With all the stunning scenery we have on our doorstep in Wales, from country walks to coastal views, you can sometimes get a bit blasé about it all, but there is something about Merthyr Mawr Sand Dunes that just blows you away and leaves you breathless (quite literally when walking the up some of the steeper dunes!).
It might be because when walking with little ones, you are so preoccupied with what they are doing that you don’t have the chance to take in the views as much as you want to, but here, at every turn, the view just slaps you in the face, as if it’s saying, don’t you dare ignore me, I am stunning!
But it’s not just about the views, this place is kids paradise! It’s a natural outdoor adventure, from the winding paths, to steep sand dunes to climb and run (or roll) down, to walking on narrow trails up high, to ducking beneath the foliage, to the ultimate – sand sledging down the big dipper (the biggest sand dune there, also used by the armed forces for training).
It provides them with hours of fun, and it also guarantees a good nights sleep too! The same goes for little paws, who will love the adventure of the place.
There are some pretty impressive facts about the sand dunes too, they are the 2nd highest in Europe, the largest being in France, and apparently the dunes were also used in parts of the film Lawrence of Arabia!
The dunes are also home to some fascinating plants and wildlife, with an ever-changing landscape, which changes with the seasons.
To find out more about the plants and wildlife to spot on your walk, it is worth having a look at the First Nature website, which has much more information about the dunes habitat that I would ever be able to comment on.
On your walk, you can make it all the way to the coast, which is a rewarding walk in itself, but you may find it a challenge to get little legs to get that far, especially if contending with the option of sand sledging! If you don’t make it as far as the coast, just make sure you admire the views across to Porthcawl bay when you’re up high.
The sand dunes are just outside the chocolate box pretty thatched village of Merthyr Mawr, which is home to a very quaint church and a small nursery that sells some organic fruit and veg and the most amazing hanging baskets.
Whilst completely family and dog friendly, please note that the walks, due to the amount of sand and steepness, are not buggy friendly. Also, there are no facilities near the walks, but there is car parking which charges about £1.00 an hour.
After your walk, why not head back towards Ogmore for a drink or a bite to eat in Cobbles Kitchen or The Pelican in her Piety, both of which are child and dog friendly and serve some great food. Either way, whatever you do next, you’ll have had a fab time here with the little ones, and a bit of a work out too!