Long Autumn walks: Marine Drive, Barry to The Blue Anchor, East Aberthaw.
Fancy a more adventurous dog walking route? How about a walk that ends with a good pub lunch or a pint pitstop? Full disclosure, this walk isn’t for everyone – we walked from Marine drive to East Aberthaw and back again, which is over 10 miles and quite varied in range. You’ll have to climb lots of stairs, navigate woodland, and walk plenty of fields. This walk is for active dogs and people alike! We’d known about this walk for a while, but saved it for 2 pups we knew would enjoy the long distance and a day outside.
There are two things great about this walk:
1)you can make it as long, or as short as you like. It follows the vale coastal path which is really easy to navigate so you could walk from Porthkerry to Rhoose Point which would take you roughly 30 mins or you could start at Jackson’s bay and go all the way to East Aberthaw, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling!
2) there’s a pub pit stop, and a really flipping good one too! As soon as I heard the Blue Anchor was the pub pitstop option I was sold (as soon as Tom said pint half way through, I didn’t take much more convincing really!). The Blue Anchor is dog friendly, has plenty of heated outdoor seating if it’s busy, has plenty of good Ale and Cider, and the food is LUSH. There’s even a bus stop right out side if you’ve over done it and need to get the bus home!
So, you’ve planned a pub lunch, now all you need to do is get there!
We started at Marine Drive, it’s an easy place to park up and a nice stretch to get you started, with really lovely coastal views. Enzo and Woody love to do big sprints when they get out of the car, so with all the open space it felt like a good place to start.
From Marine drive we headed down the golden steps to Porthkerry. I was very aware going down these very steep steps that after 10 miles I’d have to be going back up them, so it’s a really good idea to plan your route in advance to make sure you’ll comfortably manage the whole trip!
Porthkerry, we decided was probably the trickiest pit of the walk. We followed the coastal path past the viaduct into woodland. There had been lots of heavy rain before we went and a lot of the grass was boggy, so we had to walk the majority over the pebbles. The woodland you walk through is very steep but once you’re at the top and you’ve reached the caravan park, the next stretch of the walk is pretty smooth sailing. So don’t give up!
We walked straight through the caravan park (dogs must be kept on the lead at this point) until we came to a maintenance building on the corner. From there, you can find a hedgerow with small opening running through it that leads into a small field behind some houses. We let the dogs back off the lead and followed the field round to the adjoining field which we knew linked to Rhoose Point (Enzo knew where he was at this point too!).
The adjoining field takes you down hill to some steps and then through a path which opens out on to Rhoose Point. If you’ve never been to Rhoose Point, it’s a great dog walking route on its own, with plenty of open space for pups to run around in. The dogs got to have a good run, while we followed the path straight ahead.
I’d only been as far as the field near Rhoose train station at Rhoose Point, but was always aware there was a coastal path you could follow that took you further on to Fontygary. If you follow this coastal path, it will open up on to another small field and then take you down into Fontygary caravan park. Keep going! You’re almost there!
Like the caravan park before, dogs must be kept on the lead. This time, rather than sticking to a path, you walk alongside the caravans right on the cliff edge - lots of the caravan’s had hanging baskets on that blew in the wind which Woody wasn’t a fan of, and lots of caravan owners had dogs keeping an eye on things, so take care walking past if your dog can be a bit nervy in new areas!
Once at the end of the caravan park there’s a gate to go through and some pretty steep stairs to go down. You’re really close now! The floodplain that this path runs across is great for dogs that love a swim — Enzo loved it! Once we’d got to this point we worked out that we were around 15 minutes away. It’s a really easy walk through the Aberthaw bio diversity area, which is relatively clearly signposted, which is great for dogs and we saw a few dog walkers around here. Once at the end of the trail, you’ll climb over another gate, go through the tunnel, up the small hill, and ta-da! The Blue Anchor pub is on your right. You made it!
We treated ourselves to a pint and some pub grub before we set back off again. And we were quicker on the way back! This walk is pretty easy to navigate which makes the distance a little bit easier because there’s less chance of getting lost. The coastal path is well sign posted all the way along the trail, so if in doubt, just follow the coastal path and you’ll find your way! Google maps is also really useful for this route and can help you determine landmarks along the way.