A group of nine walkers joined Joy from Penarth and District Ramblers at Llantwit Road in St Athan on a glorious sunny mid-week morning at the start of a five-mile Shortish Strides half day walk in the area.
Heading south-westwards along the road and taking a narrow path between houses to a wonky stile held in place by string and a metal band, they entered fields and despite the recent heavy rainfall conditions underfoot were not as muddy as expected. Tramping over uneven ground cattle in the next field quickly ran off as the walkers approached on the journey to a stile leading them to an unmanned rail crossing over the main Vale railway line.
Holding back until the train making its way towards Bridgend that was loudly sounding its hooter as a warning had safely passed, and crossing the lines with care another stile led them into a field containing bonny looking sheep, that stood their ground as if in protest at the intrusion before scampering off.
Exiting onto the side of the busy B4265 coast road, a short journey along the wide grassy verge and a swift dash across the road led them back into a ploughed field above Gileston Farm with glorious views out over the shimmering Bristol Channel towards Dunkery Beacon, the highest part of Exmoor and the north Devon and Somerset coastline.
Following a farm track in a south-westerly direction brought them through more ploughed and seeded fields to eventually turn south towards the coast where they joined part of the long distance Wales Coast Path.
A narrow rough track between a hedge and farm fence led them to a gate and onto the grassy track behind the line of tank traps above Penry Bay. These huge cubes of concrete were set up between 1940 and 1941 along with ditches and pill boxes to prevent German troops from landing on this coastline.
Further along they made a stop utilising the tank traps for shelter out of the slight breeze for morning refreshments, whilst soaking up the glorious sunshine and still warm for the first week of November. Continuing their journey the huge Aberthaw Power Station which began operating in 1971 and which finally shut down in March last year, towered above them on the skyline.
Passing a variety of dogs being walked by their owners and reaching a metal gateway which brought them on past the ruined building beside the car park at Limpert Bay, and then onto the road, they turned north to reach a wooden footbridge bringing them into pretty woodland and a narrow muddy pathway at the rear of Aberthaw Power Station.
Re-entering a field and climbing gently to Ty Carreg, a quiet narrow lane beside a field containing solar panels brought them to a stile and back into a ploughed and seeded field and following the hedge line to a gate they reached Gileston Road.
Diverting onto a narrow track behind houses led them back to the railway line which they re-crossed via the Windmill footbridge and across another meadow with views eastwards towards Aberthaw Cement Works. Another swift dash across the fast moving B4265 saw them re-entering fields which were a little muddy in places to re-join Llantwit Road for the short walk back to their start. The leader’s thanks go to trusty back-marker Josie and also for her help in clearing footpaths on the walk recce.
Forthcoming and previous walk reports walks can be found at www.penarthramblers.wordpress.com or follow the group’s exploits on Facebook.