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 ยฃ3 for the day.

It’s a lovely walk….

Here’s how our walk looked…  
    
    
    
    
    
    
   

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.
Penmaen Woods
A4118
Swansea
SA3
Wales
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..

IMG_5338.JPG

IMG_5337.JPG

IMG_5335.JPG

IMG_5336.JPG

IMG_5334.JPG

IMG_5332.JPG

IMG_5329.JPG

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

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

IMG_5323.JPG

IMG_5327.JPG

IMG_5326.JPG

IMG_5325.JPGand splashing…

IMG_5322.JPG
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..

IMG_5331.JPG

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰
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…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0305.jpg
An hour before sunrise was a lovely light, not too dark but with all the stars still out.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0303.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0302.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0301.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0300.jpg

/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…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0311.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0308.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0306.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0296.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0293.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0307.jpg

/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…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0289.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0285.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0286.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0292.jpg

/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..

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0313.jpg

/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..

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0279.jpg
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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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…

IMG_4930.JPG

IMG_4931.JPG

IMG_4922.JPG

IMG_4936.JPG

IMG_4929.JPG

IMG_4932.JPG

IMG_4933.JPG

IMG_4935.JPG

IMG_4934.JPG

IMG_4923-0.JPG

IMG_4918.JPG

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_4939-0.JPG

IMG_4937.JPG

IMG_4940.JPG

IMG_4920.JPG

IMG_4941.JPG

IMG_4924.JPG

IMG_4921.JPG

IMG_4925.JPG

IMG_4927.JPG

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

FROZEN ADVENTURE, SEARCHING FOR ROCK TROLLS ON THE TORRENT WALK

You gotta love Frozen! Full of magic & enchantment & a lovely film, the kids would watch it on a loop if they could.. But what if you could recreate that magic in the real world?
That’s exactly what we did!!
We found the ideal place in Snowdonia national park for an enchanting walk to the valley of the living rocks on an adventure in search of rock trolls….

Our walk took place at a place called ‘Torrent walk’ in a fantastic valley carved out by the ice age, with rock trolls galore…
Our walk was approx 2.5 miles / 4km
and took us a leisurely 1.5 hours, the path was unsuitable for pushchairs/wheelchairs and quite steep in places and could get quite muddy in wet weather.
Start / Finish: A lay-by near the village of Brithdir on the B4416 (SH 761 182)
Relevant Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL 23 (Cadair Idris and Llyn Tegid)
From Dolgellau, follow the A470 southbound. After around two miles, turn left towards Brithdir (B4416) and over a small bridge (Pont ar Ddibyn). In around 200m you will come to a lay-by on the left with a waymarker marking the path, this is where we started and finished our walk.

Here’s how our magical real life Frozen adventure went…

IMG_8530.JPGwe started in the lay by heading down into the trees following the arrows towards the valley…

IMG_8528.JPGit wasn’t long before we started spotting signs of rock trolls..

IMG_8529.JPGwe took time to explore in the trees and sat quietly to watch for any rock movements..

IMG_8527.JPG

IMG_8525.JPG

IMG_8526.JPGthe trees got taller as we headed down into the valley and the abundance of rocks grew…we sang Frozen songs along the way…

IMG_8523.JPG

IMG_8522.JPG

IMG_8524.JPG

IMG_8521.JPGthere was lots of evidence of fairies too..

IMG_8520.JPG

IMG_8518.JPG

IMG_8519.JPGwe walked following the path stopping to inspect rocks as we went until we came to an old mill at the bottom of the valley, here we walked over a small bridge to cross the river before heading back up the valley along the other side of the river….here our adventure really started to come to life…

IMG_8517.JPG

IMG_8516.JPGwe headed through the gateway entrance to the valley of the living rocks…

IMG_8515.JPGwe were greeted by a magical world of rock trolls nestled along the banks of the river..

IMG_8514.JPGand we made ourselves at home dancing and singing and stopping as we walked along to quickly look back for movements…

IMG_8513.JPG

IMG_8512.JPGIT WAS MAGICAL!

IMG_8511.JPG
We stayed a while before saying goodbye to our new friends ๐Ÿ˜‰

IMG_8509.JPG
We followed the magical path of our make believe Frozen set back to the car with a promise to return on a proper frozen & snowy winters day ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_8508.JPG

IMG_8507.JPG

ABANDONED SHIP ADVENTURE, NORTH WALES

20140909-140354-50634282.jpgOn August 10th, 1979, a former Sealink passenger ferry called โ€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 itโ€™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…

20140909-140448-50688711.jpg

20140909-140459-50699016.jpg

20140909-140513-50713667.jpg

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..

20140909-140838-50918878.jpg

20140909-140850-50930052.jpg
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..

20140909-141150-51110452.jpg

20140909-141156-51116757.jpg

20140909-141204-51124541.jpg

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

20140909-141442-51282647.jpg

20140909-141450-51290490.jpg

20140909-141552-51352602.jpg

20140909-141613-51373873.jpg

20140909-141625-51385249.jpg

20140909-142014-51614404.jpg

20140909-142340-51820136.jpg

20140909-142346-51826740.jpg

20140909-142358-51838293.jpg

20140909-142510-51910747.jpg
Our walk took us approx 1.5 hours and was well worth the stop off!

365 STEPS TO THE EAGLES NEST VIEW POINT- FOREST OF DEAN

20140812-204205-74525934.jpgWe decided to head to the Forest of Dean to climb up to the Eagles nest view point, so with cake in hand we headed off….

We 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, we crossed the road and followed the signs for the 365 steps.
The path leads you up the steps through woodland to the view point. The view across the bend in the Wye river includes the rocks of Wintours leap, the Severn bridges and estuary and, on a clear day, the Cotswold and Mendip hills. You also get a great view of the unique โ€˜hangingโ€™ woodlands which cling to the sides of the rocks.

It was raining when we went so was quite slippery in places but it was managed by all the children including Noah (2), although we had to keep a close eye on him, help him up and down some of the larger steps and hold his hand.

The walk was like a haven for fairies and the woods looked like a prehistoric playground.

Our walk took us around 3/4 of an hour to reach the viewpoint with half an hours stop off at the top to admire the view before heading back down….

Here’s how we got on…

20140812-204245-74565390.jpg

20140812-204303-74583123.jpgThere was evidence of fairies in the magical twisted woodland..

20140812-204409-74649919.jpg

20140812-204437-74677890.jpg

20140812-204454-74694493.jpg

20140812-204604-74764699.jpgwe found a cave which we thought belonged to a dragon…

20140812-204649-74809806.jpg

20140812-204710-74830812.jpgthere were lots of steps and Noah had a helping hand…

20140812-204805-74885827.jpgHalf way up we were greeted by a beautiful glimpse of the view through a clearing in the trees…

20140812-204954-74994612.jpgand then more steps..

20140812-205027-75027175.jpgwe found a really cool tree..

20140812-205109-75069356.jpgand then we reached the top and were treated to spectacular views…

20140812-205304-75184185.jpg

20140812-205310-75190501.jpg

20140812-205318-75198761.jpg

20140812-205404-75244375.jpg

20140812-205340-75220898.jpg

20140812-205349-75229291.jpgAND CAKE!!

20140812-205609-75369301.jpg after our cake we headed back down exploring along the way…

20140812-210257-75777409.jpg

20140812-210339-75819216.jpgwe even found our own Eagle in the nest to take home with us ๐Ÿ™‚

20140812-210432-75872338.jpg

BUBBLE BLOWING IN THE SKY ON SUGARLOAF MOUNTAIN

20140709-190510-68710475.jpg
Today we decided to head for the hills under a beautiful blue sky, we took a huge tub of bubbles, some yummies & a flask of tea. We headed to Sugarloaf mountain in Abergavenny.
Our walk was relatively easy but quite rocky & steep under foot in places. Our route was approximately 4 miles from start to finish & took us around 3.5 hours with lots of stop offs on the way up to enjoy the view, catch our breath & bask in the glorious sunshine. The colours of summer were out in full force.

We headed up the hill from the car park & walked with the mountain in our view winding our way up on several different well defined paths.
Once at the top we spent some time blowing bubbles before heading back down.

Always take plenty of water & some warm clothing as it can be quite windy on the top…this is a great walk but also one that gets the stamina racing in places.

(We started our walk from Llanwenarth car park (NP7) SO268166.
By car: From the west follow the A40. Just before you reach Abergavenny, and just after the Lamb and Flag pub, turn left where the Sugarloaf Vineyards are signposted. Take the first left and follow the road up. Turn left again and the road bends sharply round to the right. Continue uphill until you come to a very sharp left turn. Follow this bend round and take the right-hand fork shortly after. Continue along this road, past some small parking areas, until you reach the main tarmac car park with stone trig point. From the east follow the A40 out of Abergavenny and turn right following the signs for Sugarloaf Vineyards. Follow instructions above.)

Here’s his our walk looked…

20140709-190602-68762242.jpgwe started with a gorgeous view in the carpark.

20140709-190706-68826201.jpg

20140709-190723-68843728.jpgNoah got a speed on following a beetle… There were lots of shiny electric blue beetles.

20140709-190918-68958090.jpg

20140709-190925-68965604.jpg

20140709-191037-69037923.jpg

20140709-191055-69055667.jpgwe found a huge bolder which we thought was the fist of an enormous giant turned to stone during a mountain top battle of territory..

20140709-191232-69152858.jpgwe found feathers which were particularly tickly on the ears

20140709-191514-69314533.jpgas we got to the top the rocks became bigger..they were great to explore

20140709-191704-69424842.jpgwe spent some time blowing bubbles

20140709-191756-69476928.jpg

20140709-191758-69478085.jpg

20140709-191759-69479230.jpgNoah also spent some time taming a prehistoric rock dinosaur

20140709-191925-69565973.jpgafter the dinosaur was defeated we climbed to the summit..

20140709-192043-69643237.jpg

20140709-192044-69644253.jpgit was quite breezy…

20140709-192129-69689654.jpgafter taking in the beautiful 360 views we headed back down on the path that was clearly defined and visible from the top..

20140709-192334-69814543.jpg

20140709-192351-69831384.jpg

20140709-192403-69843649.jpgwe made sure we took the time to turn around to look with awe at where we had walked..

20140709-192510-69910415.jpgwe stopped to watch the farmers herding their mountain sheep on their horses.

20140709-192628-69988750.jpg

20140709-192643-70003975.jpgthe colours today were truly stunning and offered a real glimpse of summer..

20140709-192744-70064128.jpg

20140709-192743-70063245.jpgNoah enjoyed a kip on the way down..

20140709-192845-70125884.jpg

20140709-192857-70137313.jpgSugarloaf is a beautiful mountain & one of our favourites in all seasons. Today the blue sky made it even more so gorgeous.

ONE BOY & HIS DOG…..SCOOBY DOOBIE DOOOOO

20140516-165108.jpg

Today we walked with only one child in tow, the 4 others were in school so it was just a toddler and us….
Noah was accompanied by his new friend. Scooby Do. Noah sat in a back carrier on Dads back and Scooby Do sat in a back carrier on mine. We walked up Corn Ddu in the Brecon Beacons.

Here’s how we got on….just for fun.

20140516-165136.jpg

20140516-165144.jpg

20140516-165151.jpg

20140516-165158.jpg

20140516-165205.jpg

20140516-165212.jpg

20140516-165233.jpg

20140516-165218.jpg

20140516-165225.jpg

CRAIG CERRIG GLEISIAD A FAN FRYNYCH WALK

20140505-234018.jpg
We decided to embark on a Sunday afternoon adventure to a beautiful place nestled within the heart of the Brecon Beacons. Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad y Fan Frynych sits in a National NatureReserve & is a great example of how the ice age formed the bowls within the mountains, rich in wildlife the cliffs act as a vertical woodland with trees and shrubs all around that include hawthorn, rowan to name a few and mountain ash, heather and bilberry grow on the slopes and moorlands above, it’s a prime location to spot Welsh poppies and during our visit we found lots of Bluebells. The views were breathtaking and don’t forget to stop and turn around to look behind at the stunning scenes across to Pen Y Fan.

Our walk followed the path beside the stream into Craig Cerrig-Gleisiadโ€™s bowl climbing up to the right of the mountain and returning down on a well marked circular loop.
Some of the paths are steep and although a fence runs along the ridge you will still pass close to the cliff edges so caution must be maintained. The weather can change rapidly. Walkers should wear appropriate footwear, be prepared for sudden weather changes, adhere to ample common sense and take care. Between May and October the reserve is grazed by cattle and sheep so dogs need to be kept under control.
Our walk took just under 4 hours with plenty of stops and starts whilst the kids explored various bits and pieces and rested to take in the view, we stopped towards the end to make a Maypole with ribbons. The descent was very steep in places but still manageable for the children whom found it great fun to often sit on their bums to slide down grassy lumps & bumps.

We parked in a large lay-by approx two miles north of the Storey Arms on the A470.
OS grid reference
SN956227

Here’s how our walk went…
20140505-234123.jpg
Our walk started off through woodland along a small river/stream laden with lush grass..

20140505-234236.jpg

Which led us through to the bottom of a great mountainous bowl…20140505-234428.jpg
We followed the path up to the right through a gate, here we picked up a leaflet with suggested routes and information. We opted to walk up to the right if the bowl following the marked path and looping back down to the left.

20140505-234713.jpg
As we headed up we made sure we stopped to look back…

20140505-234746.jpg
We found lots of bugs..

20140505-234824.jpg
We followed the path up onto the top…

20140505-234922.jpg
We sat and reflected.

20140505-235007.jpg

20140505-235145.jpg
We followed the fence line along the top of the mountain cliffs..

20140505-235243.jpg
We found some great boggy lake on the uplands, perfect for skimming stones..

20140505-235451.jpg
We found a large burrowed hole!

20140505-235553.jpg
And Mila decided she wanted to live there ๐Ÿ™‚
We found so e great weathered fence posts.

20140505-235750.jpg

20140505-235759.jpg

20140505-235805.jpg
And we followed the fence line back down admiring the view all along.

20140505-235911.jpg

20140505-235923.jpg

20140505-235936.jpg

20140505-235943.jpgWe spotted a raincloud moving in.

20140506-000246.jpg
We loved the walls and looking at the view over them.

20140506-000358.jpg

20140506-000415.jpg
We stopped near the bottom and made our own Maypole with ribbons…

20140506-000605.jpg

20140506-000611.jpgwe stopped one last time to take in the views before heading back through the wood to the car.

20140506-000728.jpg
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon walk.

If you would like to follow more of our daily,frugal magical memory making activities & adventures during a childhood that’s fleeting you can find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=hl