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.

Friday roadtrip

Yesterday my wife Claire, my son Noah and I headed off on a roadtrip through Mid Wales to the edge of the Snowdonia National Park and then back down the coast through Ceredigion before heading home via Lampeter and Llandovery.

The journey in total was just over 260 miles. We left at 8ish in the morning and got home at 17:30, not bad for a day out.

We got to take in some of the most beautiful scenery in Wales. And visit some new places that we hadn’t been to before.

For Noah who is nearly 3 the journey was very exciting. From the tractor shop at Builth Wells to the cows, sheep, horses and red kites throughout the trip. The highlight for him though was two passes by an American special forces MC-130J (Hercules), once just outside Machynlleth and then again straight over the town at somewhere near 600-700ft. There was a very big “Wow” from the back seat. Another highlight was the choo choo train crossing the level crossing in front of us just outside Borth.

First stop was Machynlleth. The Powys town is full of history with the Clock Tower at the centre of the town instantly recognisable. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to visit, to photograph this beautiful places with its backdrop of mountains. Machynlleth was also the location of Owain Glyndwr’s parliament in 1404. Glyndwr was a legendary Welsh ruler and the last native Welsh man to hold the title Prince of Wales.The building on the site where the parliament once stood now houses historic artefacts related to him.

Another photo stop was the Museum of Modern Art near the Clock Tower before heading to the Pont-ar-Ddyfi bridge over the River Dyfi which sits on the edge of the town on the A487.

From here we headed to the RSPB Nature Reserve at Ynys Hir, famous for its Osprey visitors every spring. It’s one of the only places in Wales to see Ospreys.

The next section took us down the Ceredigion coast. First stop was Borth, somewhere neither me or Claire had been before. We all enjoyed a good walk along the pebbles even finding some perfectly shaped shells.

We then made the short trip to Clarach Bay another new location for us. Here we parked up over looking the beach and again had a nice walk in the fresh air. It was picnic time, taking in the sea views with hardly a cloud in the sky. The Welsh coast at its mesmerising best.

After lunch we travelled through Aberystwyth and on to Llanon. The views from the coast road just outside Llanon are spectacular. Our stop here coincided with a farmer feeding his sheep and lambs which were grazing in a field over looking the coast. They were perfectly placed to be in the foreground of an image with the coast behind them.

From Aberaeron we started to head home, via Lampeter, Llandovery, Brecon and Abergavenny.

Wales at its finest with spring well and truly in the air.

You can see more of my images here: www.nathanaeljonesphotography.com

With Ceredigion images here: www.nathanaeljonesphotography.com/Ceredigion

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.