Merthyr Mawr is a quaint little village situated between Porthcawl and Ogmore-by-Sea on the Heritage Coast in South Wales. The thatched cottages in the village are a delight to see. The Village Church of St Teilo's was built between 1847 and 1852, the Church was built on the site of an earlier building; many early stone crosses and inscribed stones from this Church have been found nearby and are displayed under shelter behind the existing Church.
Merthyr Mawr is surrounded by glorious Countryside and if you drive through the village you will reach the National Nature reserve of Merthyr Marwr Warren which boasts the highest dune system in Wales. Here you will find an amazing landscape which is rich in wildlife and history.
Candleston Castle is situated close to the Car park entrance Nr the dunes of Merthyr Mawr. It is a fantastic place to explore and is situated close to the tranquil village of Merthyr Mawr.
This Castle dates back to the late 14th Century when the De Cantalupe family built a fortified manor house at the site. The lands of the manor later become covered with sand and were worthless but the building itself remained occupied until the 19th Century. A 15th Century fireplace can still be seen amongst the remains which are free for you to explore & imagine what live would have been like in this manor house.
Ogmore Castle is situated about a mile from the coast and nestled on the banks of the River Ewenny. William de Londres established the first castle in 1116 at the site, this was a wooden fortification . The surviving earthworks, encompassing an inner ward with a ditch that filled during high tide may date to this original stronghold. By the middle of the 12th Century a 3 storey Keep was built, the Castle was 40 feet high in its' day. The remains of the Castle are still impressive and can be explored free of charge. It is surrounded by astounding countryside and a short walk over the stepping stones & beyond will take you to the idyllic village of Merthyr Mawr. A perfect place for a picnic on a sunny day.
There is a free car park (rough gravel) in front of the Car park next to the river, this is likely to flood during the winter months so care should be taken.
Ogmore Castle can be found off the B4524, heading towards Ogmore-by-Sea, follow the brown tourist information signs.
Kenfig Nature reserve not far from the nottage village in porthcawl is a excellent little hideaway for good walks through nice countryside and pools and dunes.
The walks can stretch for a few miles and easy parking is available and can be an excellent spot for a picnic at the main centre if the weather is right.
Great walks for dogs and those with children down to the main river to watch the ducks and walk to the staff when the centre is open.
Kenfig National Nature Reserve
Ewenny Priory has been described as the best preserved example of a Norman Priory Church in South Wales. It was founded as a cell of the Benedictine Abbey of Gloucester. The historical and Archeological evidence points to William De Londres building Ewenny Priory Church between 1116 and 1126 on the site of a Celtic Christian Monastery.
As you drive up to Ewenny Priory your first views are of the fortified walls, tower and gatehouse. These were first erected in the 12th Century and extended in the 13th. These great walls protected the Monks from repeated raids from the Welsh from the North and also to house a garrison as part of the defensive ring around the Ogmore area which included Ogmore, Newcastle and Coity Castles. The Church Tower acted as a look out post.
As you walk into the Church, a door to the left of the pulpit with take you to the Monastic side of the Priory. Here, in the South Transept you will find some early Celtic Christian Stones, tombstones of the founders of the Priory and memorials to the Carne and Turbervil families. As you walk around keep an eye out for the original 14th Century floor tiles from the North Transept.
Ewenny is a truly atmospheric place to visit. The famous Artist J M W Turner visited here during his 1797 visit of South Wales. Among others, he painted a remarkable picture of the View across the South Transect. The painting is now on display in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.
Just outside the Village of Merthyr Mawr you will find the 15th Century Dipping Bridge. Farmers used to dip sheep here by pushing them through the holes so that they fall into the river - poor things!! Legend also has it that Local Innkeepers robbed Pilgrims here leaving them for dead.
Directions: Leave Porthcawl via the A4106, take the A48 towards Cowbridge. Merthyr Mawr is signposted about 3 miles down the road on the right. Follow the lane leading to the Village and take the 1st right turn, this lane will lead you to the dipping bridge.