My name for my blog is adventure Nani, I chose this name because I was going on a huge adventure traveling the world looking for adventure but what I realised while traveling, was, I was always searching for adventure, and have always been an adventurer. You can find it everywhere, you don’t need to travel the world, you just need to get out there in your own back yard, adventure is where you look for it.
I believe adventure comes in many guises, it is not just about the extreme sporting type of adventure like jumping from planes, bungee jumping, downhill biking and the like, it is about searching for fun, enjoying your life, living in the moment, and that can be done anywhere, especially in your home town.
I have been doing more cycling recently because I am at home enjoying time with my children before I leave for another big adventure in the big wide world and I have spent more time on the Millennium Coastal Path which has been such an adventure.
I have cycled this path for many years but more as a means to an end and a way to get form a to b, apart from when I cycled it with the children when they were small, over the years different points of interest have appeared to me, while cycling with my children the main thing was the cycling and we would stop to throw stones in the sea and other times we walked the dog there along one of the beaches, but mostly we just had fun.
Over the years as my children grew up we took part as a family in charity bike rides where the emphasis was on getting to Sandy Water park from Burry Port to enjoy some refreshment in the Sandpiper and then to carry on up the path toward Tumble stopping at various hostelries along the way, raising lots of money for charity as we went, dressed in all kinds of wonderful fancy dress.
My children no longer come cycling with me, sadly, as they are all busy with their adult lives so I have plenty of time on my hands and one of the things I noticed while traveling was my love of wildlife, which was always there, but has grown a lot. I especially love birds and could watch them all day. The good thing about the cycle path is the many places along its length where you can enjoy nature and watch the different species of birds from Swans with their young and Ducks in the many lakes to seagulls hovering in the wind on the seashore, watching them in their own habitat is far better than any sanctuary or zoo or wildlife park.
Millennium Coastal path runs along the coast of the Burry Inlet from Pembrey country Park to Llanelli Discovery centre and is 7 miles of green tranquillity with lakes and wildlife conservation areas along its length. It is mostly easy cycling for all levels of cyclist on mostly flat tarmacked wide path. The path is also for pedestrians so beware if you are cycling, of people straddling the path.
From its entrance at Pembrey Country Park so many delights await. Riding through the marshland at the park towards Pembrey beach especially at high tide is wonderful as the water laps right up to the wall, which was built along the beach to house the path. When the tide is out you might sometimes see cows grazing out in the marshlands to the south of the path, but be very aware of the times of the tides if you dare to walk out to the sandbanks, only do it at low tide and make sure you are back in plenty of time to watch the tide come in and completely cover the whole area very quickly, it kind of sneaks up on you when you are not looking and if you are across the sandbanks when the water starts to swell in the channels which carry the deepest water then you can be cut off from the path. You must know about tides and times before you venture off across the marshlands or you can come a cropper, which many people have in the past.
Having been brought up in this wonderful area, I have grown up knowing the intensity of the tides and how they can catch you unawares so I feel obliged when writing about this wonderful place to warn of the dangers too, having said that, the beauty far outweighs the dangers and if you are aware then you are safe.
After cycling along the marshlands and Pembrey beach, where you can also take the children to play in the huge sand dunes, so much fun can be had running up and down the massive dunes and playing hide and seek. You could also stop and take a little walk north to watch the golfers play on the Ashburnham golf course, one of the finest Championship Links golf courses in Britain which runs at the north side of the path.
While cycling past the golf club up on the hill to your left you will reach Pembrey old harbour where you can cycle down to the end of the jetty and admire the views of the Gower peninsula. After which you will reach the holiday park where many static caravans are holiday homes to mostly people who are from the valleys and love to visit the seaside as often as they can and then a little further along you reach Burry Port harbour where you can sit awhile admiring the boats in the harbour, take a walk out to the wonderful lighthouse or sit and enjoy a coffee in the little café or enjoy a glass of wine in the Yacht club. The harbour has something for everyone, on the walk out to the lighthouse there is also a lovely beach with rock pools to go exploring for crabs and tiny fish.
There are bridges over the two harbours where it is advised to dismount in case of pedestrians, which takes you on to the next section of the path which runs past the lifeboat station and along the pretty Burry port beach where you can sit and watch the many people in the water either swimming, kite surfing, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding or having fun on their jet skis, there is a slipway at both ends for you to launch your boat or jet ski but I’m sure you will need permission from the harbour master.
From this area the path goes a little inland due to a section of the path being badly damaged a few years ago during a storm, it goes through much greenery with a lovely lake to watch the wildlife and take your dog for walk or you can use your remote control boats and have fun on the lake making sure not to disturb the wildlife. There are smaller paths which lead down to the beach or up to the earth sculpture near Bay Bach in this section, peaceful trails where the only sounds are the sea and the birds.
If you love skateboarding or having fun with your scooter there is a small skateboard park in this section, a safe place for the kids to have fun away from the main road.
Following the winding path toward Bay Bach you come to a clearing just before the hill which most of the locals call Telly tubby hill because it looks similar to the hill in the popular children’s programme. If you stop and look right just before the railway bridge you will see the earth sculpture that is Telly tubby hill which juts out into the sea, and is made from PFA (Pulverised Fuel Ash from the old industrial works which dominated this area many years ago and is used for remediation and ameliorating industrial landscapes in effect making them safe again and able to grow vegetation). PFA has been used for the infrastructure of the paths, the community woodland and the bridges completely enhancing an area which was once ugly and industrial. The earth sculpture called “Walking with the sea” is a winding wide path curling ever upward to the curved top and looks like a giant winding road, a great climb and fun for the dogs to run up and down. Where the earth sculpture juts out into the sea a bay has been formed which is called Bay Bach and many locals go there to swim at high tide, kayak, and fish off the side of the mound. It is also a pretty place to just go for a walk.
On the opposite side of the path to the bay is another pretty lake surrounded by community woodland with biking trails going through and leading to more lakes where you can see swans and ducks swimming with their young as well as terns, gulls, waders and wildfowl.
Although I love birds I am not totally familiar with all the different species but am learning more about them all the time, if you go for a walk along the beach just behind the earth sculpture you will see many swallows (I think they are a type of swallow) nests in the remnants of a jetty which has remained from the time of industry, if you sit on the beach and watch in the early evening, you will see many swallows fly in and out of the nests which are holes in the wall of sand built up around the remaining jetty supports.
If you are cycling, this part of the path is the most arduous, there is a slight incline which takes you up over a grass covered railway bridge and down the other side into a wide expanse of green meadow abundant with wild flowers with a path that runs alongside the railway with crossings at intervals which enable you to cross the railway and sit at the water’s edge while watching the world go by. Just past the meadow is another lake with much wildlife and surrounded by a small wooded area.
At the top of the railway bridge part of the path there is another sculpture this time made of silver coloured steel, it is like a huge needle and stands about 10 feet tall, it contrasts well with the green of the grass, and the blue sky and red coloured path.
After cycling through the meadow and past the lake you pass through a wooded area just before the large cricket field in Pwll where you can sit on one of the many benches during the summer months and watch a leisurely game of Cricket while eating a picnic or you can buy something to eat or drink at the Cricket Pavilion café while the children play in the wonderful new play area near the tennis courts.
Once you have enjoyed the cricket, take the path which now runs alongside the Pwll lakes which were constructed for fishing purposes but because of the tidal nature of the water levels, it is now more of a conservation area where you can watch the wildlife while quietly sitting on one of the pontoons.
Carry on cycling past the lakes and you will come to a long stretch which passes Festival Fields, the site that was reclaimed from the old steelworks and used for the National Eisteddfod which is a Welsh annual festival which moves around Wales to different locations every year, usually alternating between the North and South each year. A fantastic display of Welsh talent, if you are a visitor to Wales you must visit an Eisteddfod, it’s a wonderful display of singing, poetry, dancing, art and much more, all done in our native language, Welsh. There are translation facilities available free to anyone who needs it. The times of year to visit the main Eisteddfods would be June for the Urdd Eisteddfod which is specifically for the young people of Wales and consists of many school children competing for the prestigious prizes available. The main Eisteddfod which is open to all age groups is usually in August and the international Eisteddfod is always held in its home in Llangollen every July where people come from around the world to compete in the many competitions.
Just before you come to Sandy Water park which is a huge lake and conservation area for many different wildlife species you will cross the dragon roundabout, named so because of the huge dragon sculpture in its centre, there you will see the giant rugby posts with a sospan at the top in honour of the greatest rugby team there ever was “The Scarlets” (whose song is “Sospan Fach” a song about a little sospan) who are Llanelli’s favourite sporting greats. Under the posts there is a steel art installation in the shape of one of the All Black players trying to tackle Phil Bennett while he is on the way to scoring a try in the game that we all remember when we beat the All Blacks in 1973.
As you pass by the tribute to the Scarlets you can either go up the hill which takes you along the beach front in Llanelli to the Discovery Centre or you can take a cycle around the lake to the Sandpiper and enjoy some light refreshment in the beer garden or you can watch the ducks, geese and swans on the lake and take some frozen peas to feed them (feeding them bread is being discouraged as it is not that good for them).
The Discovery centre is a magnificent building designed in the shape of the top half of a ship and it houses a lovely café where you can enjoy a cup of tea and some home-made cake, there are toilet facilities there and a bike shop downstairs where they sell and hire bikes and help you fix any punctures while also selling spare parts for the bike, if they don’t have what you need they can get it from their other shop so you can always guarantee they can get what is needed.
This is a very small section of Wales’s Coastal path, just a seven mile stretch of the 870 mile long path which runs around the whole of Wales’s Coast, we also have the Offa’s Dyke path which runs the length of the Wales/ England border which makes Wales one of very few countries to have a navigable path around it’s whole perimeter.
The start of this section at Pembrey Country Park is home to one of the largest beaches in Wales, an eight mile stretch of golden sands on the edge of forested park with trails for horses, bikes, walkers, runners etc. Many sports are played at the park where there is also a dry ski slope.
Carmarthenshire is a wonderful place to visit for a holiday, it has so much to offer, you won’t want to go home and the piece I have talked about in this blog post is just a tiny section of such wonderful coastline and inland countryside. You won’t be disappointed, bring the children to enjoy the time of their lives and give them a holiday to remember, my children always remembered the fun they had in the outdoor places we went and in Carmarthenshire we have it all especially along the Millennium Coastal Path.