171 Lantwit Major to Nash Point

This afternoon I must travel home to Lincolnshire and so today I’m planning a short, circular walk. I will be following the Wales Coast Path along the cliffs to Nash Point Lighthouse, and then back to my car via an inland footpath.

I drive down to the beach at Llantwit Major. The weather is still dull, but not as bad as yesterday. I can even see the horizon as a definite line!
 looking towards St Donat's Point, Ruth on her coastal walk in Wales

As I walk along the cliff I pass a pillbox. There are many of these dotted around the coast line, but this one catches my eye because it has a lovely stone façade.

first pill box, Ruth on the Wales Coast Path

After 1/2 a mile the path dips down into a small cove. This is Tresilian Bay. One lone house sits on the shore and there is nothing else around. A pretty spot. I see two runners making their way – with some difficulty – across the pebble beach.

Tresilian Bay, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path

The route of the path is clearly marked over the beach, by the thin layer of brown dirt deposited from walking shoes onto the grey stones.

Climbing the cliff on the other side, I come across another pillbox. This one is brick faced and not as impressive as the first one.

second pill box, Ruth walking on the Wales Coast Path
The footpath ahead is closed. My heart sinks. But then I realise a diversion is in place, just on the other side of the fence.

 footpath closed sign, Ruth's coastal walk in Wales

The reason for the diversion soon becomes clear. The old path suddenly disappears off the edge of the cliff!

Wales coast path disappears off cliff, Ruth Livingstone

I’m reminded of how rapidly the coastline can change. And, therefore, how any coastal path must be in a state of constant evolution.

I walk through a wooded area and see a tempting sign, ‘TO THE BEACH’. But, knowing it would be a dead-end, I stick to the main coast path and continue onwards…

path down to beach, Ruth walking the coast in South Wales

… passing clumps of the first snowdrops I’ve seen this year, and soon arriving at St Donat’s Bay. There is quay here and some men are fishing on the stony beach below.

 going down to St Donat's Bay, Ruth's coastal walk in Wales

The footpath crosses the quay, which seems to belong to a private estate. It looks like a mock castle. Or a monastery. Through an open gate I take a sneaky photograph.

St Donat's College, Ruth walking the Welsh coastline

I wonder what happens here?

On the other side of the quay the path goes up the cliff again, and through more woodland.

through woods, Ruth Livingstone
Then I emerge into the open, and see an open cliff top stretching ahead  with a lighthouse at the end. That must be my destination: Nash Point Lighthouse

As I get closer I realise there are two lighthouses, an unusual arrangement. One is a classical tall tower, the other is a squat structure. They are both (as far as I know) in working order but, like all the other lighthouses around the UK are unmanned and monitored remotely by Trinity House.
11 Nash Point light house, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path
And on top of one of the buildings is a set of foghorns. It is difficult to demonstrate how large these are from the photo. They are BIG.
Nash Point foghorn, Ruth walking the south coast in Wales
This is one of the few lighthouses where you can actually climb the tall tower and view the light.  But today the place is deserted and the Visitor’s Centre is closed.

A sign in the window explains how the Fog Signal was discontinued 20 years ago, but has been restored and is sounded from time to time to amuse visitors or for the benefit of wedding parties. Wedding? Yes, you can get married in the lighthouse!

I am amused by the sign in the window. This explains how the fog horns might be sounded from time to time, but if you haven’t paid your entrance fee: ‘we must respectfully ask you not to listen to them.’
fog horn sign, Nash Point, Ruth's coastal walk in WalesI gather the noise can be heard up to 20 miles away!

Beyond the lighthouse I walk across the grassy top of a cliff. Nobody in sight. The sun has come out. The sea has turned from a murky-grey to a glorious deep-blue colour.
Nash Point in the sunshine, Ruth on the Wales Coast Path

And I come across an unexpected and very beautiful view. The land falls steeply away and down to a valley. This where Marcross Brook empties into the sea. The tall cliff on the other side is the real ‘Nash Point’.

Nash Point and Marcross Brook, Ruth walking the Welsh coast

I sit on the grassy bank above the valley and have a snack and a drink. Finally, after three days of urban and industrial landscapes, I’ve had a truly lovely walk and arrived at a wonderful place.

From here I head up the stream to the village of Marcross, and then across fields to St Donat’s, where I re-join the coastal path for a mile or so and retrace my steps until I return to the beach at Llantwit Major.

This morning I walked this section in splendid isolation. The midday sunshine has brought people out and I meet other walkers.

A gentleman (the man in the pale jacket in the photo below, if I remember rightly) stopped to talk to me…
16 walking back to the beach at Major Llantwit, Ruth on her coastal trek

… and told me a little of the history of St Donat’s. The building was a castle, but is now used as an international boarding school. The children of many famous third world politicians are sent here.

Miles walked today = 7 miles (circular route)
Total miles walked = 1,698 in total

Today’s route:

About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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8 Responses to 171 Lantwit Major to Nash Point

  1. Marie Keates says:

    It’s true the coast is always changing, except where we are trying to stop it. I came across a similarly crumbling path near Hurst Spit a while ago.

  2. John Greensmith says:

    Ruth, I love reading about your walking experience. You will soon be walking the Pembrokeshire coast. I’m sure you are aware of the Castlemartin MOD range. The western part, from Stack Rocks is closed except for only 4 days a year when you can walk it with a ranger. The only dates left this year are 28th June, 2nd August and 17th August. You must do this part, it is beautiful and unique. Do it even if it is out of order for you. PHONE 01834 845040 to book (8 pounds)

    • Hi John and thank you for your kind words about my blog. No, I didn’t know about the MOD range. Thank you very much for pointing this out. I’ll need to plan it… As you say, it will probably be out of sequence but that doesn’t matter 🙂

  3. jcombe says:

    I loved Tresilian Bay, stopped there for about half an hour as I had made good time. I can report the closed path is still closed (though it’s hardly surprising given it has fallen off the cliff!) so also used the diversion through the field. The castle is some sort of boarding school/college, there were a few students srumming guitars there when I went past. Sadly the lighthouse has removed the comment about asking you not to listen to the fog horn, a shame. I was hoping to look inside but it was closed because of a wedding that day, so I had to make do with peering through the windows instead!

    • When I returned to Nash Point to resume my walk I was dropped off by my husband and his mother. They looked around the lighthouse and then heard the fog horn, which was being tested in anticipation of a wedding. Apparently it was very, very LOUD.

  4. Mark says:

    Hi Ruth – nice journal and here’s a bit more about the ‘castle’ at St. Donat’s – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Donat%27s_Castle

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