Visit Merthyr Mawr National Nature Reserves, home to the highest sand dune in Wales and the second highest in Europez – known as the Big Dipper. Covering 840 acres, the dune system here is like no other in Wales. A haven for wildlife, the sand that has settled atop the ancient limestone cliffs has created a unique habitat for insects, fungi, and plants.
Explore the reserve’s extensive grasslands, saltmarsh, beach and woods and learn what makes this landscape so unique. Spend a day weaving in and out of the dunes and exploring the adjacent ruins of medieval Candleston Castle. Discover the stunning ruins of the Norman Ogmore Castle and its 52 stepping stones across the Ogmore River – rumoured to have been laid for a girl who once lived in the castle, so that she could meet her lover across the river.
Set in over 100 acres of parkland, Bryngarw Country Park is a glorious sanctuary for both people and wildlife alike. Discover the woodlands, wetlands, meadows and formal gardens that attract over 200,000 visitors each year. Feel at peace as you relax in the Green Flag Award winning park.
Head to the Parc Slip Nature Reserve and stroll through fields ablaze with colour as numerous beautiful wildflowers come into bloom. Let a sense of tranquility wash over you as you relax by open water ponds or in viewing areas overlooking the wetlands. Feel at peace as you watch the local wildlife nesting – from woodpeckers to owls, foxes and mice, and even the rare great crested newt.
Head to Kenfig National Nature Reserve, one of Wales’s top sand-dune reserves, with plants like wild fen orchids, birds and insects depending on this habitat for their survival.
The reserve is one of the last remnants of a huge dune system that once stretched along the coastline of southern Wales from the Ogmore River to the Gower peninsular. Stroll to the edge of the reserve to admire Glamorgan’s largest natural lake, Kenfig Pool. Set on the edge of this beautiful sand dune nature reserve, the lake offers spectacular views across Swansea Bay to the Gower. Explore the reserve’s large expanse of sand dunes, which lead to the coast and Sker Point, with incredible views across Swansea Bay to the Gower. Take in the dramatic horizon on the reserve’s western side, of Port Talbot’s industrial area and steelworks – a stark contrast that only serves to highlight the reserve’s wild beauty.
Discover the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, which stretches for 14 miles from Aberthaw to Porthcawl. From plunging cliffs to secluded coves, the coast is home to some of Wales’ most breath-taking views. Explore the remote and beautiful coastline, fringed with delightful towns, small villages and endless footpaths and country lanes. Soak up the unique beauty of a coastline that boasts wooded valleys, spectacular wildlife and 2000 years of human habitation. With its idyllic mix of rolling hills, bustling markets; towns, and fascinating churches and castles, the Glamorgan Heritage Coast provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities, exploring local legends and enjoying great food and drink.