeling your feet begin to ache than the stress of deadlines.
I would take blisters and heavy backpacks over said deadlines every day.
Ogmore-by-Sea is the location of the 8 miles (12.8km) circular walk, Vale Trail 1. The journey offers alternative shorter 2-mile (3.2km) and 4-mile (6.4km) walks, ideal for families with small children.
A glutton for punishment, I opted for the longer route.
Sand and Sea...
I began the hike at the beautiful but windy Ogmore beach, leaving the sea behind. I was not, however, leaving the sand behind, as the first 0.5 miles (0.8km) of the walk is a gradual climb through sandy paths in the middle of grassy fields.
Following horseshoe tracks through the sand as I reached the top of the hill with views across the river to Merthyr Mawr Warren, I had noticed a dark cloud looming above the direction I was headed. A tough morning seemed as though it was about to turn into a very wet afternoon.
A Castle and a Curse...
I powered on with my coat at the ready, heading past Pelican in Her Piety pub and reaching Ogmore Castle and stepping stones.
The castle which predates the Norman conquest, constructed around 1100 AD, has been home to many a lord and lady and has been used for a range of purposes such as a prison and a court of justice over the 900 years.
You might be visiting the castle to search for the famous treasures buried somewhere on the grounds. The ghost Y Ladi Wen ("the White Lady") is said to be guarding the castle's hidden treasure and subsequently kills and curses anyone who tries to find it.
I would suggest you don’t bother trying, it's probably not worth being cursed for an eternity!
Looking over my shoulder hoping not to be followed by Y Ladi Wen, I crossed the busy road to head past a colourful Ogmore-by-Sea sign to head back up the hill through a narrow country lane to reach Ogmore Down golf course.
Upon reaching the Down, I was mesmerised by the views across the countryside and took the wrong turn three times. I was meant to be heading towards tee 15, instead, I was near tee 5 before I noticed I was no longer following the waymarkers. Head back to my previous article on walking Vale Trail 8 to read more about my fantastic exploration skills.
Avoiding a group of equestrians and immediately a flock of sheep, the rain began to trickle with the sun still shining bright next to the drifting clouds as I hiked my way to St Brides Major. I was fortunate that the dark skies I was heading towards were now going the opposite way to me. This trickle of rain was all that was going to get me today!
As I walked downhill through a wooded track, beyond farmhouses with ravens croaking in the trees above, I climbed a style to reach St Brides Major. Wandering past the 12th Century medieval church, I could have turned right for an optional shorter section B of the trail.
Always ready to walk some extra miles, I plodded along the main road past the Fox & Hound pub. I had a fleeting temptation to grab an ale for a rest. However, the sun was still beaming down and with the promise of reaching the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, I powered on to reach a picturesque pond, joined this time by a murder of crows.
More Cow Trouble...
I have previously had trouble with a herd of cows blocking my path as you may recall from my previous article. This seems to be becoming a regular occurrence as I was once again in a face-off with cows and their calves with the woodlands I was trying to reach in front.
I decided to head right, climbing a stile into another field to find a dead end. Despite no rain, my coat came in handy as I used it to cover the barbed wire and climb over the fence beyond the herd next to the entrance to the woodlands.
Trekking through the green woodlands, surrounded by the smell of wild garlic I could hear the crashing of waves in the distance. I had reached the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Museum and Wales Coast Path. Climbing a steep hill and immediately feeling windswept.
Being careful not to get blown off the cliffs, I wandered the final section of the walk that's just over a mile long, over fields and avoiding sheep before reaching the car park and the end of the walk.
Vale Tales Storytelling Companion...
If you are to walk any of the 10 Vale Trails, I recommend using the detailed Vale Trails maps located at tourist information points or that can be downloaded online.
Additionally, if you love your history, I would recommend downloading the Vale Tales Storytelling App that brings to life some of the fascinating stories, myths and legends behind the 10 trails!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Rhys Russell
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 16, 2021:
Thank you for sharing the lovely photos and the description of your walk. Your article was enjoyable to read.