172 Nash Point to Ogmore-by-Sea

It’s Good Friday and the beginning of the Easter holidays. Nash Point car park is (almost) crowded. It cost us £2.00 to park here for the day. The view alone is worth it.
Nash Point light houses, Ruth on Wales Coast Path

Last time I was here I believed I could see clear to the horizon. Now I realise I was wrong. There is land on the horizon. Somerset! And further along the coast is Devon. I can see Minehead, Porlock, Lynmouth… how wonderful to see their familiar outlines.

Nash Point lighthouse, Ruth LivingstoneAfter my last visit here, I sent a photograph of the Nash Point lighthouses to my talented Artist in Residence, Tim Baynes. From this he produced a beautiful pen and wash, watercolour painting.

I think he has captured the spirit of the rocky cliffs, the feeling of a great sky above, and has also managed to include some of my words in the painting.

[This is one of a series of paintings that Tim has produced to illustrate my coastal walk. You can see the others in the series on this page. And you can visit Tim Baynes art pages at www.timbaynesart.co.uk ]

I stand on the top of the rocky outcrop at Nash Point and take several photographs of the incredible rock formations that cover the beaches along this section of coastline. Out to sea is the infamous Nash sandbank, exposed at low tide and responsible for many wrecks. It’s one of the reasons why the Nash lighthouses exist.

rocky beach Nash Point, Ruth's coastal walk, Wales

At low tide, I think it would be possible to walk along the beach itself – if you don’t mind scrambling over rocks occasionally. You could come inland where the land dips down in either of the next two river valleys. But, when I set off, I am not sure of this, and so I stick to the official Wales Coast Path which runs along the top of the cliffs.

Ahead I can see the sweep of Swansea Bay. Is that Swansea city in the distance? With The Mumbles and Gower beyond?

Wales Coast Path towards Swansea Bay, Ruth Livingstone

The sun appears intermittently. It’s very windy, and the patches of sunlight scurry across the waves and flash over the shoreline. Look at these amazing rocks!

Ruth walking along the Wales Coast Path, from Nash Point

After a mile, I come across my first major dip in the cliffs. This is Cwm Nash, the valley where Nash Brook empties onto beach. I am fascinated by the rocks on the shore below – it’s as if someone has deliberately carved out a series of concentric circles.

looking over Nash Brook, Wales Coast Path, Ruth walking the coast

There’s a tough climb up the other side, then I face a difficult walk against the wind, for a mile along the top of the cliffs, until I reach another dip.  Cwm Bach. The valley walls are very steep, at this point, and so the path detours inland for a few hundred yards before heading downwards along a gentler slope to cross the valley.

Traeth Bach, Ruth on the Wales Coast Path

And a short while later along the cliffs, and another dip. Cwm Mawr. More carved rocks spread their lines along the shore, and I see the black mouths of mysterious caves.

7 Cwn Mawr valley, Ruth on the Wales Coastal Path

Later, I realise it is possible to climb straight down into this valley and up the other side. But at the time I didn’t know this – and so I follow the official Wales Coast Path as it takes me inland, down flights of steps through  trees, and across the stream at the bottom of the valley.

crossing the bridge, Cwm Mawr valley, Ruth's coastal walk

Up the other side, and I’m soon back on the coast again. I stop and take a photo looking back along this wonderful shoreline. The far point is Nash Point. The lighthouses are invisible around the headland.

looking back to Nash Point, Ruth on the Wales Coast Path

I’ve reached a low promontory, Trwyn y Witch on my map, more commonly known as Dunraven Park. It includes the site of an ancient fortress – a place where King Caractacus stood against the Roman invaders. The best view is from across the other side of Dunraven Bay.

looking back at Dunarven Park, Ruth in Wales

From here onwards the wind becomes a major obstacle. It was fierce when I started out, but now has become a charging gale – blowing straight into my face.

Dangerous cliffs sign, Ruth walking in WalesI see the largest cliff-warning sign I have ever come across. A series of them. I put my walking poles against one and take a photograph. It’s taller than I am!

The cliffs are not obviously precipitous. You can’t actually see the drop from here, because they have a gently rolling edge. But the slope becomes more and more convex as you approach the drop.

Now I understand why the warnings are there. I can imagine children and dogs, lured by the gentle-looking grass, setting off down the incline, picking up speed, and then realising they can’t stop…

Ahead is another dip and, on the far side of the valley, a mass of gorse in flower. When I get nearer, the smell is fantastic. Coconut. Vanilla. The smell of fresh sweat on clean bodies. The smell of summer beaches. So evocative.

looking towards Ogmore-by-Sea, Ruth walking the coast in Wales

I walk along the shoreline approaching Ogmore-by-Sea. The path has become positively crowded. Everyone is finding it hard to walk against the wind.

approaching Ogmore-by-Sea, Wales

By the time I get to the other end of Ogmore-by-Sea, where the Ogmore River empties into the sea, the waves are rolling and furious. Only a few brave fishermen stand on the beach and face the gale.

wild waves, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path

I was planning to walk up the river and reach Ogmore Castle. It’s only a couple of miles upstream. And I discover where all the people are – on the river bank, rather than on the seashore. It is somewhat less windy here.

looking up Ogmore River, Ruth on the Welsh coastal path

But I feel exhausted. It’s a month since I hiked any decent distance and the wind has sapped all my energy. I sit on a bench and eat a bar of chocolate, before phoning my husband to arrange a pick-up.


Welsh words learnt: Cwm is a valley, trwyn is a promontory or nose.

Miles walked today = 7.5 miles
Miles since start of coastal walk = 1,705.5

Route:


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, Doctor, woman, etc.
This entry was posted in 12 South Wales and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to 172 Nash Point to Ogmore-by-Sea

  1. Gerald says:

    Hello Ruth
    I’m new round these parts, but just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying your words and pictures, and to wish you all the very best. I’m really glad to have found you 🙂

  2. paul Sennett says:

    Classification: External Communication

    Amazing
    Great to see

  3. jcombe says:

    Looking forward to this one, it looks spectacular. Shame about the wind though, I know how tiring it can be to walk into a gale all day.

    • I think wind is the walker’s worst enemy.
      Oh wait… I forgot about cows.
      I’ll rephrase. Wind is the walker’s second worst enemy!

      • paul sennett says:

        Carol and I have started looking at wind maps to work out which direction to do your wonderful walk segments these last few months Several walks were a lot easier as we walked down wind in 30 mph gales.

      • jcombe says:

        I enjoyed this walk, it is a spectacular stretch of coast. Having got there near low tide after a while of walking on the cliff tops and feeling I was not really making the most of those amazing cliffs I found a couple of rather precarious ladders attached to the cliff face I could climb down to the beach and follow for much of the rest of the way. It was lovely down there and it is amazing geology.

  4. tehomet says:

    Amazing pictures – as ever. Thank you for posting.

  5. Marie Keates says:

    Beautiful views but what a shame about the wind. I walked across the Itchen Bridge in similar conditions last weekend and just that mile wore me out.

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