The Met Office forecast was for dry weather but somehow that went astray and for the group of fifteen walkers and Bruno the dog who met up with Joy from Penarth and District Ramblers in the car park at Penarth clifftop, it was a rather dreary morning but very humid.
The set off on a Shortish Strides walk of 7 miles heading westwards as the rain began and following the Wales Coast Path, the narrow cliff path between hedges had great pools of surface water which had to be paddled through. Deviating off the pathway straight into a muddy field brought them to Searchlight Lane for the descent to Lavernock Road and carefully crossing they made their way into Cosmeston Lakes Country Park as the rain ceased.
Following the dog walk past the deserted and forlorn looking medieval village to Mile Road the field containing the remains of the dovecote, which provided much needed meat during sparse winters plus feathers for bedding and manure for fertilizer, led them uphill and through a very muddy area.
With views towards the north eastern end of Barry town covered in mist they descended to cross the bridge over the Sully Brook and continued by field to enter Cogan Wood.
Following the main pathway through barren trees and making their way up through the western paddock to re-join Mile Road, the man-made pathway led them past Cogan Hall Farm and into the churchyard of St Peter’s for morning refreshment.
After a Norman knight built a fortified manor at Cogan, a church dedicated to St Peter was also built probably on the site of an earlier place of worship. Some of the masonry on the present church is in the herringbone style of the 12th century and this church is believed to be the oldest building in Penarth. During the 18th century the building fell into disrepair but was saved by the 3rd Marquis of Bute who was persuaded to carry out renovations on the ruined church which was being used as an animal shelter.
Fortified, the group moved on along a pathway through fields where in 1600 a village stood around the church and the farm, which would have had houses built with earthen walls and turf roofs. Nothing remains to be seen today and it is not really known what happened to the village or its inhabitants.
Joining Mile Road once again, no doubt an ancient trackway that was widened and used by the Bute family to gain access to Swanbridge which held a port and their summer residence at Swanbridge House, they made their way around the top quarry and continued southwards past the eastern paddock to the eastern lake.
A chance to dunk Bruno in the water as he was covered in mud, before exiting from the park and crossing Lavernock Road to follow pavements in Cosmeston Drive up to the old disused railway line which is now a cycle path and walkway.
Penarth Station was serviced by the Taff Vale Railway which was built in 1865 and a spur line carried trains along the track and through stations at Alberta, Cosmeston, Lavernock and Sully before re-joining the main track on the Barry Railway at Cadoxton, until the line finally closed in 1968.
From Birch Lane they made their way through The Paddocks and Plymouth Road before crossing the site of the old Penarth pitch and putt green in order to return to their start point after what had been a muddy but delightful morning walk.
You can follow the group’s exploits at www.penarthramblers.wordpress.com or Facebook