Chuck’s Dog Friendly Holiday in Porthcawl and Swansea
This weeks guest blog comes from Chuck the lovely German Shepherd. Chuck and his pawrents Dave and Bea run a blog called The World on your Doorstep. In this blog, Chuck writes about his dog friendly holiday in Porthcawl, will it inspire you to make a similar trip with your pooch?
Some human said to me before I left that Porthcawl is a dump – well I think it’s actually quite charming. It is slightly run down in places, especially by the amusements but we came here to be outside, not to play the 2p slot machines. All the beaches are dog friendly at this time of year, October – April, so this place was pawfect.
Our Dog Friendly Holiday to Porthcawl Begins
We only live about 90 minutes away but it’s a bit too far to come for a day so we stayed in a lovely Air BnB. Dad says there is only a small Co-Op in Porthcawl so stop in Bridgend on your way to pick up supplies. There’s a Lidl, a Tesco and a Pets At Home all right next to each other on the way in – so saves lugging lots of food from home.
We stopped outside a bar and restaurant by the sea wall, called Harbour Bar and Kitchen, not dog friendly inside but outside you’re more than welcome – they even have some dog bowls filled with water. The tide was coming in and the waves really start to crash against the rocks when it does. The beaches are rocky and the hinterland is wild and moor like.
We walked all the way out up to the Royal Porthcawl golf club with a not so fetching view of Port Talbot steel works. But it was far away enough not to spoil the view. Devon and Somerset could made out across the Severn and The Mumbles bay next to Swansea was also visible.
A Trip to Kenfig Nature Reserve
Today’s we went to Kenfig Nature Reserve so I could have a big run around. We knew it was going to be a poor weather day as the brilliantly named Storm Brian was closing in.
Kenfig nature reserve in Porthcawl is a landscape of dunes and grass which is my idea of heaven. I was howling with delight, singing the songs of my fellow people running up and down the path, despite the gale-force winds. The path passed a lake which I spotted from about half a mile away and jumped straight in.
The walk continued across dunes of increasing size. The higher we got, the windier it was. It was almost impossible to look out over the sea. The waves were crashing with some vigour. Being out in this weather gives a tremendous sense of the kinetic power of nature. The wind howling past your ears. You really feel it.
We followed the Wales Costal Path towards the steelworks at Port Talbot. Just before you get to the M5 are the ruins of Kenfig Castle. And very ruinous they are. Not that much to make out really but an interesting 5 minutes can be had looking around if the weather is nice, or 30 seconds if not.
We stopped in a dog friendly pub between Kenfig village and Maudlam called The Prince of Wales. We’re only allowed in the snug, but in my opinion, that was the best place to be. It was a constant coming and going of canine fun.
Trip to the Gower
Our destination was the Gower Peninsula just west of Swansea. This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) features cliffs, hills and sandy beaches. Today we covered all three. We set out from Millwood car park, which is free, just north of Oxwich. After skirting around Oxwich village and headed straight for the dog friendly Oxwich castle. We didn’t go in but you can see the majority of it from the footpath and then read the history on Wikipedia.
The Final Leg
The next leg of the journey was around Oxwich point. This affords magnificent views of the whole coastline and probably the Devon coastline too on a clear day. The path then drops right down to just 50ft or so from the sea before climbing back up through some woods and then back down onto the beach. Oxwich beach is one of those dog friendly beaches that you can walk along for half an hour without seeming to get anywhere. I didn’t mind though, I was too busy making friends with Cody the Malamute.
There is a stream that runs down the beach to the sea about halfway along. There was a bridge and everyone seemed to be heading for it. Although the stream didn’t look big we had visions of sinking into quicksand and thought better of jumping it. We ditched the coastal path here to head towards Cefn Bryn, a giant ridge-line feature that runs for several miles across the Gower.
Despite the wind and now occasional rain, it was definitely the right choice. The views offered were of the entire peninsular and further towards Llanelli and the Llanrhidian Sands. Populating the top were wild ponies who mostly seemed quite oblivious to us being there, although one or two followed us for a little while. After being spoiled by the views for nearly an hour we dropped down into Reynoldston with view of going into the pub there. A sign on the door that said ‘No Dogs Allowed’ put an end to that. We could have sat outside but such blatant racism does not garner our custom.
Afterwards, we followed the main road back down to Little Reynoldston and down a track into Millwood.
Our Final Day in Rhossili
We started off from the National Trust car park in Rhossili. Top tip, take lots of change. A days parking requires £5 in coins.
We set off across Rhossili Down. We took the lower path as visibility was poor. There were a few sheep dotted about here and there so I had to be kept on the lead for a lot of the time. The beach down below us was gigantic and after walking for nearly an hour we were just halfway through it.
We passed through Hillend Caravan Park down onto the beach. I was finally free and super excited. I spent the next half an hour chasing seagulls having the time of my life splashing in the sea. The water here can be dangerous, so be careful. I am petrified of the waves, I just like to splash around in the shallows. The path rose up onto some cliffs which were very wild and jagged. The rough weather made for a powerful vista with the waves crashing against the cliff. Before long we had dropped down onto another beach.
Broughton Bay was a huge beach, however, the footpath back to the top wasn’t obvious. I think the path we went up was not the footpath but just another path made by people getting off the beach. Very frustrating. As we had lost so much time and the weather was refusing to clear up, we decided to cut it short.
Our route took us through a caravan site with lots of ‘Private Keep Out’ signs. There were no directional aids so we ended up on the far side of the caravan site unable to find the correct route of the path. We found the footpath the one we had lost the lead to but getting to it involved jumping over a barbed-wire fence. As this was the only option we clambered carefully over and returned to the path.
We arrived at a pawesome dog friendly pub called the King’s Head in Llangennith. We were quite soaked and annoyed at our scrambling through bushes and barbed wire, however, the welcome we received made up for it. My parents loved the drink selection. It’s not cheap but they have an incredible array of spirits. Dad tried three different Whiskies, all very different and they also had a bowl of rather delicious chips. The final part of the journey was back across Rhossili Down. We got back to our car and fortunately, our car wasn’t clamped. Again, sorry National Trust!
So that was my weekend in Porthcawl – and now I am pooped. Hopefully, we’ve inspired you to plan a little dog friendly AirBnB getaway of your own.