Monday 25 April 2016
Port Talbot to Porthcawl
Ann and Meirion’s house, Porthcawl (Al’s parents)
I caught a bus into the centre of Cardiff and then a train to Baglan, saving me a walk out of Swansea and across the River Neath. I made my way through Sandfields housing estate to the waterfront at Aberavon Sands.
At the end of the promenade is Aberavon Beach, which is lovely, except for being right next to the docks servicing Port Talbot steel factory.
The path turned inland to skirt the docks and the steel works, and I spent the next couple of hours mostly walking next to a main road, sandwiched between the M4 and the factories. It was not the most exciting walk.
Eventually, after another roundabout, I turned away from the main road and across several railway lines at the end of their tracks. Suddenly I entered a sand dune and wetland wilderness.
It was a long walk along the soft sandy paths through Kenfig National Nature Reserve. A wild place next to all the industry. I didn’t see much wildlife though, mainly geese and skylarks.
I approached Porthcawl via Rest Bay, which I later found out is significantly lower and has less sand than before the 2013 storms.
Porthcawl seems like a nice town, originally developed around a small harbour to service the iron and coal industries of the valleys and now a seaside resort. I walked along Lock’s Common and the esplanade, with its 1932 Grand Pavillion, and out to Porthcawl Point.
I noticed the plaque on the wall commemorating the first Porthcawl Annual Christmas Day swim that has been running since 1965.
I had a lovely evening with my friend Al’s parents. Meirion and Ann really looked after me and made me feel very welcome.