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Glamorgan Heritage Coast Project

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Scroll down or Quick links to:     Activities and past events     Contact Details     Fundraising and Friends of Heritage Coast     Gallery     Glamorgan Heritage Coast Project     Heritage Coast Centre     Seawatch Centre     Visiting the Heritage Coast Centre and Seawatch Centre    

Entrance to Glamorgan Heritage Coast Centre, Southerndown

Glamorgan Heritage Coast Project was established in 1973, looking after 14 miles/22 kilometres of the South Wales coastline from West Aberthaw to Porthcawl.  Since then, many sites have been designated Heritage Coast and are managed and maintained to conserve the unique character of the landscape and habitats.  In 1979 Glamorgan Heritage Coast Project received the Prince of Wales Award for the concept of community involvement in the conservation of the heritage coastline.  The project is funded by the Vale of Glamorgan and the Countryside for Wales. 

HERITAGE COAST CENTRE     Back to top and quick links

The Heritage Coast Centre is at Dunraven Park, Southerndown.  The building was originally the laundry for Dunraven Castle; in later years it was the Seamouth caf and is now used as an Information Centre, Display area, Exhibition area and has a small shop.  Rangers have restored much of the castle gardens and surrounding area in the walled section of Dunraven Park as well as undertaking invaluable work along the coastline and involvement with the Butterfly Conservation Project.  Dunraven Park covers approximately 56 acres.  The round plaque above the fireplace was unveiled by the Prince of Wales to commemorate his visit to the Heritage Coast Centre on 21st November, 1983. 

The bench seating was presented to the Heritage Coast Project by Cardiff Soroptimists in 1981.
There is also a seat purchased in memory of Jean Brinkworth in 2006 made of local oak.  The Vale of Glamorgan biodiversity champion donated three birds boxes, that he had made, in 2014.

Some of the photographs in the gallery are from an exhibition held in 2005     Back to top and quick links


Heritage Coast Centre, Dunraven Bay, Southerndown (1 of 32)


SEAWATCH CENTRE     Back to top and quick links

Seawatch Centre is at Summerhouse Point, Boverton, near Llantwit Major.  The building is a converted H.M. Coastguard lookout station for the busy shipping lanes of the Bristol Channel and is now used as a Maritime Interpretation Centre.  Upstairs is set out as a ship's bridge and is equipped with radio receivers, navigational and meteorological instrumentation.  The RADAR can be used to plot and find ships passing up and down the Bristol Channel and the VHF radio to listen to shipping communications.  Downstairs there is a Rescue at Sea scenario.  The wireless weather station was installed in July 2005 and records data every 30 minutes and can store up to 24 months of data.  In 2007 two sensors were added: one to measure ultra violet radiation to indicate the risk of sunburn; and the other to measure solar radiation and the intensity of the sun.  The weather station also measures air pressure, wind speed, wind direction and rainfall.  Wind speeds of 74 miles per hour were recorded at the beginning of 2007. 


Parties and groups are able to visit both the Heritage Coast Centre and Seawatch Centre.  Please ring for further details such as the degree of difficulty involved with each walk, information on tides or to book a visit.  Guided tours can be arranged if required.  Opening days and times vary.  Stout footwear should be worn and waterproof clothing brought along in case of inclement weather.  A packed lunch may be required.  Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.  DO NOT go near the cliff edge and DO NOT walk or sit under the cliffs.  Limestone and shale cliffs are extremely unstable with frequent falls and crumbling edges together with slippery grass increases the danger.  Southerndown beach has extensive, lovely firm sand and rock pools.  However, please be aware that at high tide it is possible to be caught in a tide trap at points along the coastline. 

CONTACT DETAILS     Back to top and quick links

Glamorgan Heritage Coast Centre, Dunraven Park, Southerndown, Vale of Glamorgan.  CF32 0RP.  Tel: 01656 880157 or Fax: 01656 880931. 

Seawatch Centre, Summerhouse Point, Llantwit Major.  Tel: 01446 795203 

Various activities are organised and have included:

HERITAGE COAST CENTRE     Back to top and quick links

Fantastic Flyers - action packed fun, finding and making your own flying creatures. 

Jolly Jurassic - fossils and geology day joining the rangers and Techniquest for activities all afternoon such as fossil hunting, rock watching and making your own ancient creatures and fossils!  Fossils show the changing pattern of life throughout the ages and fossil hunting is similar to beach combing. The best places to find them are among pebbles and rocks on the beach. 

Not all Eggs are Chocolate - family event. 

Moths - information about moths and how to identify them, as well as a demonstration on the use of moth traps and wine ropes. 

Nightlife - evening event to see what comes out at night and how to detect creatures such as bats, followed by barbeque. 

Things that go bump in the night! - an opportunity to find out who or what is out at night around Dunraven Park, such as owls, followed by hot chocolate. 

All things woody - finding out more about trees, woodland crafts and tree dressing. 

A taste of the Coast - sampling the edible delights found growing and living along the coast and discovering how plants have been used throughout time. 

Early spring walk day - an early morning walk from 7.30 am in early spring!  Listen to the dawn chorus.  Followed by late breakfast. 

A day on the common - walk, watch and wonder at the wildlife. 

Rockpool Ramble - an afternoon finding the creatures that hide on the local beach at Dunraven Bay. 

Exhibition by local artist Gillian Griffiths.  Up to 70 paintings were on display in watercolours and acrylics with subjects as diverse as botanical, wildlife, still life, flower paintings and seascapes.  In 2004, Gillian had her acrylics painting of lilies accepted for display in the "Not the Turner Prize" competition organised by the Daily Mail.  Her picture, which was one of 400 picked from 10,000 entries, was in a gallery in the Mall in London for 10 days. 

Paintings of local scenes by Barrie Griffiths 

Exhibition by John Helmsley. 

Paintings featuring pets by Neal Lloyd.

Exhibition by Bridgend artist Peter Cronin of watercolour landscape paintings.  Also an opportunity to enrol at Peter's workshops or classes. 

Hands-on - opportunity to spend some time in the Walled Gardens of Dunraven and help with weeding and digging as well as mulching needed to stop the weeds coming back.  Followed by barbeque. 

Beach & Sea Safety Roadshow - the Royal National Lifeboat Institution highlighted dangers and offered practical advice on how to avoid them and stay safe when they went along to Dunraven Bay, Ogmore-by-Sea and Llantwit Major beaches. 

Beach Blast - litter clean up at Southerndown beach with the help of Year 6 pupils from St. Brides Major School.  The litter was sorted and weighed in order to undertake a survey. 

SEAWATCH CENTRE     Back to top and quick links

Gales and Gulls - finding out some fascinating facts about wildlife and weather.

Fascinating Fossils - walk from Seawatch to Aberthaw and back looking at fossils and beach wildlife along the way. 

OTHER WALKS/EVENTS     Back to top and quick links

From Aberthaw to Southerndown. 

From Gileston Park to Dunraven. 

Llantwit Major History - a walk starting from the south porch at St. Illtud's Church then around the town and countryside with the help of Llantwit Major History Society. 

Rockpool Ramble - a celebration of the world's oceans, finding creatures that are hiding on a local beach, starting from Llantwit Major Beach car park. 

GENERAL     Back to top and quick links

Working with volunteers, work experience students and local groups such as Bridgend Cubs and Playgroups.

Study of the common and geography with St. Brides Major School.

Cetacean rescue workshop with Rhoose Primary School.

Hedge planting with Llanulltyd School.

Clearing trees at Nash Point.

Replacement of stile at Monknash.

Repairing walls at Ogmore-by-Sea.

Pond and habitat management.

Repair of a rail at Ogmore-by-Sea.

Clearing of the common for the high brown fritillary butterfly as part of a butterfly conservation project.

Litter picking most days.

The above excursions, exhibitions and events are free but donations are welcome. 

FUNDRAISING     Back to top and quick links

Friends of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Association is a registered charity run by an elected committee and members receive a regular newsletter with details of what is happening along the coast.  The Association's aim is to support the Glamorgan Heritage Coast by voluntary work and holding open days together with social and fund raising events such as: 

For many years (until around 2010) an annual A-Z prize draw was held with 26 prizes representing each letter of the alphabet.  Always a mixture of the absurd, useful and charming, a surprise was assured if you were lucky enough to draw a letter! 

Cream teas and raffle. 

Produce stall. 

Open Day with slide shows revealing the beauties of the dramatic coast, geology, flora, fauna, sea life and more. 

Christmas event with log fire, glass of mulled wine, mince pie, raffle and entertainment. 

Refreshments are available at most events and the Rangers often put on a slide show or talk about their work.  The AGM is held in the spring during which details are given of activities and guided walks that have taken place or are planned for the coming year.  Committee meetings are usually held in March, June, August and November. 

Monies raised contribute towards the purchase of equipment, raising awareness and continuing the conservation of the coast.  The Heritage Coast's first tractor and in 2005 a scooter for disabled visitors to use was purchased by the Friends.  Seawatch Centre was bought via fund raising and contributions were made towards its costs; in 2005 a mounted weather station for the roof was purchased. 

Scooter purchased by Friends of Heritage Coast


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