The Glamorgan coast is always worth a visit, and where better than to blow away the cobwebs after New Year than a short walk between Nash and Monknash. And believe me it did more than blow away the cobwebs. It was pretty blustery on the cliff top. But first we stopped off at the little cafe at Nash Point. A coffee is always welcome on a chilly January morning. Nash Point is a place we’ve visit many times. The last time was to try and catch the sunset. No sunset that day, but we were distracted enough by watching the TV company filming the latest series of Britannia (I think that’s the name). A historical drama about the struggles between the Romans and the local British tribes. I did watch a couple of episodes, but it didn’t hold my attention too much. Mind you watching the filming was a little dull as well, but also surreal. One scene was being filmed involving a Druid waving his arms around on the cliff top opposite while a drone circled around his head. Meanwhile, a troop of Roman soldiers were gathered in the valley below taking selfies of themselves with their phones. Hmmm….
I don’t think we’ve ever been to Nash Point when the tide has been out, and today was no different. No sand visible today, but the recent heavy rains had filled the small Nash Brooke rearing a cascade of water tumbling down over the mini waterfalls as it rushed towards the beach from the Carboniferous Limestone pavements. The cliffs are a wonder themselves as each layer of mudstone, limestone and blue Lias create distinct banding (though not in my photo) as it rises over the beach. With the tide coming in we didn’t stay on the beach for long but slithered our way up the steep side to Marcross Valley to the Iron Age fort on the west side.
When you come to visit the Hill Fort, don’t expect too much. The vast majority of it has fallen into the sea as the cliff top erodes away. Though it is clear that this was serious endeavour by the locals to impress. Still visible are the four banks and ditches enclosing what must once have been the promontory. How old is it? That seems to be open to conjecture, but probably dates to the Iron Age, which itself is dated from 800BC to 74AD when the romans finally subjugated the Silurians in this region.
Once we had got to the cliff tops we were hit by the wind. I shouldn’t have been surprised, it is January after all. But there wasn’t any indication of the ferocity of the wind while we were down on the beach. But that said the views were tremendous. the low winter sun illuminated the cliffs with a soft yellow light that only happens at this time of year.
Monknash Head is another one of those hidden treasures that you have to work a little to get to. It’s not too onerous, but enough to prevent the place becoming a trap of people. Just like Nash Point the cliffs back onto a limestone pebble beach that has been created by erosion from the cliffs. Boulders come in all sorts of sizes. those newly deposited on the beach remain angler and large, whilst lower odown the beach the become smaller and rounded after being shaped by the sea and constantly changing tides. This is another beach that is popular with fossil hunters. So the Fossil Hunter in Chief and I had a bible around. There were remains of fossils to be found everywhere but not worth talking and dragging home along the cliff tops. Except for one. A neat ammonite in a huge rock that would require a JCB to pick it up. So no handy JCBs were on hand, so it stayed where it was.
This being January, rain is never far away, and so we didn’t stay long. Porthcawl in the distance, clearly visible when we arrived at Monknash had disappeared into cloud and rain. So sensibility being the better part of valour we turned for home., But not before the weather gave us one last show with a perfect rainbow.