Our boarding students have been busy enjoying a cultural and historic tour of South Wales over the past few weekends, visiting some of Wales’ most iconic monuments and places of interest only a short drive from Westbourne.
First stop: the Brecon Beacons. With two National Trails and a National Park, this unique setting boasts spectacular walks and has been inspiration for countless literary and historical works throughout the generations. The students didn’t let the autumnal drizzle deter them from experiencing the best of the beacons, with a particular highlight being the dramatic Henrhyd Waterfalls – an instantly recognisable scene from the blockbuster Batman films. Lunch was at the Ystradfellte Community Hall, including a Wales-themed picture quiz and local homemade welshcakes, followed by a short drive to Castle Coch, where students learnt about the history of the castle and were also given an introduction to basic Welsh.
The journey home was via the world-famous Llandaff Cathedral, nestled in the very pretty, historic Llandaff Village in Cardiff. The group enjoyed a guided tour of the cathedral while the organ played majestically in the background.
The following Saturday saw the group visit an area even closer to home – the beautiful Vale of Glamorgan, with its abundant countryside, heritage coastline and pretty thatched cottages. The first destination was Porthkerry Park, a country park with 220 acres of woods and meadowland in a sheltered valley, leading to a pebble beach and cliffs. The group disembarked next to the famous viaduct, before setting off on a walk to the beach where they perfected their skills in skimming pebbles and took in some of the local coastal scenery.
They continued on to Southerndown and the Wales Coastal Path, with an opportunity for a breathtaking walk across the cliffs with views overlooking the Bristol Channel. This was a perfect spot to stop and have a Geography lesson, which allowed further investigation of the dramatic cliffs and coastline. The students were excited to walk to the sea’s edge to spot marine life, before making their way to lunch in the clifftop gardens on what turned out to be a gloriously sunny day.
After lunch, the group arrived at Ogmore Castle, a picturesque beauty spot with stepping stones to cross the river. Most ended up with wet feet, but this just added to the sense of getting stuck into nature! The group watched the resident horses crossing the river, and were astonished to learn that many of these horses compete in the world-famous Grand National race. The final stopping point was Merthyr Mawr sand dunes, where the group found and dusted off a sledge – making the downhill section of the dunes much easier!
The tour finished on a real high, and the students reported feeling so much more enlightened on the rich history and geography of the local area – the amazing place they call home.