Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Merthyr Mawr, Wales

When most people think of Wales (or Cymru for the locals), people tend to think of the Brecon Beacons, herds of sheep, Gareth Bale, the dragon on its flag, and that lovely place called "Llanfairpwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch". However, Wales is more than just a green wonderland, it's also home to the Merthyr Mawr Sand Dunes (2 and a half miles from Bridgend town in Wales).

The Merthyr Mawr sand dunes are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and are home to some of the largest dunes in the whole of the British Isles, on TripAdvisor (fantastic website) the dunes are known to have some good views, long walks, and a big range of altitudes as some dunes are high and low; however, this does come at a cost, parking is a long walk away, and there are no facilities. Parking charges will apply in certain parts of the year so make sure you pay for parking otherwise you might end up with a hefty fine; I think it's worth it as these are the second highest sand dunes in Europe (the highest being the Dune of Pilat in France). As this YouTube video below will demonstrate:

Courtesy of: Fry1989 License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Merthyr Mawr is part of Wales, which in turn is part of the United Kingdom, and since the United Kingdom is part of the European Union (for now), it is part of the freedom of movement so if you're from Germany willing to come here, you can do so without those hefty visa fees! Wales is one of the 3 constituent countries of the United Kingdom, the other 2 being England and Scotland (Northern Ireland is not a country of the UK, it is a province). Welsh and English are the languages spoken in Wales, however the common trend is that Welsh is more spoken in the North of the country and that English is more common in the South, as the location of Merthyr Mawr is in the South then English is your language of choice; even if these dunes were in the North, most if not all of the people will be able to understand English fluently or enough to get by. Getting into Wales will be a bit of a challenge, if you drive in from the M4 or the M48 motorways in the South, you'll have to pay a toll which is roughly £6 (as of July 2016) and most international flights from long distances come into London so you'll need to drive, catch a train, or fly to Cardiff, and then take a short train, bus, or drive to Bridgend. The whole of the UK uses the Pound Sterling, and so you won't need to exchange your money when you enter Wales.

I will hopefully visit these sand dunes in the future but I hope this article will help you choose another destination for Sandboarding if my previous one on Maspalomas wasn't your place of choice. Please don't be fooled by the photo below as that Merthyr Mawr does have rivers and grassland, I couldn't get a photo that was free-to-use of a proper sand dune.

Courtesy of: Mick Lobb License: CC BY-SA 2.0

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