South Wales Coast ~ Walk 8. Llantwit Major beach to Monknash

This walk starts from the car park at Llantwit Major beach, known as Cwm Col-Huw and follows five miles of the Wales Coast Path as far as Cwm Nash, then heading inland to finish at The Plough and Harrow Pub, Monknash. This section offers scenic views of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast and points of interest along the way.

From the car park a set of steps lead to the clifftop path and further along are fine views of the limestone strata cliffs, rugged and full of colour. The constant threat of erosion is clearly evident though, as some areas with unstable rocks have dramatically collapsed.

Along this section are three World War 2 defensive ‘Pill boxes’. The first one is constructed from local stone and it’s clear why this location was chosen, with superb views across the channel.

The path continues along the clifftop before steps lead down to Tresillian Bay, a secluded cove of pebbles and rocks. On the approach to the bay some caves can be seen along the cliffs which according to local legends were the haunt of pirates and smugglers during the Middle Ages.

After crossing the bank of pebbles and climbing steps out of the bay, the path levels out. This section towards St. Donat’s is sheltered by hedgerows and it can be very muddy in parts, particularly near King George’s Field.

Before descending again to St. Donat’s Bay, look inland through the trees to glimpse the historic castle which is now an exclusive college, but was once a home of notorious American media tycoon William Randolph Hearst.

At St. Donat’s Bay, the path is surfaced as part of the sea defence and there’s an impressive fortified gateway to the grounds of Atlantic College.

The path climbs back to the clifftop and continuing towards Nash Point there are views of the contrasts in the coastal landscape, particularly the patterned rock terraces along the coast below.

Ahead are the two Lighthouses at Nash Point. The coast here was treacherous with many shipwrecks through the centuries, the shallow waters and rocks sending many mariners to a watery grave. The lighthouses were built in 1832 and their pristine whitewashed walls with the old keepers cottages and outbuildings, one topped by a huge foghorn, are still an impressive sight on the headland.

From Nash Point the path meanders downhill into the valley of Cwm Marcross then climbs back uphill and levels out as a grass track between the clifftop and farm fields, with more fine views.

On the approach to Cwm Nash, as the path descends there’s a spur of headland above the bay and it’s worth going onto this area to enjoy a spectacular double view, both westwards ahead and eastwards of the rugged cliffs and coastline below the path just walked.

Above Cwm Nash, view ahead and photo below, the view eastwards

After walking downhill into Cwm Nash, we detoured from the Wales Coast Path, taking a path inland which follows the line of a babbling brook through a pretty valley.

The upper end of the valley is very picturesque, the banks of mature woodland and the ruins of an 18th century corn mill alongside the Nash brook which cascades over a series of waterfalls.

A country lane leads to Monknash and the historic village pub, The Plough And Harrow. The pub dates from the 14th-century and has an ‘olde world’ ambience, full of character and is a great place for a rest and refreshment stop after a walk.

Route Recap

Start – Llantwit Major Beach Car Park.

Finish – Plough and Harrow pub, Monknash.

Distance – 5.7 miles out / 10.5 miles with return.

Time – 3 hours 45 minutes with return.

Walk grade – moderate level. Mostly along clifftop but with steps to descend and climb at bays and valleys. Number of stone ‘step stiles’ along this route. Paths can be very muddy through woodland and where sheltered by hedgerows. Uneven pebbles at Tresillian Bay.

Walk – Llantwit Major beach to Plough & Harrow Pub
Return walk, to start point is via Marcross Village, rejoin the coast path at Nash point back to Llantwit Major beach car park.

11 thoughts on “South Wales Coast ~ Walk 8. Llantwit Major beach to Monknash

  1. Mary

    Great pictures Rich; yet even without them the imagery is superb, so perfectly descriptive one can almost smell the sea breezes, hear the waves, the seagulls etc

    Liked by 1 person

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