New Years in Wales

A new year dawned, bringing with it continued wind and rain left over from storm Frank, or Eva or whatever storm we are on now… Having spent New Years Eve in the car on the motorway, driving back from Cornwall getting home at 1am, I can’t say I was totally up for getting up early. However it was a new year, a time where new years resolutions are made which usually consist of getting fit and being motivated (which seem to fail within a month or two..), so I felt it would be a failure to cancel on my plans on day one.

A trip to a beach South Wales with Helen, Bethan and Maddie was on the cards. I got dropped of in Gloucester to meet up with the others, and to rescue a Maddie, who was still feeling slightly merry from her antics the night before…The troops all assembled we headed off towards Wales, we weren’t quite sure where we were going, but we were going so that was good enough for me.

It was decided to head to Monknash which is a tiny village about a half hour from Barry containing a couple of houses, a pub and beach. The journey into Wales went smoothly, bar a minor hitch in fixing some of the plastic exterior of Helens car. Crossing into Wales and having totally forgotten that nothing would be open on New Years Day we managed to purchase some hearty grub at a service station Waitrose consisting of samosas, sushi, spanish omlette and orange juice.

Refuelled and rejuvenated we headed on, past Newport and Cardiff and then into the Welsh countryside down to Monknash. The pub was very busy with new years day revellers so we headed straight towards the beach, sliding down the muddy path beside Nash Brook, through the forest and down on the beach. The others went for a quick dip in the freezing sea, which I managed to avoid by making the excuse of wanting to look at the rocks. Monknash beach is part of the Monknash Coast SSSI and forms part of the Glanmorgan Heritage Coast. The beach itself is made up of limestone pebbles eroded from the surrounding cliffs, these are situated ontop of a limestone wavecut platform. Fossils can be found all over the beach ranging from graptolites to belemnites and bivalve shells.

So as to avoid hypothermia we headed back to the car soon after the swim, warmed up and then headed back along the coast road towards Barry. The journey home was made much more interesting by Helen’s idea to identify unusual, and in some cases slightly rude place names, this led us to the Cardiff suburb of ‘St Mellons’ and to a tiny hamlet near Chepstow called ‘Bully Hole Bottom’, which provided much amusement. We ambled back home through the Forest of Dean and back home just in time for tea and to watch the new episode of Sherlock on the BBC. A great start to the new year, all be it a little chilly!

Originally published at on January 4, 2016.

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