Discover the amazing scenery of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, while following the Wales Coast Path.
The Church, College and Lighthouse walk is 9 miles long in total. Along the way you will discover the magnificent Glamorgan Heritage Coast, which forms a section of the Wales Coast Path with its cliffs and foreshore, nature reserves and ancient churches.
St Illtud’s Church is a great place to start or end your walk. Stroll around the interior of the magnificent 13th century church; admire the medieval wall paintings depicting St Mary Magdalene and St Christopher, search for the rare 13th century Jesse stone, find out about the oldest religious education centre in Britain, dating back to 500 AD and watch the progress on the restoration for the 15th century Galilee Chapel.
Walking the Glamorgan Heritage Coast is enough to put a spring in your step, with the waters lapping the shore and the shingle cracking beneath your feet. See it up close as you follow the steps down into Tresilian Bay; notice how the Lias Limestone and Shales have eroded the cliffs to create caves such as Reynard’s Cave. Cliffs can be dangerous places so keep an eye on the kids and make sure that dogs are on a short lead. Watch out for the warning signs.
Nash Point Lighthouse is a shining beacon of light for unwary sailors and once was a mournful warning of danger on a foggy night. In 1831 Nash Sands claimed the lives of 78 souls aboard the ‘Frolic’ passenger ship, which acted as a catalyst for building the lighthouse. Get the family out walking and stop off at the lighthouse if you have energy to spare. Want to hear the fog horn? Time your walk for the first Saturday and third Sunday on the month.
One of three churches on this walk, Holy Trinity church dates back to the 12th century. Look out for the Leper window on the south side of the chancel. Parishioners with leprosy and other contagious diseases weren’t allowed inside the church to take holy sacrament. Sadly this was the only way for them to watch the parish priest giving holy sacrament.
There’s just a few stiles left now to negotiate before you finish back at Llantwit Major.
The aptly named ‘Churches, College and Lighthouse’ circular walk gives you a great opportunity to view the magnificent 12th century St Donat’s Castle from the coastline and further inland. Randolph Hurst, the newspaper magnate, owned it for a while, with Charlie Chaplin and J.F Kennedy among his guests here. Atlantic College has been based here since 1962.
The Resource Section below contains a straightforward map of the area. Print it out, mark up your highlights and itinery for the day and head off for an adventure!
For help getting here or to hop around using public transport, Traveline Cymru's journey planner is an invaluable aid. If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the app from: iPhone or Android. Their journey planner is also available online at Traveline Cymru. Or you can call them on 0871 200 22 33 (calls cost 10p per minute plus 6p connection fee from a BT land line, other networks may differ and mobiles may be significantly higher).
"This walk includes one of the highlights of the South Wales coastline – the dramatic cliff tops of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, with extensive views over the Bristol Channel to the Somerset Coast and the hills of Exmoor."
Quentin Grimley, Coast Path Policy Officer, Natural Resources Wales
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