A Map of the Walk from Monknash to Llantwit Beach.
( Right Click the Map to save it and print it ).
Parking at Llantwit Beach is free as well as parking
at the Plough and Harrow pub Monknash.
However, when Parking at Monknash Farm closer to the Dingle there is a£1.50 courtesy payment box.
The monks' grange at Nash (hence the name) was the richest estate owned by the cistercian abbey at Neath, it included accommodation buildings and a college (these recently have been rebuilt from ruins and can be found to the northwest of the pub), a forge (just down the lane to the west), a carpenters workshop (to the left of the pub), trout pools, dove cotes, animal buildings (ruins remain to the rear of the pub) and a huge tithe barn, over 200ft long, a building so large that the porch alone now accomodates a modern house!
To the left of the pub, the remaining ivy covered gable end can be seen from the garden but much of this barn was "robbed of stone" to build "newer" buildings over the centuries. All of this was surrounded by hundreds of acres of the best farming land in Wales.
With the downfall of monastic houses in 1536 the land and buildings were sold off to the wealthy Stradling family of St Donats Castle to the East, now home to Atlantic College.
Nash Point Lighthouse
Nash Point Lighthouse was the last manned lighthouse in Wales. Since 1998 it has been automatically operated and is monitored by Trinity House's Control Centre at Harwich.
Tours last approximately 1 hour. In addition, subject to weather and environmental conditions, the Fog Signal will be sounded on the 1st Saturday and 3rd Sunday of each month. Sounding the Fog Signal adds approximately 15 minutes to the tour. A tour is not suitable for everyone, including some physically less able people. Please check in advance.
2010 Opening Times
From Easter until end of September tours take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2:30pm to 5:30pm.
From 1st October and throughout winter tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays at 2.30pm only.
Additional tours avaialble on request from schools, special interest groups, clubs and societies. Please contact Chris Williams on the contact number below.
Parking is available with a small charge by the landowner.
Accompanied Children: (2-16yrs) £1.50
Family: (2 adults and up to 4 children) £10.00
Schools/Groups: by prior arrangement
A History of Llantwit
in the parish include a Roman villa at Caermead which remains as faint
earthworks in a field, the 13th century parish church of St Illtud
and a 15th century town hall. The once mint (coin) for the town is
now an attractive (once thatched) 15th century public house, called
the Old Swan Inn, in the center of the town. Also, at Hill Head, near
St. Illtud's Church, lies a 13th century dovecote next to the site
of the old tythe barn built for the monks at the, once St. Illtud's,
monastery. Another site on Hill Head is the (13th century) gatehouse,
now belonging to St Illtyd's Church, Llantwit Major. There is a plaque
on the gatehouse, telling of its history. Historians have recently
suggested that this plaque may have been erected after a grain-related
incident involving local peasant Benjamin Kirkham that later resulted
in his expulsion from the town. These plaques also appear on many
other buildings in the town which hold historical significance.
The town grew up around a monastery or 'llan', founded in the 5th century by Saint Illtud as a centre of learning. Saint David, Saint Samson, Saint Paul Aurelian, Saint Gildas, Saint Tudwal, Saint Baglan and king Maelgwn Gwynedd are said to have studied at the Cor Tewdws, the divinity school. It has often been called "the oldest university in the world". The present church on the site largely dates from the 13th and 15th centuries and contains interesting medieval wall paintings and a fine reredos. There are also a number of important early Christian sculptured stones, three with inscriptions. One is the memorial to King Rhys ap Arthfael of Morgannwg who died in the mid-9th century. Another may date from Saint Samson's time. St. Illtyd's church thus predates the Age of the Saints in early Welsh Christianity and thus by its very existence provides evidence of continuity with Christianity in the context of the Roman province.0In the middle of the Vale of Glamorgan lies a small coastal town of Llantwit Major (or, in 0Welsh, Llanilltud Fawr). Llantwit Major has been often called "the most beautiful of 0places".It is a quaint old town four and a half miles south-west of Cowbridge.
0It possesses a medieval town hall the ruins of a manor house, and a historic church as 0well as the foundations of a Roman Villa.
0Llantwit Major is an excellent location for exploring South Wales and the cosmopolitan 0capital city of Cardiff, as well as the splendid area of the Brecon Beacons National Park, 0the Gower Peninsula to the west, and the historic valleys.
0Evidence has been found of domestic seaside settlement at Llantwit Major, dating as far 0back as the Neolithic period. For 350 years, the area was ruled by the Romans, Roman 0villas have been found, with bathrooms and the mosaic pavements dating from 0the mid 2nd century. However, Llantwit came to the prominence after the Romans had 0left,with the foundation of a monastery by St Illtud in the late 5th century. This rapidly 0became as a seat of learning as much as religion, attracting students from all 0over the 0world, and was reputed to have had seven halls, 400 houses and 02000 pupils.
0It attracted royalty as well as St David himself, and is named as a royal burial place. It 0was also a busy mission centre for founding new churches, yet nothing solid remains to 0show where the monastery was sited or what it looked like.
0The Church Halls and individual cells were probably made of timber, and this would 0account for the lack of remains. Traditionally, the site of the monastery is supposed to be 0just north of the present church of St Illtud, and maybe the ancient foundations still lie 0buried beneath later houses. Nothingcan now be seen of the monastery apart from a 0small collection of 9th century in St illtud's church.
0St Illtud's church is a mixture of different periods of building strung out, in line, one behind 0the other. The Western (or old) church was the original parish church built on pre-Norman 0foundations. A tall, slim tower was built onto the eastern end in the 13th century and 0was followed by a new Eastern (or monastic) church and chancel at the far western end 0of the original building. The now ruined Lady chapel (or Galilee), was added later. There 0are traces of a number of medieval wall paintaings, and in the Western Church, a 0remarkable collection of carved Celtic crosses and carved memorial stones, bear moving 0testimony to the renown of this hallowed centre of Welsh Christianity.
0Llantwit has grown considerably in recent years, but the winding narrow and high-walled 0streets of the town centre still preserve its ancient character. The town also 0retains a 0number of fine old buildings, including a 15th century town hall, a 0medieval gatehouse and 0a circular dovecote near the church, and some 016th century inns and houses. A mile to 0the south, near Colhugh Beach, 0there are ditches and earthworks belonging to an early 0Iron Age fort.
0St Donat's Castle, a couple of miles to the west of Llantwit, is a 13th century fortress 0which has been lived in since the time it was built.
0To meet the needs of its inhabitants, the castle has continually undergone alteration and 0extension, most notably in the early part of this century when it was bought by Randolph 0Hearst, an American newspaper magnate, and completely modernized. The castle is 0now the home of Atlantic College, an international sixth form school.
St Donat's Castle
St Donat's Castle is a medieval castle in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, overlooking the Bristol Channel in the village of St Donat's near Llantwit Major, and about 25km west of Cardiff. Since 1962 the castle has housed the international Sixth form college Atlantic College.
The castle lies on a promontory with precipitous sea cliffs on the west.
An inner court
about 40m across within a polygonal inner curtain wall is closely
surrounded by an outer court and curtain wall with a dry moat facing
the eastern approach. The outer wall mostly survives and has a small
original tower entirely contained with it on the north, and a square
gatehouse on the east. The inner court is entered by an arch on the
east side beside the rectangular Mansell Tower. The curtain walls
date from c.1300, having been built by the first Stradling (or perhaps
by his widow's second husband. The western part of the inner curtain
wall is gone, making room for the early 16th century north-western
and western ranges; the north-eastern range is of the late 15th century;
the late 15th century Great Hall is on the south of the court.
Beside it, squeezed in between the inner and outer curtain walls, is the Bradenstoke Hall, consisting of the inner curtain wall, the somewhat realigned inner curtain wall, a modern wall on the east end built at the point so that an early 14th century roof (brought from Bradenstoke Abbey in Wiltshire) would¨fit. The western range has been largely replaced by a three-storey building whose ground floor is a large modern dining hall with a 15th century roof, probably Flemish in origin but imported from Boston Stump Church (Lincolnshire). The Lady Anne tower on the south-western corner of the castle has been rebuilt many times.
The earliest surviving parts of the castle were built in the late 12th century by the de Hawey family. Ownership passed to the Stradling family in 1298 through the marriage of Sir Peter Stradling to Joan de Hawey.
The Stradling family (which included a notable recusant, a well-known antiquary and a Latin poet – an earlier Stradling heiress, also the subject of a particularly hyperbolic lamentation by the Welsh poet Tudur Aled) owned St Donat's Castle until the death of Sir Thomas Stradling in 1738, when ownership of the castle passed to Sir John Tyrwhitt. Archbishop James Ussher resided there for a time during the Civil War.
Thereafter the castle fell into a state of disrepair. Partial restoration was started by Dr John Nicholl Carne, who claimed to be descended from the Stradlings, and bought the castle in 1862. Morgan Williams, the owner from 1901 to 1909, carried out extensive and careful restoration.
After seeing photographs of the castle in Country Life magazine, it was bought and revitalised by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in 1925. Hearst, who at the time was having an affair with the actress Marion Davies, spent a fortune renovating the castle, bringing electricity not only to his residence but also to the surrounding area. The locals enjoyed having Hearst in residence at the castle; he paid his employees very well, and his arrivals always created a big stir in a community not used to American excesses. Hearst spent much of his time entertaining influential people at his estates. He is renowned for holding lavish parties at St Donat's; guests included Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and a young John F. Kennedy. Upon visiting St Donat's, George Bernard Shaw was quoted as saying: "This is what God would have built if he had had the money."
Hearst's newspaper empire fell on hard times; the castle was put up for sale but requisitioned for use by British and American troops during the war. Hearst died in 1951 and the castle was bought by Antonin Besse and given to the Governing Body of Atlantic College.
A Map of the Walk from Monknash to Llantwit Beach.