Millennium Coastal Path
Millennium Coastal Park, Llanelli (Sustrans 4) 13 miles approx.
A superb mostly flat, well surfaced and easily accessible coastal traffic free route that follows the stunning Carmarthenshire coast, along the route of the Wales Coast Path for a distance of approximately 13miles approx. from Bynea in the East to Pembrey Country Park in the West.
There is so much to see and do along the way, with wildlife, places of interest, viewpoints and refreshment stops, so why not take your time and enjoy the experience to the full.
You start at Bynea car park, from here you cycle across a bridge and onto the Millennium Coastal Park, follow the route as it passes along the Loughor Estuary, a site of international environmental importance, keep an eye out for birdlife that frequents the estuary, the views are spectacular as the path overlooks the Gower Peninsular. Continue along the path and you’ll reach the Wetlands Centre, a bird sanctuary where you can view and learn about the various birds that live along the coast, they even have a flock of Pink Flamingos!
Continue along the coast until you reach the discovery Centre at North Dock, an information centre and cafe, with toilets and ample parking. Continue along the coast until you reach Pwll, the Pavilion is great for tea, and on further to Burry Port Harbour, a picturesque stop.
Continue around the harbour and on to Pembrey Country Park, where you can try skiing on the dry ski slope, tobogganing or walk in the woods. Cefn Sidan beach is over eight miles long and a great place to walk or build sandcastles.
Parking: Bynea, The Gateway Resort, Llanelli Wetlands Centre, Discovery Centre, Festival Fields, Burry Port Harbour and Pembrey Country Park.
Cycle hire: North Dock and at Pembrey Country Park Ski Centre.
Refreshments / toilets: The Gateway Resort, Llanelli Wetlands Centre, Machynys Golf Club, Discovery Centre at North Dock, Pwll Pavilion Café, Harbour Light Tearoom at Burry Port Harbour, Pembrey Country Park.
Highlights: The wildlife and the views!
For families especially, but also those who prefer a more gentle pace, the route has been divided into four short self-contained sections. You can start at either end or combine sections.
Loughor to WWT
Loughor Bridge to the Wetlands Centre, Penclacwydd (4 mile return trip)
The route follows the estuary edge from the eastern end at the Blue and White Pont y Bacas bridge over the road and railway at Bynea to the Wetlands Centre at Penclacwydd. As you descend to the boardwalk you can see Brunel’s railway viaduct over the river Loughor and as you travel alongside Morfa Bacas look out for the wildlife on the estuary sandbanks including herons and egrets and buzzards circling overhead. The North Gower village of Penclawdd (famous for its cockles, lava bread and salt marsh lamb) is visible on the opposite bank and as you proceed along you can enjoy spectacular views of the Gower coast. There are plenty of places along the route where you can stop, sit and enjoy the views and see and hear wildlife.
Getting there: A frequent First Bus service 110 runs between Swansea and Llanelli via Bynea where you can join the coastal park over Pont y Bacas. You can park at the car park at Bynea (just off the roundabout), at the Gateway Resort or at the Wetlands Centre itself. There is a frequent train service but the station at Llanelli is not very convenient for this particular section of the trail.
Facilities: The Gateway Resort is located at the eastern end of the trail (with an access to it) and has its vehicular access from the A 484 roundabout. There is free parking, and as well as providing meals and refreshments, it has a swimming pool and children’s adventure playground available to the public. For details see www.gatewayresort.co.uk or call 01554 771202. The Wetlands Centre at Penclacwydd allows free parking and entry for food and refreshments (pay entry and obtain refund). The centre itself has a huge range of wildfowl in its lagoons and many activities to enjoy in its grounds, for which there is an entry charge. For details see www.wwt.org.uk or phone 01554 741087.
Note: On the very high spring tides the section near the boardwalk at Morfa Bacas can be covered for a short while.
WWT to North Dock
Wetlands Centre, Penclacwydd to North Dock, Llanelli (7 mile return trip)
The route continues westwards passing the Wetlands Centre to Machynys Point skirting the Jack Nicklaus Golf Course and along the coast for the remaining two miles to North Dock, Llanelli.
As you travel towards Machynys Point you can enjoy fine views of the North Gower Coast including Llanrhidian Marshes, Llanmadoc Down and the spectacular Whitford Burrows, with its historic cast iron lighthouse. The estuary at all tides and light conditions is a fantastic backdrop to the shoreline with frequent places to stop to sit and enjoy the views, wildlife and ambience.
Continuing towards Llanelli along the shoreline you cross the River Lliedi near the former tidal dock entrance and arrive at North Dock. The Discovery Centre includes tourist information, ice-cream kiosk, café/restaurant and toilets. The amazing promenade gives access to Llanelli beach and includes viewpoints and many features and sculptures along the way.
Getting there: A frequent First Bus service 110 runs between Swansea and Llanelli via Bynea and Llwynhendy. It has stops around one mile away from the trail at both the Wetlands and Llanelli end. You can park at North Dock or at the Wetlands Centre itself. There is a frequent train service to Llanelli, where the station is about 1/4 mile from the trail at Seaside near North Dock.
Facilities: The Wetlands Centre at Penclacwydd allows free parking and entry for food and refreshments (pay entry and obtain refund). The centre itself has a huge range of wildfowl in its lagoons and many activities to enjoy in its grounds, for which there is an entry charge. For details see www.wwt.org.uk or phone 01554 741087. At North Dock there is pay and display parking and facilities at the Discovery Centre including a cafe/restaurant with terrace overlooking the promenade and an ice-cream kiosk.
North Dock to Burry Port Harbour
North Dock Discovery Centre Llanelli to Burry Port Harbour (7 mile return trip)
At North Dock, you can enjoy Llanelli beach and fine views of the estuary and across to the North Gower Coast including Whitford Burrows and its historic cast iron lighthouse. The Discovery Centre itself includes tourist information, ice-cream kiosk, café/restaurant, toilets and cycle hire. The amazing promenade gives access to the beach and includes spectacular viewpoints and many features and sculptures along the way.
The route follows the promenade for ½ mile then climbs over the landscaped railway landbridge up to the Needle Sculpture vantage point with fantastic views of the estuary and Gower and (behind you) to Sandy Water Park (where it connects to Llanelli town centre and the Swiss Valley Cycleway). The picturesque lake provides seating and lakeside places for feeding the ducks and swans and leads to the Sandpiper pub/restaurant on the opposite side.
The trail then runs for two miles passing the Festival Fields site and car park towards Pwll, with more landscape sculptures and fishing lakes ahead, passing the Pavilion Cafe, and on to the seafront to Burry Port with its harbour, picturesque marina, beach and lighthouse. It was here that Amelia Earhart landed in 1928, the first woman to fly the Atlantic, with a memorial on the east side by the lifeboat station. Here you can rest and enjoy the harbour or cross to the nearby town.
A short walk past the marina on its western side leads to the lighthouse with fantastic views of Gower and the estuary at all stages of the tide. To the east beyond the yacht club lies Burry Port beach and its caravan park.
Getting there: A frequent First Bus service 110 runs between Swansea and Llanelli which runs via Bynea and Llwynhendy. It has a terminus around one mile away from the trail at the Llanelli end. Service X11 runs between Llanelli and Carmarthen via Burry Port and Pembrey. There is car parking at North Dock, Festival Fields and at Pwll along the way as well as at Burry Port Harbour. There is a frequent train service to Llanelli and Burry Port, where the station is about 1/4 mile from the trail at Seaside near North Dock, Llanelli and a similar distance from the trail at Burry Port Harbour.
Facilities: At North Dock there is pay and display parking and facilities at the Discovery Centre including a cafe/restaurant and ice-cream kiosk. There is a long-stay pay and display car park at Festival Fields (access from A 484) and further along the trail is the Pavilion Cafe where you can also park. At Burry Port Harbour there is parking, the Harbour Light Tearoom, toilets and ice-cream / soft drinks sales and in the town a selection of shops, cafes/restaurants and pubs.
Burry Port Harbour to Pembrey
Burry Port Harbour to Pembrey Country Park
Burry Port Harbour with its jetty and lighthouse forms a picturesque backdrop to the estuary, with views of the coast of North Gower and Whitford Lighthouse. Previously famous for Amelia Earhart's landing there in 1928 (the first woman to fly across the Atlantic), Burry Port has recently enjoyed a substantial regeneration from its industrial past with the cycle trail, marina and harbour development. A short cycle past the marina on its western side leads to the lighthouse with fantastic views of the Gower and the estuary; to the east beyond the yacht club lies Burry Port beach and its caravan park.
Travelling west past the old Pembrey Harbour and skirting the dunes you can enjoy an amazing experience of estuarial wilderness. Although not suitable for swimming, try paddling, for the estuary abounds with wildlife both in and out of the water.
Continuing along the trail, you will then enter Pembrey Country Park and its network of roads and cycle paths to access the beach and its many other attractions.
Getting there: Services X12, 195 and 196 run between Llanelli and Carmarthen on the A484 via Burry Port and Pembrey. There is a frequent train service from Llanelli to Carmarthen via Burry Port and Pembrey. The bus stops and railway stations are about ¼ mile and one mile from the trail for Burry Port and Pembrey respectively. There is car parking at Burry Port with short-term parking on the west side and long-stay on the east side of the harbour. At Pembrey Country Park, there is some pay and display parking just outside the park entrance, with a charge for motor vehicles to enter the park.
Facilities: You will find the Harbour Light Tearoom at Burry Port Harbour, toilets and ice-cream / soft drinks sales and in the nearby town centre a selection of shops, restaurants and pubs. Pembrey Country Park has a full range of attractions including cafés and a visitor centre, Cefn Sidan beach, miles of cycle trails, dry ski slope and numerous activities during the year.
Millennium Coastal Park Path
Start: Bynea or Pembrey Country Park
Total Length: 22km
Difficulty Rating: ungraded but would be green easy if graded
Estimated time: 2 hours each way