Week 11 | Walking With Wild Horses | West Wales

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Week 10

An Interesting Week Of Walking Alongside The Wild Horses Of Penclawdd

This is a brief account of week eleven of the big walk around Wales on the new coastal path. 1047 miles to explore on foot before tackling it on horseback

The week started with day 78 parked up at Penclawdd having experienced so many problems finding spots to stay overnight on the Gower, it was a relief to be somewhere where I didn’t appear to be bothering anyone. I ended up using it as a base for several days and found the presence of so many semi wild horses that are turned out here fascinating particularly when they cross the river at low tide and wade through tonnes of mud to get to grazing on the other side

Some Of The Wild Horses at Penclawdd Near Llanelli

The Mud is Deep & Tricky To Walk Through

The walking in this area is just great although the high tides can cause flooding on the path and I had my second encounter with the police who were searching for a walker from the West Country who had disappeared while walking in the Llanrhidian Marsh area, I don’t think they found him

Once again the terrain of the Welsh coastal path varies from industrial estate, woods, fields, sand dunes and marsh flats often in the company of the hundreds of ponies and horses that are turned out here. I found my favourite part at Whiteford Reserve, a lovely area of dunes and burrows overlooked by a pine forest that would be just incredible to ride through. I also found my least favourite section of the path in this area, the bit that runs from Gowerton into the back of Bynea, there is only the road to walk on with no pavement or verge and the traffic is fast and heavy

Exceptionally High Tides Loughour Estuary

These High Tides Caused The Path To be Flooded In Places

The path at Bynea marks the start of the section called the Millennium Coastal path this is a 14 mile pedestrian walkway and cycleway along the south coast of Carmarthenshire, providing a link between Llanelli and Pembrey Country Park. It is a credit to the local authority as it is so clean and well tended, with no litter

Apparently there are plans being considered to allow horse riding here, it would be just incredible to link this with improved access for horse riders in Pembrey County Park which currently operates a very restrictive permit system to a tiny amount of people

Limited Permits Mean Only 20 Horse Riders In Pembrey Country Park

Perfect For Horse Riding But Only A Tiny Majority Can

The Forestry commission governs this permit system and the numbers are low in order to help preserve the habitat, having walked through it for hours (I got lost) its difficult to really understand this as there are literally miles of suitable places to ride and once again priority seems to have been given to cyclists

We are campaigning for improved horse riding access on the new Welsh coastal path, if you agree please sign and share our petition, when we have 10,000 signatures it will be delivered to the Welsh Assembly Government at Cardiff

NB
Another opportunity to ride in this beautiful setting is offered by the Pembrey Riding centre who very kindly allowed me to park overnight there. I would also like to thank the Gateway Holiday Park at Bynea for getting my van out of a ditch, despite not being a visitor to the park they sent a tractor to where I was stuck and enabled me to continue on my way, more help than my breakdown company who wanted almost £200 for the same task

Thanks also go to Karen, the BHS Bridleways Officer for Carmarthenshire who kindly drove out of her way to give me a lift back to my van after walking to Kidwelly. This area has lots of short stretches of bridleways, some don’t appear to have been used for horse riding for a long time, possibly as they are not circular or linked to other routes. Organisations like the BHS work tirelessly at improving off road riding, but it’s down to everyone concerned to ensure these existing bridle paths are used, once they lose their status its not easy to get it re-instated

This Bridge Is Too Low For Horse Riders

Some Access Issues Will Be Easier To Resolve Than Others

Are You interested in any aspect of our planned ride around Wales? If so, please get in touch here

Week 12
Why I walked 1047 miles around Wales

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  1. an update from Karen at BHS regarding riding On the Millennium path

    “For info we can ride the Milenium coast path to Pembrey from Burry Port along the marshes. The cycle track is very slippery where the surface has eroded and because its a plastic mesh is ok for cycles but not for metal shoes so we avoid it by riding on the Saltings.

  2. This is a copy of an email received 9 Oct 2012
    “Dear Jackie

    Congratulations on being one of the first people – and dog – to complete the whole circuit. I’m glad that you enjoyed it.

    With regard to horse riders, the Welsh Government are currently considering the future management and funding arrangements for the development and maintenance of the Wales Coast Path, including loops and links from it, for all user groups, including horse riders.
    We are also discussing possible developments with the British Horse Society.”

    Regards

    Quentin Grimley
    Swyddog Prosiect Mynediad i’r Arfordir/Coastal Access Project Officer
    Cyngor Cefn Gwlad Cymru/Countryside Council for Wales

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