Llantwit Major - Geography

Geography

Llantwit Major is located in southeast Wales and mid-west along the coast of the Vale of Glamorgan. The town can be accessed from the north directly by the B4268 road and indirectly by the B4270 road (St. Athan road) stemming from the A48 road, and directly by the B4265 road which leads to Bridgend in the northwest and Cardiff Airport and Barry in the east. It is one of four towns in the Vale of Glamorgan and the third largest by population after Barry and Penarth, and ahead of Cowbridge, which lies about 4.5 miles (7.2 km) to the northeast. The town centre of Llantwit Major lies about 9 miles (14 km) from the centre of Bridgend, 10 miles from the centre of Barry and about 15 miles (24 km) from the centre of Cardiff which lies further to the east. Boverton is an eastern suburb of Llantwit.

A small stream, the Afon Col-huw, runs through the town and the stream Nant y Stepsau flows in from Eglwys Brewis in the northeast. The Llantwit Major area is built on a range of different levels and the town itself is sloping. At the lower coastal level is the flat, glacial Collugh Valley, marked by steep cliffs on both sides, leading to a pebble beach. The beach, located to the south of the town (51°23′48″N 3°30′03″W / 51.396667°N 3.500833°W / 51.396667; -3.500833), has the remains of an ancient old stone wall from the large Iron Age hill fort, Castle Ditches, which was once located here. The steep cliffs at Llantwit which allow walks along the coast to St Donat's Castle and Atlantic College have undergone dramatic erosion in recent years with the result that, in many places, the rock structure has collapsed in piles, particularly on the eastern face. The cliff path, once set approximately 100 yards (91 m) from the edge is now within metres of the nature pathway, causing the installation of extensive new barriers by the Vale of Glamorgan Council to prevent fatalities. The 14 miles (23 km) of coastline from Gileston in the east to Newton Point and in the west, passing through St Donat's and Southerndown is protected under the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. Tresilian Bay is situated between Llantwit Major and St Donat's. Along this stretch of coast the cliff path winds through numerous valleys. Llantwit Major beach has one of the finest sites in Wales for Jurassic fossils, including corals, giant brachiopods, gastropods and the bones of Ichthyosaurus. In the early 1990s the beach flooded with the tide rising beyond the beach wall and inundating the surrounding pasture in the valley, which is now used as a campsite.

The beach is a popular tourist destination during the summer months and has a campsite on the nearby fields. The beach has a snack bar and restaurant and associated amenities to cater for the increased public demand in recent years. The beach at low tide is an expansive rocky beach with a stretch of sand towards the far west, offering dramatic views of the Bristol Channel and the coastline of Somerset, England, with the landmak white roof of Butlins, Minehead. Llantwit Major is a popular surfing location in Wales, attracting a number of surfers all year round but particularly during the summer. The beach has a lifeguard station funded by the Vale of Glamorgan Council, built in the late 1990s, functioning during the summer months.

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