Close to the spectacular Glamorgan Heritage Coast and with walking trails leading from the park itself through beautiful valleys to dramatic hilltops beyond, Bryngarw enjoys a sense of seclusion.
Easy access from the outlet, the park and house grounds offer excellent walks and parking for all.
Local ramblers come here and I had the opportunity to take a good 3 mile walk down the now disused train lines and through the ground to the center and car park. Excellent day out
We followed brown castle symbols and found this wonderful spot by the river Ewenny. It is about two and a half miles south west of Bridgend.
There are warnings about sudden floods and the danger to parked cars, but we took the risk. The castle is on a slightly elevated area above where stepping stones ford the river. It was once an important stronghold.The castle officially closes at 4pm, so I just made it in time. The building is ruined but enough remains to show that the Norman keep was once three storeys high, about 40 feet. To reach the keep there is a bridge over a ditch that has stone barriers but allows the ditch to flood at high tide.
The great hall was at the lower level , with an ornate fireplace and windows and would have had a trap door to reach the basement. Stairs led to the living quarters of the family. A well preserved latrine adjoins the living area.There is another 12 century structure of which only the cellar remains. An inner court has steps leading down to a vaulted passage. some with arches. It seems as if new buildings were erected as and when they were needed. This included another great hall, and a gatehouse adjacent to the keep. If extra accomodation was needed it would have been included
The castle was built by the De Londres family, but after changes in ownership is now part of the Duchy of Lancaster.
It was so quiet and peaceful, and I was the only visitor, though a number of people made the crossing and walked over to the other bank.
Unfortunately my camera batteries had run out so I bought a throwaway camera .
Just beside the castle is an old white house with thatched roof, still in occupation.
Legend has it that buried treasure is in the grounds, guarded by the ghost of The White Lady.
Cowbridge is an old market town- cattle market. The town dates back to Roman and particularly medieval times.
It has a beautiful shopping street- likened to Bond Street in London. There are a number of shops selling bread, chocolate, clothes that are not the usual chainstores. Like Bond Street they are expensive too! There are passages leading to small areas with even more shops in lovely stone buildings- one such is Veritys Court.
The parish church- the Sacred Heart - is being renovated; it has some interesting gravestones inside.
There are remains of the old 13th century town wall and entering from the parking area you find yourself in a square with the clinic, library, community college and the physic garden where there are beds of medicinal plants planted in groups according to which organs of the body they can cure.
Another handsome building is the old Cowbridge Grammar school where the actor Anthony Hopkins was a boarder. It has now been turned into apartments, but the narrow windows have been retained as it is a protected building.
The Duke of Wellington on the main street is a 15th century coaching inn, now a restaurant and bar. [see tip]. It looks much smaller than it actually is inside.
In all it is an interesting town.
Beside Ogmore castle are stepping stones at the most suitable place for a ford, which is why the castle was situated here. Some of the stones require quite a large step to reach, but crossing should be possible for anyone with reasonable balance. The crossing leads to the village of Merthy Maur. The whole area is pleasant with the river running through pastureland.
Near Bridgend, on a hill can be seen a wind farm. The giant white windmills stand out on a sunny day.
I'm all in favour of conserving energy, but do wonder whether these giants are a blot ona the landscape.
The pictures were taken when driving on the motorway, so I wasn't sure if they would be visible or not.