Places to visit over Easter

With the Easter holidays upon us I thought I’d share some of my easy to get to, favourite places in Wales, that are well worth a visit for a day out.

1. Rhossili, The Gower

If going to the coast is your thing over the holidays why not visit one of the best beaches anywhere in the UK. Whether it be endless sand to enjoy games on the beach, shipwrecks to explore or a walk along the coast path towards Worm’s Head. Rhossili has it all, the views are breathtaking. If you’ve never visited, why not?

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The shipwreck of the Helvetia on Rhossili beach

2. Gigrin Farm, Rhayader

If you love wildlife and birds of prey then Gigrin Farm in Rhayader is a must. Not far from the beautiful Elan Valley, the farm is home to the Red Kite feeding centre. Feeding is 3:00 every afternoon (after the clocks change in March) and takes place every day of the year. The spectacle of seeing so many Red Kites, which once faced extinction in Wales, is a sight to behold.

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Red Kite at Gigrin Farm

3. Big Pit National Coal Museum

Learn about the heritage of mining in Wales. See and hear how coal was king and how Welsh coal powered the world. Underground tours give you the real experience of the conditions miners faced every day. There is plenty more to see in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Blaenavon as well, the Ironworks, the steam railway and beautiful scenery looking out over the Sugarloaf from the Keepers Pond.

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Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenavon UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. Raglan Castle

If you love history and grand buildings then Raglan Castle is a great place to visit. A late castle by Welsh standards with work beginning in the 1430s. It played host to one of the last sieges of the Civil War, when it held off parliamentarian forces for thirteen weeks. If you are good with heights check out the view from the Great Tower over the rolling Welsh countryside.

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Raglan castle

5. Ogmore Castle

Another beautiful ruin of a castle. Ogmore Castle dates from around 1100. The castle is open daily from 10:00 – 4:00. If the water level is low try out the famous stepping stones. If you’re looking for a walk why not explore Merthyr Mawr, which you can walk to along the path from the castle.

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Ogmore castle

6. Newport Wetlands

A great place to visit for a stroll or for spotting wildlife. There are a number of different routes around the reserve that you can take, bird watching hides are available looking out over the reed beds, there is also a visitors centre where you can grab some refreshments while watching the birds. Why not check out the East Nash Lighthouse, one of the smallest lighthouses on the Wales Coast Path.

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Views from the Newport Wetlands reserve

7. Llanthony Priory

The ruins of the priory date from around 1100 and are found a short drive outside of Abergavenny. Set within the Brecon Beacons National Park the priory is backed by the beautiful Black Mountains. Not far from here is the world famous Skirrid Inn, why not stop here too, one of the oldest inns in Wales.

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The ruin of Llanthony Priory

These are just a few suggestions, but there’s loads of amazing places in Wales to visit. So get out exploring.

If you need more inspiration for places to visit, check out some of the places on my website: www.nathanaeljonesphotography.com or on Instagram: www.instagram.com/nathanaeljones

All the images used in this blog are the copyrighted property of Nathanael Jones.

Port Eynon

Port Eynon on the Gower Peninsula has special memories for me, it’s where the majority of our family holidays were spent when I was young, at Highfields caravan park over looking Port Eynon bay.

Port Eynon is the most southernly point on the Gower Peninsula and has a beautiful sandy beach, it’s a great place for making cool images. As well as the beautiful bay, there are also plenty of historical features to explore and incorporate into images.

The ruin of the Salt House on the sea front is perfect for adding some drama to a landscape. It has been extensively excavated and is a listed historic building. Stories say that the Salt House was linked by an underground tunnel to Culver Hole for smuggling and piracy.

Culver Hole is another historic location. Follow the Wales Coast Path up on to Port Eynon point and walk along the headland. The Culver Hole is found on a narrow steep path that drops down from the cliff top and Overtone Mere. The Culver Hole will not be visible until you get to the bottom of the path. It’s tall thin structure stretching up into the cliff side.

Every time I visit here I still find it amazing how it was ever built into the cliff face. The coast here is daunting, with jagged unforgiven rocks. At high tide the sea fills this area, so be aware. Stories tell of smugglers and pirates waving lanterns from the Culver Hole to draw ships onto the rocks and then take their cargo. It’s a location that still causes debate, smugglers hideout or elaborate dove cot?

The coastline at Port Eynon is notoriously hazardous and there are many shipwrecks that highlight its reputation.

One shipwreck that can still be seen is that of the SS Blue Bell, which floundered on the rocks here on February 15th 1913. All 12 crew survived and made it to shore.

At low tide you can walk to the remains of Blue Bell from Culverhole. Walking over the jagged rocks is hard going though, so you should take care. Always monitor the tide times, the tide comes-in fast here. Tide Times is a useful mobile app which I always use when I’m at the coast.

From Port Eynon Point the wreck can clearly be seen in the rocks below at low tide.

Another historic monument is found in the village at St Cattwgs churchyard. The marble statue of a lifeboat crewman remembers the Port Eynon lifeboat disaster of New Years Day 1916. Lifeboat Janet responded to distress signals from S.S. Dunvegan. Whilst trying to get to the stricken ship Janet capsized multiple times, with 3 crew men being lost.

The RNLI still have a lifeboat station at Port Eynon, it is situated close to the beach at Horton if you want to visit it.

Another wreck which cannot be seen is that of the Prince Ivanhoe which sank here in 1981. Everyone was rescued but sadly one person later died of a heart attack. For years the wreck was marked in the bay with 2 large marker buoys, it was a favourite spot for divers. The buoys have been removed now and it’s unclear how much of the ship actually remains.

You can see more of my Port Eynon and Gower images at www.nathanaeljonesphotography.com/Gower

and on my Instagram www.instagram.com/nathanaeljones

Marloes Sands

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’ll know that I recently visited Marloes Sands in Pembrokeshire for the first time.

Marloes Sands has been on my radar for years. I’ve even parked at the car park before, but never made it to the beach due to the weather closing in.

It’s regularly listed as one of the best beaches in Pembrokeshire so this time it was all systems go.

Late January so the sky had that grey look to it. The forecast said that the weather would break for a few hours.

Having parked at the National Trust car park, the beach is a 0.5 miles walk away. The walk is fairly easy, a downhill stroll. My two year old son had no problem on the early section of the path even if he was distracted by enjoying muddy puddles in his RNLI wellies and kicking sticks.

Some of the views from the path to the beach are breathtaking, the winding path really draws you in which is why I love the feature image I’ve used on this post so much.

Mid way into our walk and my son Noah fell over, running as he spotted the beach. Hands down to save himself, but a bump on the face. Panic stations! a quick count and all his teeth are still there. Phew! I always carry a first aid kit with me, so out came the antiseptic and the tears eventually stopped after a few cuddles off mum and dad. Like me Noah loves the sand and the sea so the promise of a big beach to play on soon had him smiling.

As we made it on to the beach it was clear that there was not another person in sight. Heaven! There had been a few cars in the car park but they must have been enjoying the Wales Coast Path.

First impressions this place is epic. The rocks are staggering. Holes are carved right through the stone and the layers in the rock stand out line by line. The beach is huge with lots of sand. one to remember for the summer.

Instantly 4 Choughs fly over us, a rare sight on our coast but Pembrokeshire is a stronghold for them. The cliffs and rocks here make it the perfect habit.

Sea life is abundant here mussels, limpets, barnacles, gulls.

There is just so much to photograph. Rock formations, amazing pebbles, golden sand that goes on and on and not a single foot print in sight.

The sea was whipping up a little so the waves were creating a mist along the coast line with spray, adding a mystical atmosphere to the shots looking across the beach.

The dramatic backdrop reminded me of a film set from Jurassic Park, thank goodness there was no T-Rex!

3 hours of photo taking elapsed very quickly. You can see the results here: Pembrokeshire

The walk back up to the car was slightly more challenging. Noah had now run around for ages so was starting to get tired, lots of carrying back to car! Fair to say I was gasping for a drink by the time we got to the car park.

A totally amazing place that we’ll definitely visit again this year. The Welsh coast at it’s epic best.

Note: Not sure why the National Trust toilets were closed at the Youth Hostal, but they are open at most other beaches like Broad Haven South. Worth remembering if you plan to  visit out of season.