Monday, 20 July 2015

A Sunny Day in Southerndown

Can you believe it's the school summer holidays? Again? Seems only a moment ago that I was enduring enjoying, I mean, last summer's six week break, but yes, it's here and so you'll perhaps be looking for things to do with your young 'uns. This holiday will be a funny one for me as it's the first one I've spent as a properly 'working' mum - with just a few days off aside from our family holiday in a few weeks, I won't actually be straying that far during the working week so our bigger trips will be reserved for the weekend. There will be some Sheep spotting, naturally (if you live in Bristol you'll know what I'm talking about) a Friday in London and - weather permitting - a weekend under canvas. But we kicked the holidays off at one of my favourite places - the idyllic Southerndown Beach in Wales.

I've mentioned Southerndown before on the blog (in my piece on other favourite beaches) but I thought I'd devote a whole post to its beauty for those of you looking for places to visit that aren't too far from Bristol. Southerndown is about one hour twenty minutes from Bristol, in the Vale of Glamorgan just beyond Brigend. We discovered it about four years ago when we visited on a school trip and I was seriously blown away by it. Virtually deserted in the week it can get busy on a sunny weekend in the summer, but with its expansive sands it never feels overcrowded. 

Located on the region's Heritage Coast, the beach is nestled amid high, striated cliffs which offer spectacular views across the water. A little hairy to walk across with kids, the coastal paths here would make for pretty exhilarating walks without them (just don't go to close to the edge!) 

The beach itself is glorious - a wide expanse of clean sand looking out towards clear seas - the water quality here is rated as excellent and it is patrolled by a life guard in the summer should you be tempted to don your wetsuit and take the plunge. 

Southerndown is a west facing beach that gets completely covered at high tide - do be sure to check tide times before you go. We arrived just after high tide and within around an hour there was enough sand to set up camp on.

Another great draw for kids are the many rock pools on the right hand side of the beach - we spent ages trawling the water for crabs, limpets and other signs of life. 

Be sure to bring a picnic with you as the beauty of this place is its lack of commercialisation - there are loos and a small shack selling beach necessities (ice creams, fishing nets, buckets and spades, and hot drinks) but that's it. There is a nice-looking pub on the way into Southerndown and we saw a sign for cream teas, but do come with a hamper if you don't want to tear yourself away from the beach.

Before you reach Sountherndown you can visit the Norman ruins of Ogmore Castle, set in a pretty spot surrounded by tranquil fields, and you can also go for a walk along the neighbouring Ogmore Beach, which leads to the castle along a pretty coastal pathway. 

Read more tips on Southerndown here. More photos here:


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