I’ve spent a lot of time running along the beaches and cliffs of the Heritage Coast in South Wales – At least the part I live near which has given me the idea to map a half marathon route from Marcross beach to the river mouth at Ogmore by Sea and back. Mainly as I wanted to see if I could – I find this a pretty good reason for doing anything.
About the route
This is a half marathon trail course I have run myself in sections plenty of times. As it is a trail the exact distance run may me over or under 13 miles by a significant amount so bear this in mind.
The route takes in both beach and field/grassland running and the beauty of it is that you can run these in different combinations according to taste.
The overall route runs from the carpark at Marcross beach (next to the lighthouse) and along the Heritage Coast to the rivermouth at Ogmore by Sea and back.
If the route on the google map is followed then you will first traverse the rocks and sand of coast as far as Witches Point in Southerndown before climbing up to the top of the point before following the trail to along the cliffs and then the pathway to Ogmore Beach. You will then return along Ogmore Beach and along the same path back to Witches Point where you will, instead of running the beach path run along the top of the cliffs all the way back to Marcross.
Of course if you wish to run the beach on the return journey or indeed the cliffs on the outward journey you can mix and match according to taste. You can reverse the whole thing starting at Ogmore by Sea, running to Marcross and then returning.
Much of the beach part of this run is dependent on tide times. It cannot be run at high tide and I would recommend running it an hour or so before low tide if you wish to maximise time on the beach. You can run the whole route along the cliffs never touching the beach at high tide.
Warnings – The tides here are the second highest in the world and can catch the unwary out. Always know the tide times before you set off and give yourself plenty of time to get off the beach before the tide comes in.
The route takes you over rocky beaches and care must be taken, slow down on the rocks, although loose rocks and pebbles look solid they often shift underfoot. Some of the smoother paved looking rocks are great to run on when dry but when wet or covered in weed they are treacherous, no matter the grip on your trainers you will slide and fall so slow down. My general rule of thumb is that the darker the colour of the rock the more slippery it is. Stay clear of the cliffs as rockfalls are common.
Part of the route has you running along cliff tops – show common sense and stay away from the edge. The cliffs are unstable at the best of times and rockfalls happen frequently. Be aware of your surroundings and watch for changes in the path direction as it does come within a few feet of the edge in places.
There is often livestock in the fields, give it a wide berth, especially when new born and young animals are present.
You will be a fair distance from help if you suffer an injury so carry a mobile phone. The weather changes quickly at times and extra clothing is recommended for the cliffs section as the wind is much stronger up top.