Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Porthcawl, Bridgend. This breezy seaside place, on a low limestone promontory 7 miles South East of Port Talbot, began its resort career as a favourite with workers in the industrial valleys of the western coalfield. It is now more widely known and patronized. On the West side of the promontory is a fine waste of sand-dunes and open sand. To the East of the promontory are equally sandy dunelands along the mouth of the Ogmore river. Across the wide Bristol Channel, the high tors of Exmoor are visible on clear days.
The old piers enclose a little harbour for yachts and an occasional pleasure steamer. The harbour divides Porthcawl in two. To the West stretches the Esplanade with the Grand Pavilion. The Esplanade and the West Drive lead out to the fine, open spaces of Locks Common fronting the sea. Here, among low limestone rocks, is the bathing-place of Rest Bay, with The Rest, a large convalescent home, immediately behind it. Inland is Nottage, a village that has still preserved some of the whitewashed walls and cottages that used to be such a feature of the Glamorgan scene even thirty years ago. From some angles, in fact, Nottage seems to be nothing but white walls. Embedded in many of the walls are fragments of the old Chapel of Ease, which fell into disuse after the building of the parish church at Newton, 1 mile to the East Nottage Court — the “Sty mawr” (great house) — has now been designated as a building of special architectural interest. It is a restored Tudor manor house. It contains Tudor fireplaces, a reputed priests' hole, and tapestries of the 15th century that formerly belonged to Tewkesbury Abbey. R. D. Blackmore, the author of Lame Doone, stayed at Nottage Court when writing his romance The Maid of Sker. Westward from Nottage the sand-dunes of Kenfig begin.
East of the harbour, Porthcawl changes character. This is the popular day-tripper side of the resort. Coney Island, built along the sands of Sandy Bay, has a giant fun fair with big dipper, roundabouts, and everything you expect from a modern mass-entertainment centre. The fine sands of Trecco Bay are separated from Sandy Bay by the low headland of Rhych Point. A vast caravan Park, densely packed, has covered the sea-front here. But further East, where they begin to curve past Newton Point to Merthyr Mawr Warren, the Burrows are largely untouched.
Inland from the Burrows, and now part of the town of Porthcawl, is the village of Newton, with its ancient Parish Church of St John, standing before the neatly mown village green. The tower is impressively strong, built for defence as well as for the use of the church. Within, the main points of interest are the altar, one of the few pre-Reformation altars left in Glamorgan; the l5th century pulpit with its strange carvings of the Flagellation of Christ; and the octagonal font. South of the church, across the village green, is the famous spring of St John's Well. It is now covered in, with steps leading down to the clear water. The well owes its fame to the remarkable relationship with the rise and fall of the tide on the shore ¼ mile away. When the tide is out, the well is full; when the tide returns, the well is practically empty. An inscription on a slate fixed in the outside wall reminds the visitor of this phenomenon, and also of the Latin verse by Sir John Stradling (d. 1637) of St Donat's Castle, who interested the learned antiquary Camden in the curious behaviour of the well. Sir John's equally curious English verse expresses the feelings of the Nymph of the Severn face to face with the Spirit of the Well:
Called though he be, he lurkes in den, and striveth hard againe;
For ebbe and flow continually by tides they keep both twaine.
Yet diversely, for as the Nymph doth rise, the spring doth fall:
Go she hack, he com's on, in spite and fight continuall.
Nearby towns: Bridgend, Llantwit Major, Margam, Port Talbot
Nearby villages: Aberkenfig, Bettws, Blackmill, Bryn, Brynmenyn, Coity, Cornelly, Coychurch, Cwmafan, Ewenny, Garth, Gilfach Goch, Kenfig, Llandow, Llangan, Llangeinor, Llangynwyd, Llysworney, Maesteg, Marcross, Monknash, Newton Nottage, North Cornelly, Nottage, Pencoed, Penllyn, Pontycymer, Pyle, Saint Donats, South Cornelly, Southerndown, St Brides Major, Taibach, Tondu, Wick
Have you decided to visit or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a bed and breakfast (a B&B or b and b)
- a guesthouse
- a hotel (or motel)
- a self-catering establishment, or
- other accommodation