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Blog

Transcending 220 million years on a tour of the Vale of Glamorgan

Nia Knott

Towering cliffs on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Towering cliffs on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Often overlooked by visitors to Wales, who understandably head to Wales’ well-known beauty spots such as Pembrokeshire, the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia; the Vale of Glamorgan is perfect for the imaginative traveller. For those staying in Cardiff, a day spent exploring the surrounding countryside, dramatic coastline and fascinating history of this area offers a breath of fresh air and incredible scenery with very little travelling.

Dinosaur footprints on the Vale of Glamorgan Coast

Dinosaur footprints on the Vale of Glamorgan Coast

In less than half an hour from Cardiff you can be walking, literally, in the footsteps of dinosaurs on the South Wales coast. Our Heritage Tour’s first stop takes us to a hidden, seldom-visited spot a few miles along the coast. The views from this place out across the channel to England are mesmerising. The dinosaur footprints you can see here are smaller than you may imagine and having the chance to see them in-situ makes for a truly epic experience.

Ancient burial ground in the Vale of Glamorgan (copyright Mari Owen)

Ancient burial ground in the Vale of Glamorgan (copyright Mari Owen)

A few miles into the traditional countryside we explore two awe inspiring Neolithic burial chambers which were constructed 6,000 years ago. Superficially primitive in design maybe, nonetheless the effort and ingenuity required to move the capstones alone promote many unanswered questions about the communities that inhabited these places.

Vale of Glamorgan Countryside (copyright Mari Owen)

Vale of Glamorgan Countryside (copyright Mari Owen)

As we travel on down the winding lanes of the Vale of Glamorgan’s farmland, we’ll explore several 14th Century castle ruins, which offer the chance to uncover the area’s relatively more recent human history.

The cliffs of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast

The cliffs of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Heading back to the coast, we witness some of Wales’ most spectacular scenery of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. Here the landscape easily rivals Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher, but is much less-visited; chances are we’ll have uninterrupted views of the coastline to ourselves. If the tide is right we’ll have the opportunity to wander the sweeping gold sand beaches. This area is also home to several small but enchanting woodlands, carpeted with flowers in the spring and home to much interesting wildlife year-round.

Ogmore Castle (Copyright Mari Owen)

Ogmore Castle (Copyright Mari Owen)

Many places in the Vale of Glamorgan have fascinating myths and legends associated with them, which we’ll discover along the way. We end our day in Ogmore, where a castle ruin sits on the banks of the river, migrating birds flock in their hundreds, and world class sunsets leave you wanting to linger longer.

Being so close to Cardiff, our Heritage Tour is packed full of amazing places for the visitor to see, but with ample time to explore them and really delve beneath the surface of this region. We highly recommend adding an overnight stay here, maybe in one of the pretty market towns or small farming villages, and taking advantage of the wealth of activities on offer here; horse riding, surfing, landscape photography, wine tasting (the Vale of Glamorgan has two excellent vineyards), craft workshops, even horse & carriage rides!