Get out and about with your dog on the Glamorgan Heritage coast. 

With woodland trails, wide sandy beaches and the highest dunes in Wales, the Glamorgan Heritage Coast has dozens of walks to enjoy with your family and four-legged friends. Nine of the fourteen Glamorgan Heritage Coast beaches are open to dogs year-round, and there are parks and castles to explore along the way. 

We’ve sniffed out a varied full-day itinerary in Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend to get you started. The plan is complete with places to burn off some energy off-lead, a selection of furball-friendly eateries, and a few ideas on where to curl up for the night after a busy day of fresh air and frolics. 

A paw-fect day out with your dog on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast 

Morning power walks at Merthyr Mawr Warren National Nature Reserve

Begin your day at the Merthyr Mawr Warren National Nature Reserve and spend the morning stretching your legs on woodland trails and wind-sculpted dunes. The reserve has wonderfully varied terrain, covering several miles along the seafront, tracking a mile or so inland and bordered by the Ogmore River to the east. The Big-Dipper is Wales’s chart-topping dune, measuring around 200 feet in height. Beyond, shady woodland paths are dotted with wildflowers, while near the coast, the golden tones of marram beach grass blend with soft, caramel-coloured sands.

Two humans and a dog on a sandy footpath.
Two humans and a dog exploring a sandy path through grassy dunes.

A couple and their dog Barti at Merthyr Mawr Warren National Nature Reserve, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

Dogs should be mostly kept on leads inland, and everyone should stick to the (many) waymarked paths to help protect the unique coastal wildlife. But once you hit the expansive sandy beach there's plenty of space for zooming. Soft white sands near the dunes beckon you to take off your shoes and bask in the sun before a refreshing paddle in the tumbling surf.

Lunchtime pit-stop at Cobbles Kitchen and Deli

You will surely have worked up an appetite this morning, so head to Cobbles Kitchen and Deli on Ogmore Road. The deli is housed in a converted barn with a sheltered cobblestone courtyard to pull up a chair in. Cobbles might have a quaint rural setting, but the menu reads more like a classic New York deli. Tuck into breakfast bagels and stacked pastrami and pickle sandwiches, steak and cheese melt or the pulled pork ‘Cuban’ with Monterey Jack. They do a mean Vegan Reuben too. 

Seaside sojourns and afternoon ambles at Ogmore Castle 

After a bite to eat, it’s time for another blast of salty sea air. This time on the golden sands of Ogmore-by-Sea beach. Backed by dramatic cliffs, those with high energy might climb up for a coastal path walk and take in the sweeping seascapes. Down on the sands, there are flourishing rock pools and small caves to nose in, and there’s always ice cream available in the village. 

From there, follow the river inland to the historic ruins of Ogmore Castle (Cadw). It was first constructed as a wooden fort in the 12th century and later fortified in stone. Today, all is calm, and the castle has a bucolic setting on a verdant riverbank with picturesque age-worn stepping stones to hop across at low tide.

Two humans playing frizbee with a dog on a beach.
Two humans and a dog walking on stepping stones over a wide shallow river.
A family and a dog exploring a ruined castle.

Ogmore-by-Sea and Ogmore Castle, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

Pie and a pint at the Pelican 

After a full day of exploring, what you need now is a friendly local pub to welcome you and your pooch. The Pelican Inn is a convenient stone’s throw from the castle and has a large beer garden and covered outside dining area. If you’d prefer to sit indoors, dogs can trot in and join you at the bar for a doggie treat. The Pelican serves hearty pub food with all the usual crowd-pleasers, including fish and chips, sausage and mash, pies, wellingtons, steaks and veggie options. 

A dog eagerly leaning towards the bar at a pub, anticipating a treat or a friendly pat from the bartender.
A family strolls towards the pub, their dog leading the way with a wagging tail, ready for a fun outing.

The Pelican Inn, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales

Pooch-friendly places to lay your head

Time for a snooze? The self-catering cottages at Sealands Farm are just the place. Based on a working farm, each of the three stylish barn conversions has open-plan living spaces, dog-friendly enclosed gardens and a hot tub. The farm is a short walk from the coastal path so morning walkies won’t be a problem. Coed-Y-Mwstwr Country Hotel in Bridgend is a charming Victorian mansion nestled amongst woodland. The luxurious hotel offers pampered pooch packages for furry friends. Campers and caravanners can head to dog-friendly Happy Jakes Camping Park or Heritage Coast Campsite instead. 

Some ideas to extend your stay 

There are plenty more things to do in the Vale of Glamorgan, so your crew should consider letting out the lead and staying a few more days. Pop to Porthcawl for beach walks and a stroll around town, or cruise down the coast to Barry Island for candyfloss. Alternatively, keep it rural and strike out on the coast path, using the complimentary 303 coast and village bus service to extend your walking range. 

For more information about dog-friendly days out in the Vale of Glamorgan visit Paws in the Vale, and for paw-some bars, restaurants, walks and attractions in Bridgend County visit their dog-friendly page for inspiration

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