The goings on in and around Bridgend

Monthly Archives: June 2017

MV Balmoral returns for summer 2017

The classic coastal steamer MV Balmoral, the last flagship of the famous P&A Campbell White Funnel Fleet, is back by popular demand this summer.

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She started her full 113-day summer season at the end of May. The principle departure point will be Penarth Pier and there will be sailings from Porthcawl, Swansea and Briton Ferry.

Here's a handy timetable for all departures from Porthcawl. The next departure will be on  Thursday the 27th of July. For more information visit www.whitefunnel.co.uk

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Legendary landscapes: Kenfig National Nature Reserve

We love our natural spaces here in Bridgend County.

You might not think it but Bridgend County is home to the second highest sand dunes in Europe, as well as one of the UK's most important wildlife conservation sites - Kenfig National Nature Reserve. The reserve is home to a massive 90% of the UK's fen orchid population - Britain's rarest flower.

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Many other types of orchid can be found in KNNR including the Pyramidal Orchid, Fragrant Orchid, Bee Orchid and large colonies of Marsh Helleborines. June is the best time for spotting the rare Fen Orchid with July a great month for Marsh Helleborines.

The reserve itself is a remnant of a huge undulating sand dune system that once stretched from the Ogmore estuary to the Gower Peninsular. Buried beneath the dunes is the once prominent Medieval town of Kenfig - the remains of Kenfig Castle rise majestically above the dunes.

This is also an ideal location for birdwatching. Golden Plovers, Gannetts, Eurasian Wigeon, Manx Shearwater and Common Goldeneye can all be spotted within the reserve, particularly around Kenfig Pool, which is Glamorgan's largest lake.

For more information visit the Kenfig Nature Reserve Facebook page or call 01656 815 070

Celebrating Bridgend's legendary landscape - we need your help!

As you'll probably notice if you follow us on social media, we're going to be spending the next couple of months shouting about Bridgend County's legendary landscapes - from the beaches, dunes and walking trails that line the coast to the rugged beauty of the valleys.

As part of this campaign we need your help. We're looking for local people, businesses and travellers to share with us their best images of the natural Bridgend County landscape - of the locations and beauty spots that inspire you the most.

These images will be showcased on galleries on the Bridgend Bites Facebook page, and people will be asked to vote for their favourites. The images with the most votes will become our background images on Twitter and Facebook for all to see (we'll be sure to credit everyone that sends us an image).

To share your images of the legendary Bridgend landscape with us tweet them to @BridgendBites, post them on our Facebook page or email them to tom@amarr.associates.

Cycling & biking in Bridgend County

From the picturesque coast to the rugged Valleys, Bridgend County is home to some wonderfully diverse and exciting landscapes - little wonder, then, that this is such an amazing cycling destination for all ages.

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Firstly, the newly renovated coastal track runs between two of the destination's most popular beaches - Sandy Bay and Rest Bay. Footways have been widened, new paving and bike racks installed as well as a number of signage and drainage improvements - all making it easier than ever to enjoy the coast by bike. Then there's Porthcawl Bike Hire who are now offering fatbiking tours out across the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes and beyond.

Head up to the Welsh Valleys and you'll find some wonderfully challenging mountain biking in the shape of the Darren Fawr trails. The short blue and black-graded trails can be combined to create a 6km loop - the route sees riders dropping through berms, steep bombholes and over technical rock features through a stunning natural quarry.

Section 4 of the National Cycle Network, which crosses South Wales, is known as the 'Celtic Trail'. This cuts a scenic path through Bridgend County Borough from Blackmill in the East to Pyle in the West. Passionate cyclists can then head out to explore Wales in both directions, either east to Newport or west all the way to Pembrokeshire!

One of the most scenic options is the 'Cefn Cribwr' route, which links the former ironworks at Tondu and Bedford Park, and runs through the heart of Parc Slip Nature Reserve with its abundance of wildlife including rare birds.

With all that in mind, there are a number of big cycling events taking place in Bridgend over the coming weeks and months:

- 16-17 June - Dragons Charity Bike Ride
- 18 June - L'etape de la Defonce Cycle Race
- 6 July - South West Regional BMX Race
- 11-12 July - Night Ride

Be sure to keep an eye on our events calendar for more information on upcoming events!