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The Coast

21 7 08 Newton 2

Newton Beach

Ancient footprints preserved in Kenfig Sands suggest people been living locally since 2500BC. The city of Kenfig, however, dates from Norman times, with the settlement growing up around the castle, built around 1140 by Robert Fitzhamon, Lord of Gloucester.  Eventually, sand blown in from the sea shore inundated the town - which rivalled medieval Cardiff in size - and it had to be abandoned. Today all that can be seen of this once thriving community are the ruined walls of the castle protruding from the sand.

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Kenfig Nature Reserve

Merthyr Mawr Warren is 'a little bit of the Sahara in South Wales'. The rolling sand dunes of Methyr Mawr Warren were one of the locations used in filming the Hollywood movie 'Lawrence of Arabia' as well as episodes of Dr Who.  Spread over 323 hectares it has dunes topping 200 feet, with one giant sand dune known locally as the 'big dipper' the second highest dune in Europe. The complex is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its nationally important plant and invertebrate life, including the Great Green Bush Cricket, the largest cricket in Britain. 

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 The Sand Dunes, Merthyr Mawr

Merthyr Mawr sand dune reserve was once joined to Kenfig National Nature Reserve and a continuous belt of sand and dune systems ran all the way along the coast from the Ogmore Estuary to the Gower Peninsula.

Dipping Bridge Two

New Inn Bridge (Dipping Bridge), Merthyr Mawr

On the edge of  Merthyr Mawr Warren  is Candlestone Castle, once upon a time in the 12thcentury a fortified mansion belonging to the Canteloupe family, now an ivy-clad romantic ruin, its land buried under the shifting sands of the Bridgend coast. Candlestone village with its windmill originally stood at the top of the hill. Further out in the dunes, sand covers the remains of Bronze Age burial mounds and at least one settlement that was inhabited in Iron Age and Roman times as well as the Middle Ages.

Candleston Castle

Candleston Castle, Merthyr Mawr

At Kenfig National Nature Reserve, Glamorgan's largest natural lake, Kenfig Pool has spectacular views across Swansea Bay to the Gower. It is one of the most important sites in Britain for nature conservation and the reserve is home to unique wild orchids, insects and wildlife.

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Kenfig Sand Dunes

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