This is the village of Merthyr Mawr near Bridgend. It's an
idyllic little settlement, as picturesque as they come, with an
outstanding collection of thatched cottages positioned around an
old village green.
Despite being a relatively small village, there's plenty of
interesting places to visit. The 'Dipping Bridge' was built
in the 15th century, the holes in the sides allowed farmers to push
their sheep into the River Ogmore for a seasonal dip!
Just down the lane lie the remains of Candleston Castle, once a 15th
century fortified mansion house, whilst nearby Ogmore Castle is
probably the most picturesque castle in Wales.
Just beyond the castle is one of the biggest sand dune systems in Europe. It
once stretched for miles, right around Swansea Bay and some of the
dunes are as big as small mountains. The dunes are an
important wildlife habitat and site of scientific interest, which
shelters a rich variety of plants. Parts of the Hollywood
blockbuster 'Lawrence of Arabia' were filmed here.
Every year, just before Christmas, hundreds of amateur athletes
descend on the village for the annual Christmas Pudding Run.
The race is a challenging multi-terrain, six mile run that winds
its way through the sand dune system. The route starts with
an ascent of the highest single sand dune in Europe - the fearsome
But it doesn't end there, the race then continues with even more
climbs, over rough moorland and through several streams before
eventually the runners get to the finish line.
And the prize for completing this gruelling course……a Christmas pudding of
With Christmas fast approaching we continue our look
ahead to some of the festive delights that are coming up over the
next couple of weeks. This week, it's Bridgend's
What started as an attempt to break New York's World Record World
Record for the number of elves gathered in one place in 2010, has
grown every year since. So much so that it continually breaks
its own World Record every year.
The record, if you don't know, is for the largest gathering of
elves in one place. That place is Bridgend. They
currently hold the record with 1216 of Santa's little helpers
cramming in to the town centre last year. This year, the
organisers are hoping to go (at least) one better and break the
record for the 4th consecutive year.
And you can take part too. Simply turn up in Bridgend Town
Centre on Saturday 14 December and collect your official elf hat
from the organisers and you'll become part of the record
For more information visit the
It's the end of October and the shops are starting to fill with
festive offerings. So, over the next couple of weeks, we'll
look ahead to some of the events that are happening in Southern
Wales over the festive period. Today it's Caerphilly's
Medieval Christmas Fayre:
Caerphilly Medieval Christmas
7 - 8 December 2013
Caerphilly's Medieval Christmas Fayre returns once again this year
on Saturday 7th & 8th December. Once a traditional market town,
Caerphilly returns to its days of old with an eclectic mix of
medieval entertainment, food and drink, and an abundance of stalls
selling unusual Christmas gifts such as medieval replica,
traditional crafts, jewellery and Christmas decorations.
Listen to seasonal period music and laugh at the hilarious frolics
of the Jester, tricks of the medieval magicians and re-enactments
from the knights, but watch out for the medieval beggars who will
be roaming the market and chatting to visitors!
Caerphilly Castle is at the heart of the fayre, which is open to
visitors all weekend; entry fee with even more market stalls,
medieval entertainment and re-enactments within its walls
Visit the website for more
Nos Galan Races
31 December 2013
It might still be over 2 months away but preparations for one of
Wales' more unique new year celebrations are well underway.
The races, which this year celebrates its 55th
anniversary, are held each New Year's Eve in memory of local folk
hero Guto Nyth Bran. It was said that he could run from
Mountain Ash to Pontypridd and back
in the time it took a kettle to boil.
Hundreds of people take part in the races whilst hundreds more
line the streets in encouragement. The highlight of the night will
be the arrival of a Mystery Runner who will represent the spirit of
Guto, carrying the torch from his graveside at St Gwynno's Church
down the hillside to the town centre four miles away.
Previous Mystery Runners have included Linford Christie, John
Hartson, James Hook, Shane Williams and Dai Greene.
If you're tempted to take part, then online registration is now
open, just go to www.nosgalan.co.uk
Never ones to be content with sending boring old Christmas
cards, our friends at visitcardiff.com have gone one better
this year. They have produced this fantastic video which
features the people of Cardiff telling us what Christmas means to
As you can see it means different this to different people, but
what have they missed out. What would you add to the
So sit back and enjoy the video. Nadolig Llawen
Event - A Victorian Christmas
Location - Bryngarw Country Park, Bridgend
Date - 15 - 16 December 2012
Join in with the festivities this Christmas in the picturesque
surroundings of Bryngarw Country Park. The Victorian themed
event will feature lots of entertainment for all the family.
Have a go and the fairground rides or try your hand at some of the
traditional fun and games. There'll also be a
chance to browse stalls full of local crafts and food as well as
hot chestnuts, toasted marshmallows, mulled wine and mince
And of course there'll be an appearance from the man himself -
The National History Museum is
one of Wales most popular visitor attractions. Located in the
village of St Fagans, just a couple of miles from Cardiff City
Centre, the outdoor museum is home to dozens of buildings brought
to the site from every corner of Wales before being re-built brick
by brick. Each building tells the story of Wales from a different
era and perspective. Buildings include a row of ironworkers
cottages, a school and even a church.
St Fagans is a wonderful place to visit the whole year round, but
is especially atmospheric in the run up to Christmas. Its Christmas
nights events are especially popular. This year's event runs from
5-7 December and sees the whole site lit up to get you in the
Father Christmas sets up his grotto in front of the roaring log
fire in one of the old farmhouses, there's carol singing, brass
bands and a chance to experience the ancient Welsh tradition of the
Mari Lwyd. There are also traditional
fairground rides, craft stalls and plenty of festive food and
Don't forget to wrap up warm and bring your torch! Nadolig
Tickets must be purchased in advance from here and further information can
be found here
What a great video from last year's Winter Wonderland in
Cardiff. It was taken from the top of the Star Ride. The amazing
60m ride towers above the ice rink and other fairground riders
below and gives an amazing view of Cardiff - just as long as you
don't mind heights.
For details of other Christmas events happening in Southern
Wales then please click
Christmas officially gets underway in Cardiff
tomorrow night with the first ever Step Into Christmas
event. The city will be immersed into a world filled with
lights, music, magic and entertainment for a family celebration of
all things festive.
There'll be entertainment throughout the city centre, including
sites in Queen Street, The Hayes and around the Castle
Quarter. There'll be a spectacular giant puppet show, globe
walking gymnastic elves, a festive fire show, dancing fairies,
Santa and his team of six real reindeers and Bjorn the
fantastically realistic, life-sized Polar Bear. There'll also
be appearances from children's TV favourites Ben and Holly.
The evening will also herald the opening of the Christmas Markets.
St John Street, Working Street and the Hayes will be filled with
traditional wooden chalets laden with hand-crafted Christmas gifts
interspersed with irresistible seasonal food and drink.
Visit the website for more
Southern Wales Tourism would like to wish
everyone a Merry Chritsmas. Nadolig Llawen i chi gyd.
And just in case you've had enough of turkey, chocolates and
Christmas TV bear in mind some of the great events happening over
the festive period.
The Porthcawl Christmas Morning Swim
The brave (of foolish) take to the icy seas and
Porthcawl's Coney Beach to raise money for local charities.
You're welcome to join in or take the sensible option and watch
from the shore.
The Welsh Grand National
Chepstow Racecourse in the beautiful Wye Valley is
the setting for the running of Wales' most prestigious horse
Dragons v Blues
It's a local derby in the Rugby's Magners League at
Newport's Rodney Parade ground. Expect a passionate
atmosphere and great rugby as these rivals go head to head
Calennig, New Year Celebrations
Wave goodbye to 2010 and say hello to 2011 at
Cardiff's New Year celebrations on City Hall Lawn. Ice
skating, live music and a spectacular firework display will welcome
in the new year.