DUNE SURFING AT MERTHYR MAWR WARREN

 Merthyr Mawr Dunes provided the setting for parts of Lawrence of Arabia, they are one of the largest groups of sand dunes in Europe and their remarkableness will not disappoint you, they are fab for dune surfing!  

Take a picnic and make a day of walking around the dunes and exploring the ruins of Candleston Castle and taking a small hike over the dunes to Ogmore beach (approx 20 minute walk) 

The dunes are full of small wildlife and beautiful foliage and flowers…snails and butterflies are in abundance.

Location- Merthyr Mawr, Bridgend CF32 0PA car parking was Β£3 for the day.

It’s a lovely walk….

Here’s how our walk looked…  
    
    
    
    
    
    
   

RAINBOW MINI TODDLER ADVENTURE AT LYDNEY PARK

  As part of our ongoing toddler mini adventure series aimed at making the most of the pre nursery time remaining with Noah before he heads off to school in September, endeavouring to slow down & embracing our time together, today we went on a colours of the rainbow hunt with Noah… 

This also formed part of our local places exploration..

We went to Lydney Park spring gardens, nr Chepstow…..it was an absolutely beautifully stunning place & the perfect place for a colourful adventure with or without the kids… There was so much more to see there but our objective was to find colours… 
You can find more details of admissions & opening times at http://www.lydneyparkestate.co.uk/gardens.html
Here’s how our day looked 😊 

 

We found blue..
  
and green..
  
and red…
  purple..
  White..   

 

yellow (on the way there!) 

 Lots of pink…

   
 

we even stopped for an orange πŸ™‚

   

There was plenty to explore… 

 
The gardens were stunning…& the colours kept coming… 

  

  

  

  

  

There  was lots of beauty to see, together with a tea room, a museum & a deer park where you could picnic!

   
         

We finished our rainbow hunt with a colourful picnic….. 

 

FIRST SNOWFALL MINI ADVENTURE/ UPPER WYNDCLIFF

With snow seemingly falling everywhere overnight apart from within the green bubble that surrounds our house we headed out on a mini adventure in search of the snowfalls that we could see on the hills in the distance.
We found our patch just outside Chepstow in Upper Wyndcliff.
The Upper Wyndcliff car park is reached via a lane off the A466, 1⁄2 mile north of St Arvans. The car park is on the right after about 1⁄2 mile. The footpath on the left at the back of the car park is signposted for Eagle’s Nest and the Wye Valley Walk which gives you stunning views across Wye Valley.

We were only on a mini adventure so settled for a walk surrounding the car park….this in itself was a lovely walk but only lasted an hour…..just enough to wear out little legs.

We headed over the stile and onto the farmland and explored the fields…

Here’s how we got on..
We started our walk under dark skies in the company of a rainbow…IMG_5378.JPG

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IMG_5385.JPGThe higher up the hill we walked the thicker the snow became..

IMG_5387.JPGand beautiful view grew.

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IMG_5389.JPGit was like a big white fluffy enticing blanket….

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IMG_5390.JPGwe made tracks and followed them..

IMG_5391.JPGand even tried a little sledging without a sledge πŸ˜‰

IMG_5399.JPGwith soggy bums, cold snowman building hands and school run time approaching we decided we’d had enough snow fun and headed back to the car…

But not without saying goodbye to our afternoon friend…

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….with a peck on the nose πŸ’–

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⛄️

THREE CLIFFS BAY (THE GOWER)

IMG_5333.JPGWe started our walk outside Shepherd’s shop on the main road (A4188) next to the Gower Heritage Centre and followed the signs for Three Cliffs bay. You’ll need wellies as it was quite muddy in places.
There was a small charge for car parking which was payable inside the shop.
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Our walk took us along the river through woodland and over marshy sandbanks until we came to Three Cliffs Bay. The beach was a beautiful cove with some awesome stepping stones but was quite difficult to navigate yourself and the kids over the muddy banks and water ways, the sand was very soft in places and left me feeling a bit uneasy with the the children….but they had a fab time exploring their surroundings.
We’ll definitely return when the weather is drier and would expect it to feel a lot safer in the Summer months.
There was plenty of opportunities to explore with a Pennard castle ruins overlooking the valley and access to adjoining beach coves.

Here’s how our walk went..

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IMG_5328.JPGthe big kids loved rolling down the huge sand dune!

IMG_5342.JPGwhilst the little ones were content with beach combing..

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It was extremely quiet and we were almost the only ones on the beach

IMG_5324.JPGif we had more time we would of ventured over the sand dune hill to explore the castle ruins and the adjoining cove that was beyond a fab arch in the cliff..

IMG_5341.JPGbut the day caught up with us and we headed back as the light started to fade..

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LOWER WYNDCLIFFE VIEW POINT

2015/01/img_0352-0.jpgWe parked in Lower Wyndcliffe Car Park which is on the A466 three and a half miles north of Chepstow and just north of St Arvans, you can cross the road and follow the signs for the 365 steps or as we did just explore the area around the view point in the car park.
There were fab trees in the woodland and it was quite magical…
Here’s how it looked..

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2015/01/img_0356.jpgwe found some hanging vines and made a natural swing..

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2015/01/img_0360.jpgwe searched for bugs..

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2015/01/img_0361.jpgwe climbed on tree stumps..

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2015/01/img_0368.jpgwe only spent around an hour and a half there but it was a lovely stop off.

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GUARDIAN MEMORIAL

In the heart of the valley over looking the community stands ‘The Guardian’, towering 20 metres into the sky this steel structure of a sinewy minor is a memorial that stands as a stark reminder of the 45 miners that lost their lives in the towns 1960 underground mining explosion.
We parked in the signposted car park & took the 10 minute tranquil stroll up to the structure, set surrounded by rolling green valleys ‘Guardian’ exuded a sense of awe. The kids seemed to lap up a lesson in history & the fragility of life. This visit only took us an hour at most, strolling and taking a good amount of time to absorb the atmosphere & appreciate the significance of the site.
Guardian is the largest mining memorial in Wales which commemorates the 1960 Six Bells mining disaster in which 45 men & boys lost their lives in an underground gas & coal explosion, The Guardian was unveiled on June 28th 2010 to mark the 50th anniversary of the disaster.

Costing over Β£200.000 the memorial of a miner 12.6 metres high and stands in a plinth display the names & ages of all whom perished. He is made up of 20.000 individual slices of 10mm thick cor ten steel, a weathering steel that enables a protective rust to form on its surface.

The memorial towers over 20 metres high looking over the former Six Bells colliery.

Our visit was very thought provoking especially after visiting the Big Pit heritage site nearby & having the opportunity to go underground & grasp an idea of mining life.

Both places are free to visit & great to install some Welsh heritage education.

(Six Bells, Abertillery NP13 2NQ)Would definitely recommend a visit.

Here’s how our walk went..

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PEN Y FAN SUNRISE WALK

We started our adventures for 2015 with a sun rise walk to the top of Pen Y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales. We started our walk from the Pont ar Daf car park located along the A470 a few minutes in a westerly direction from the Storey Arms.
We used this walked as a quality time slot with just the 10 year old with us…the teenager stayed home with the younger children and we were home for elevenses πŸ˜‰
We wrapped up warm (with spare clothes in our rucksacks to allow for change in weather) and took a flask of tea. Good walking boots are advisable and always tell somebody where you are going.

We started our walk from the car park 50 minutes before the sun was due to rise so had good light with the darkness fading, we followed the well defined path over the bridge and up…
It took us an hour to reach the summit where we enjoyed our tea in the company of a beautiful sunrise before heading back down.
The weather was forecast to clear but the wind at the too was bitterly cold and the blue sky a little deceiving.
It was a great way to start off 2015…
Here’s how we got on…

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An hour before sunrise was a lovely light, not too dark but with all the stars still out.

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0299.jpgwith cloud on the horizon we had to wait until the sun broke through the band of cloud…but when it did it was beautiful…

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0294-0.jpgafter absorbing the sun joining us for the day we headed back down the way we had come…

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0284.jpgas we walked down we walked back into the shadow of the mountain faster than the sun was rising..

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0280.jpgand as we got back down to the car park the sun was just peeping over the mountain..

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We started the year off exactly how we intend to see through 2015..making use of everything beautiful that surrounds us and the outdoors beneath our feet πŸ™‚

CRAIG-Y-FAN DDU RIDGE WALK

IMG_4926.JPGThere’s nothing more beautiful than a clear, crisp, and fresh winters day walk.
We parked in the Upper Blaen Y Glyn carpark (which in itself is an ideal location for waterfall hunting and picnicking) and headed up the steep path next to the cattle grid that lies to your right as heading out of the carpark.
We climbed the path heading for the visible Craig Y Fan Ddu towering above us. Our intention was to climb up onto the ridge and follow the route around to the right along Graig Fan Las until we reached the crash site of the Wellington Bomber that lays on Waun Rwdd….it was our plan to lay our memorial poppy here which we had been unable to lay a few weeks prior after deciding not to climb due to weather warnings.

As it was we got to the top of the first ridge accompanied by a beautiful blue sky to discover that the adjoining ridges were hugged with whiteout cloud, we took the choice to walk to the edge of the cloud before turning around and heading back the way we had come with clear visibility, it is best to avoid walking into thick white cloud as it often requires a heightened orienteering stance, can be considerably colder and has very low visibility. As much as we were prepared we wanted a blue skied walk….This meant that we did not reach the Wellington site but we found an equally beautifully placed memorial on our route and laid our Poppy.

As we headed back down the sun began to descend and everything was cast into a stunning orange glow as the day slipped away.
Our walk approx 3 hours.

Here’s our walk…

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IMG_4919.JPGwith our Poppy laid we walked to the edge of the cloud..

IMG_4938.JPGand then we headed back down..after we’d took time to admire the view and have a donut πŸ™‚

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Directions..Upper Blaen-y-Glyn Car Park is in Blaen-Y-Glyn which is part of Talybont, BRECON Beacons, Mid Wales.
Once in Talybont-on-Usk follow signs for Talybont reservoir, passing through the village of Aber, continuing until Forestry Commission signs are seen. Follow the road over a small bridge and up a steep hill, crossing cattle grids on the way. The car park is located on the right at the top of the hill.
Talybont-on-Usk is the nearest town or village.
OS Grid Reference: SO 056176
Here’s a map of our route

COUCH POTATOES ON TOP OF WALES

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We’re no strangers to the mountains & love to find some of the most beautiful spots in Wales to lap up gorgeous views. Our usual mode of exploration is our feet & you’ll often find us hiking in the hills in mid Wales in search of natural beauty.
Last week we headed away from our usual spots and drove North on an adventure to Snowdonia. We’ve visited on several occasions before and climbed several peaks including the summit of Snowdon so are no strangers to the awe striking beauty that greets you at the very top of the highest peak in Wales. With an elevation of 1,085 metres (3,560ft) above sea level, this towering mountain really is something special & is a must for any explorers bucket list. On clear days you are promised 360 panoramic views that stretch over the national park and out to the ocean that hugs the North Coast.
After defeating this mountain with the children in tow we were extremely overwhelmed to have an invitation to ride to the top on The Snowdon Mountain Railway. We’d travelled on the railway a few years ago and due to snow had only made it halfway up before the snowdrifts made it impossible for the train to go any further so we were really excited to go back to complete our journey.
We planned to make the very most of our ride to the summit & take advantage of the difference between a hike with only essentials in tow, maps, safety equipment, common sense, planning etc & being able to carry things up that would otherwise not be on our essential list to go in our rucksacks, so our plan was to toast the occasion ‘Family Days Tried & tested’ style..

We packed plastic champagne flutes, lashings of tea, iced gems and, of course, somewhere comfy to sit to take in the view…..we were to become couch potatoes with the aid of an inflatable sofa on the summit of Snowdon with the most beautiful views you could ever imagine absorbing from the comfort of your own settee.
It was a gorgeously blue skied day, with no wind & only breeze forecast for the mountain so we were set for our adventure…..
Here’s what greeted us…20140909-191330-69210943.jpgwe arrived at Llanberis mountain railway station and spent some time watching the trains coming and going..

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Noah was in awe of the trains.

20140909-191604-69364042.jpgbefore we boarded our train we checked out the drivers carriage..

20140909-191722-69442755.jpgWith our tickets in hand, some snacks for the journey and our deflated sofa tucked under our seat we were off…up, up and away….

20140909-191939-69579159.jpgthe scenery that accompanied us as we climbed high and higher up the mountain was spectacular.

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20140909-192306-69786404.jpgwe passed trains on the way up.

20140909-192446-69886457.jpgwe passed through Rocky Valley….which was rocky πŸ™‚

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20140909-192617-69977299.jpg we climbed higher & higher..

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20140909-192813-70093245.jpgThe views were a stark contrast to those that we’d seen during the snow, here’s the same spot, one lush greenness basking in sunshine and the other glistening white under a beautiful blue sky…

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20140909-193032-70232271.jpghalfway up and we were enjoying every second of beauty outside our window.

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20140909-193340-70420513.jpgwe past lots of walkers on the way up..

20140909-193455-70495603.jpgNoah spent lots of time waving πŸ™‚

20140909-193542-70542038.jpgwe could see the familiar summit approaching..

20140909-193647-70607912.jpgwe pulled into the station alongside the cafe nestled in the sky..

20140909-193833-70713706.jpghere we were able to use the wash room, purchase a cup of tea and snacks or just sit and admire the beautiful view out of the window…

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20140909-194141-70901804.jpgwe had taken our own snacks and drinks so we headed straight to the top to inflate our sofa and sit to enjoy the most beautiful views ever…

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20140909-194507-71107484.jpgwith a quick trip to the trig point for a ‘on top of Wales’ selfie πŸ™‚ before heading back to the platform to watch our return journey train coming back for us..

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When we got back down we spent some time in the small train museum before choosing some souvenirs in the gift shop..

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20140909-195152-71512684.jpgwe had an absolutely fab day on Snowdon Mountain Railway and would like to thank them for inviting us to ride on the train… It certainly made a little boy who loves trains very very happy & a family who love the mountains very happy too…. It was a great adventure!!

You can find more info on Snowdon Mountain railway on theirwebsiteor over on their facebookpage.

**please remember that if you are hiking it is not advisable to take a sofa with you and to always be sensibly prepared, taking the train up enabled us to reach the top of the mountain in completely different manner to our usual ways & experience it in an unusual way. We love walking, but we also love mountain trains πŸ™‚

ABANDONED SHIP ADVENTURE, NORTH WALES

20140909-140354-50634282.jpgOn August 10th, 1979, a former Sealink passenger ferry called β€œThe Duke of Lancaster” was beached at Llanerch-y-Mor in North Wales with the intention of turning it into a floating leisure and retail complex called The Fun Ship, unfortunately the project never achieved it’s full potential due to many legal disputes with the local council & now sits slowing rusting on the shoreline. You are not able to enter the ship but can walk around its perimeter to absorb all it’s awe.
It’s a fantastic canvas for some very talented pieces of graffiti artwork.

We stumbled over The Duke of Lancaster whilst browsing google earth for places to visit along the North East Wales coastline, we were not disappointed by what greeted us in reality.

We parked down along the sea wall down a gravel path in an area used for fishermen. The track was on the A548 opposite Garden Row, Holywell CH8, North Wales.
The ship was visible at the end of the track from where we had parked so we just headed along the sea wall path to the ship. Once at the ship we continued on the path, under a railway bridge & into a small farmers market shopping area which had a small play park and cafe, once we’d had enjoyed an ice cream and a play we headed back the way we had came.

Here’s how our walk went…

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20140909-140537-50737489.jpgas we got closer we were met by a fence which we peered through..

20140909-140711-50831936.jpgthe sheer size of it swept over us as we got closer..

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The ship had a fantastic awe to it as it loomed over us..

20140909-141047-51047549.jpgthe graffiti that graced it was quite a stunning display of art..

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20140909-141216-51136896.jpg<br /the walk surrounding the ship was teamed with wildlife..

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Our walk took us approx 1.5 hours and was well worth the stop off!