Porthcawl (/pɔːrθˈkɔːl/, Welsh: [pɔrθˈkaul]) is a town
and community on the south coast of
Wales in the county borough of
Bridgend, 25 miles (40 km) west of the capital city,
19 miles (31 km) southeast of Swansea. Historically part of
Glamorgan and situated on a low limestone headland on the South Wales
coast, overlooking the Bristol Channel,
Porthcawl developed as a coal
port during the 19th century, but its trade was soon taken over by
more rapidly developing ports such as Barry. Northwest of the town, in
the dunes known as
Kenfig Burrows, are hidden the last remnants of the
Kenfig Castle, which were overwhelmed by sand about 1400.
2 Holiday resort
3 Local attractions
3.2 Harbour Quarter
Porthcawl Comprehensive School
4.2 St Clare's School
4.3 St John's School
Nottage Primary School
4.5 West Park Primary School
Porthcawl Primary School
4.7 Newton Primary School
5 Musical establishments
7 Scheduled Monuments
8 Newton village
13 Notable people
14 Air crash
16 External links
Porth is a common Welsh element, here it means harbour, but the second
element is disputed. Local tradition states that cawl is a corruption
of Gaul, and that the area was an ancient landing point for Gaulish
and Breton, or later Frankish and Norman knights. A modern, if
unlikely, interpretation is
Porthcawl is a holiday resort in South
Wales and is home to a large
static caravan park known as Trecco Bay, which is owned and operated
by Parkdean Resorts. It has an extensive promenade and several
beaches, two of which[which?] are Blue Flag beaches: a
tourist-oriented beach at Trecco Bay, at the east end of the town; a
sandy beach at Rest Bay, which lies to the northwest of the town; and
the quiet and sandy Pink Bay leading out towards Sker Point where a
tarmac-covered car park serves a sandy beach.
There are many hotels (including the prominent Seabank Hotel) and
guest houses as well as a funfair called Coney Beach. Four rocky
points line the shore: Hutchwns Point [sic],
Porthcawl Point (on which
a lighthouse stands), Rhych Point and Newton Point.
Porthcawl, like many British resorts, has suffered a decline in its
holiday trade over recent years, especially since most of the South
Wales Valleys coal pits closed. A major feature of the summer was the
miners' fortnight, when large numbers of miners took their annual
Tourist attractions in the area include sandy beaches, a grand
pavilion, a funfair named
Coney Beach (modelled on
Coney Island in New
York), a museum and three golf courses.
Built in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee,
Porthcawl's promenade runs along the seafront from Lock's Common in
the west to the harbour, before joining the Eastern
Coney Beach and Griffin Park. The promenade was restored in
1996. There are many cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels along the
promenade, which offers views across the Bristol Channel.
The Grand Pavilion, built at a cost of £25,000 in 1932, is the venue
for popular shows, including the annual pantomime. The singer, actor
and civil rights activist
Paul Robeson once performed 'live' at the
Pavilion via a transatlantic telephone link.
Controversial luxury flats now dominate the seafront on the site
previously occupied by the Esplanade Hotel, which dated back to the
late 1880s. The Royal Society of Architects in
'Esplanade House' a Welsh Housing Design Award in 2006, but the
architecture has proved unpopular with many local residents who have
nicknamed it "the bottle bank".
Porthcawl Lifeboat Station, purpose-built in 1995, is situated near
the harbour. The station operates an inshore B class Atlantic 85
lifeboat and a D class IB1. 'Cosy Corner' is a park area, which
over the years has housed a theatre, cinema, roller skating rink and
ballroom. The Jennings Building, built in 1832, is a grade II listed
building and Wales' oldest maritime warehouse, and is currently
vacant. The building has been identified as a potentially important
facility as part of the
Porthcawl Regeneration Strategy.
At the end of
Porthcawl Pier stands a white lighthouse built in 1860.
The lighthouse is currently in use as a navigational aid. Porthcawl
Lighthouse was the last coal and gas-powered lighthouse in the UK. It
switched to being powered by
North Sea gas
North Sea gas in 1974, before becoming
powered by electricity in 1997. The pier and surrounding area are
popular spots for sea fishing.
The historic ships the PS Waverley, the last seagoing paddle steamer
in the world, and the
MV Balmoral sail from this area during the
There are 6 schools in Porthcawl: 4 primary schools, 1 comprehensive
school and 1 private school.
Porthcawl Comprehensive School
Porthcawl Comprehensive School on the western side of the town has
approximately 1,500 pupils, ages 11–18 and 80 teaching staff. The
headteacher is Mr. A Slade. Both
Ruth Jones and
Rob Brydon attended
this school. The Chairperson of the Governing body is Mrs M. Carlson.
Porthcawl Comprehensive School is the only school to have received a
new Band 1 assessment  in the
Bridgend County from the Welsh
St Clare's School
St Clare's School, Newton is an coeducational independent school,
located in the village of Newton (an eastern part of Porthcawl), in
Bridgend County Borough, South Wales. The school provides preparatory,
secondary and tertiary education leading to GCSE and A-level
qualifications. Originally a
Roman Catholic girls' school, the school
is now owned and operated by the
St John's School
St John's School was a coeducational independent school, located in
the village of Newton. The school provided preparatory, secondary and
tertiary education leading to GCSE qualifications. The school closed
at the end of July 2014
Nottage Primary School
Nottage Primary School is a state school located in Porthcawl. It
provides education for ages 3–11 and is currently participating in
the Foundation Phase.
Nottage Primary School is a large primary
school, with approximately 500 pupils, surrounded by extensive
grounds. It has a conservation area and is in the process of building
a pond. It has a large outdoor play area and a sensory garden. There
is an outdoor classroom which is used for a range of activities.
West Park Primary School
West Park Primary School is a state school located in the village
Nottage, Porthcawl. The school was built and opened for teaching in
1971 and has since been extended to incorporate the growing needs of
the surrounding area and community. The school has been awarded the
'Eco-schools Green Flag' and the 'BECTA ICT excellence award'.
Porthcawl Primary School
Porthcawl Primary School is a state school located in Porthcawl. The
school is a mixed school for boys and girls between the ages of 3 to
11 years which includes a Foundation Phase Area admitting pupils of
Newton Primary School
Newton Primary School is a state school located in Porthcawl. The
school is a mixed school with approximately 235 pupils on role.
Porthcawl Male Voice Choir, or Côr Meibion Porthcawl, is a male
voice choir formed in 1980 with 17 members. The choir currently[when?]
has 45 members. Each year the choir performs with a celebrity guest,
the latest of whom was Leslie Garrett.
Porthcawl has seven beaches.
Beach on the eastern edge of
Porthcawl is a long sandy and
rocky beach, backed by the Newton Burrows and
Merthyr Mawr sand dunes,
a designated Site of
Special Scientific Interest, and ending at the
mouth of the
River Ogmore at Ogmore-by-Sea. Newton
Beach and the sand
dunes are popular with walkers and horse riders. The beach is popular
with windsurfers, jet skiers and power boat users.
Trecco Bay is a large, sandy and rocky Blue Flag beach. Trecco Bay
holiday park is situated alongside the beach.
Sandy Bay, with the area in front of the fairground known as Coney
Beach, is a large sheltered and sandy beach. The beach has lifeguard
cover from May to September and the water quality is rated as
excellent. Sandy Bay is popular with families who can enjoy donkey and
pony rides on the beach, alongside other facilities such as
trampolines and bouncy castles and the adjacent
Coney Beach Fun Fair.
Sandy Bay is also popular with surfers. Sandy Bay hosts the ever
popular Christmas morning swim where hundreds of swimmers, many in
fancy dress, have braved the waters on
Christmas Day since 1965,
drawing in thousands of spectators and raising thousands of pounds for
Seafront Beach, also known as
Town Beach, is a rocky beach in the
Porthcawl which was partly tarmaced over in the 1980s to
repair sea defences. Swimming is prohibited at the beach and
conditions are only suitable for experienced surfers due to the tides
and sharp rocks.
Rest Bay is a sandy
Blue Flag beach
Blue Flag beach situated in the west of Porthcawl.
It is a very popular for water sports, especially surfing. A 'surf
cam' shows live conditions from Rest Bay 24-hours-a-day. A lifeguard
station overlooks the beach which is patrolled by lifeguards during
the summer months.
Pink Bay is a quiet beach, 15 minutes walk from Rest Bay that has a
steep pebble bank down onto a flat beach edged by a rocky shoreline.
These rocks have a unique pink marbling effect – hence the name Pink
Beach is the most westerly beach in
Porthcawl and is accessible
only by walking from Rest Bay or
Kenfig National Nature Reserve. Its
remote location makes it one of the quieter beaches in Porthcawl. A
plaque, in memory of the 47 lives lost on the S.S. Santampa, capsized
and wrecked in heavy seas, and the
RNLI life boat which
attempted rescue on 23 April 1947, is visible at low tide. At very low
tides wreckage is still being found.
Five rocky points line the
Porthcawl shore: From east to west these
are Newton Point, Rhych Point,
Porthcawl Point, Hutchwns Point and
There are three Scheduled Monuments in
Porthcawl Community area.
including a prehistoric site and a Roman Villa.
Hutchwns round barrow (51°29′06″N 3°42′35″W /
51.4849°N 3.7098°W / 51.4849; -3.7098 (Hutchwns round
barrow), SS813776) Only partly surviving mound of a
Bronze Age round
barrow, It is near a public par and a modern standing stone has been
placed alongside it.
Dan-y-Graig Roman villa (51°29′21″N 3°40′18″W /
51.4893°N 3.6717°W / 51.4893; -3.6717 (Dan-y-Graig Roman
villa), SS840780) This Roman villa, a rare feature in Wales, dates
mainly to 3rd-4th centuries and is in Newton. The site includes
agricultural buildings. It was partly excavated in 1985-86.
Nottage Court Inscribed Stone (51°29′24″N 3°42′02″W /
51.49°N 3.7005°W / 51.49; -3.7005 (
Nottage Court Inscribed
Stone), SS820781) A Roman milestone with 3 Latin inscriptions plus
Ogham Its current location is in a garden at
moved there in the 19th century, from SS763890, now Port Talbot
Newton village dates from the 12th century. St. John's Church, founded
by the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem 800 years ago,
and originally built as a fortress, overlooks the village green.
The Jolly Sailor pub, the oldest in
Porthcawl and the Ancient Briton
pub also overlooks the green.
To the south of the church lies St John's Well, the water from which
is reputed to have healing properties.
Newton village is home to St John's School, an independent day school
that has been in the village since 1921. Newton is also home to St
Clare's School which is also an independent day school.
Town Carnival takes place annually in July. A procession of
themed floats and acts make their way around the town, collecting
money for charity, and competing for the prize of best float. The
procession makes its way to the carnival field where there are stalls,
a fun fair and live acts to be enjoyed.
Porthcawl Jazz Festival is held annually in April hosting a
variety of musical performances, workshops and family events over a
Surf Cult runs for a week in September. Events include surf contests,
music, art, fashion and film plus an outdoor market. The festival ends
with the legendary Surfers' Ball.
The Elvis Festival runs every September, attracts Elvis tribute
artists and devotees from across the world, and is the biggest
gathering of Elvis fans in Europe. The Elvis Festival was selected as
one of the UK's top twenty summer festivals by
The Times in 2008.
Other festivals include the
Nottage Beer Festival and the Porthcawl
Porthcawl is one of the top locations in
Wales for surfing with both
national and regional competitions held at Rest Bay.
Other alternative sports like skateboarding and rollerblading are also
popular with the former PADS skate park by the Harbour and the new
bowl park off Heol Y Goedwig.
There are three golf courses to the north of the town including Royal
Porthcawl Golf Club, which attracts players from around the world.
Porthcawl is home also home to football side
F.C. which boasts a 1st, Reserve and 3rd team as well as numerous
junior teams. Rugby also has a rich heritage with
Rugby Union team
Porthcawl is also home to lifeguard clubs that train the lifeguards
Coney Beach and Trecco Bay as well as Rest Bay and Sker
Porthcawl hosts a free weekly
Parkrun at 9am each Saturday. It starts
on the Lower
Promenade in front of the Grand Pavilion, heads out to
Rest Bay and finishes near the Pier.
Porthcawl waterfront is proposed for substantial regeneration as part
of the 7 Bays Project. The Planning Guidance outlines proposals that
will result in the comprehensive regeneration of Porthcawl's
waterfront, stretching from Cosy Corner and the harbour in the south,
to Trecco Bay in the east. The plan includes the construction of new
sea defences, enabling regeneration of the area to take place and also
protecting more than 440 existing properties from flood risk.
The first phase of Porthcawl's regeneration,
was launched on 28 March 2008. A 17-acre (69,000 m2) site has
been marketed to developers for a substantial mixed use scheme. The
scheme is envisaged to include a new foodstore, extra retail space,
leisure and community facilities, up to 450 houses/flats, a new
promenade, town square and car parking.
The scheme forms part of the 7 Bays Project for
Porthcawl and the
first phase in the regeneration of the whole waterfront. The
regeneration project is one of the largest of its kind in the country.
Road - the A4229 road links the town to junction 37 of the M4 motorway
Bus - First Cymru's X2 service runs every half an hour to Cardiff
Central via Bridgend,
Cowbridge and West Cardiff.
Rail - the nearest station is Pyle, although
Bridgend railway station
is the nearest mainline station. Porthcawl's own railway station at
the top of Station Hill closed in 1962.
Air - the nearest airport is
Cardiff Airport, 23 miles (37 km)
away, which offers scheduled domestic and international flights
Porthcawl railway station in 1946
See Category:People from Porthcawl
Jan Anderson (actress)
Cliff Davies (rugby player)
Robert East (actor)
Anthony G. Evans
Jason Hughes (actor)
Harry Jones (rugby player)
Jack Lewis (footballer born 1912)
Rhys Lloyd (cyclist)
Helen Morgan (field hockey)
Nick Ward (musician)
On 11 February 2009, two RAF
Grob Tutor training aircraft collided
over the area, one landing in
Kenfig and the other landing in Margam.
Two instructors and two teenage air cadets died in the incident.
Town population 2011". Retrieved 7 November 2015.
^ Turner, Robin. "How did the Welsh place where you live get its
name?". Walesonline. Mirror Group.
^ Rose, Steve (2007-01-31). "It's just so tacky". The Guardian.
London. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
Porthcawl Lifeboat Station
Porthcawl Regeneration Strategy
Porthcawl Comprehensive School website Archived 2010-01-25 at the
^ "BBC". School banding shows best and worst performers in Wales.
2011-12-08. Retrieved 03/01/2012. Check date values in:
Nottage Primary School". Nottageprimary.bridgend.gov.uk. Retrieved
^ "Home Page ::
Porthcawl Primary School, Porthcawl, Bridgend".
Porthcawlprimaryschool.co.uk. 2013-04-16. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
^ "Homepage". Newton Primary School. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
Porthcawl Male Choir, South Wales, Welsh Male Voice Choirs".
Porthcawlmalechoir.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
^ coflein NPRN: 307249. GGAT PRN: 00194m . Cadw SAM: GM103: Hutchwns
^ coflein NPRN: 403307. GGAT PRN: 00218m. Cadw SAM: GM587: Dan-y-Graig
^ coflein NPRN: 307251. GGAT PRN: 00038m. Cadw SAM: GM040: Nottage
Court Inscribed Stone
^ rcl. "Welcome".
Porthcawl Jazz Festival. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
Town Athletic FC".
Town Athletic FC. Archived
from the original on 2012-02-27. first1= missing last1= in
Authors list (help)
Porthcawl Lifeguard Club".
Porthcawl Lifeguard Club.
Porthcawl Regeneration Scheme
^ "Current Timetables South & West
Wales FirstGroup plc".
Firstgroup.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
^ "Four die in mid-air collision in Britain". iol. 2009-02-11.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Porthcawl.
Official tourism guide to Porthcawl
"Porthcawl: from industrial port to holiday resort". BBC. 20 July
Bridgend County Borough
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Towns and villages
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings