This place is really, really awesome!! How many places can claim to be a Site of Special Scientific Interest, second highest sand dune formation in Europe, and filming location for Lawrence of Arabia? Not to mention the ruined Manor House, held off from being engulfed by the creeping sand only by a small stream babbling past.
This, along with the picture-perfect thatched village that you drive through to reach the dunes, or the alternative route from beautiful Ogmore Castle on stepping stones across the river Ogmore, and the sweeping gold sand, often- empty beach at the foot of the dunes, and you’ve got a recipe for a pretty special place!
The dunes are very popular with dog walkers, families, hikers, horse riders, sports teams who train there – you may spot the odd international Welsh rugby player running in the dunes – but despite this they are never crowded and remain largely unspoilt.
A hop, skip and a jump from where we live (lucky us!) we’ve been taking our girls there since they were born; at first in carriers, then in backpacks, to build sand castles when the beach was too wild, and most recently in sand sledges!!
The entrance to the dunes by road is reached through Merthyr Mawr Village (Map here)
Car park charges range from £1 – £4 and there are toilets and picnic tables at the entrance, which is also where you can find the ruined Candleston Castle (really more of a Manor House than castle but who’s counting?). Prams won’t get very far in the dunes.
You can camp in tipis on the other side of the river overlooking the dunes, right next to the castle: Ogmore Tipis. There is also a riding school for experiencing the dunes and beach on horseback!
Nearest food and supplies can be found at the Watermill Pub, Pelican Inn or The Ogmore Tea Rooms which does a killer Sunday Lunch but is very popular so booking is essential.
Venture further round the coast to Southerndown to the Three Golden Cups with a beer garden and children’s menu: www.thethreegoldencups.co.uk It also has an excellent campsite.