St. Brides Major
a friendly and attractive, small village in the beautiful Vale of Glamorgan in
South Wales. Lying approximately three miles south of Bridgend on the
B4265 between the villages of Ewenny
and Wick, it boasts a number of
amenities for the benefit of villagers and visitors alike.
From the roundabout on the A48 take the B4265 to travel through Ewenny and pass the turn-off for Ogmore-by-Sea*; go straight through a set of traffic lights with a quarry on the left, over a cattle grid then pass a quarry on the right. The road bends and twists and you will pass Pant Quarry on the right then see many trees both sides of the road that have been planted to commemorate various events since around 1815 onwards.
Pant, St. Brides Major
As you approach the village there is a slope on the left hand side that is very popular for tobogganing after heavy snow! Cross the cattle grid and follow the road around, then as it narrows the The Fox and Hounds that serves local beers and home-made food is on the left on a sharp bend** and the Village Shop that sells a wide variety of goods and provisions, as well as housing the Post Office, is on the right.
** If you turn right here, the entrance to the car park is on the left and the road leads to the Parish Church of St. Bridget's nearby (it has a very steep slope) as well as to the village school which caters for children up to the age of eleven.
As you travel on through the village you
will pass a footpath entrance to the school and care should be taken in the
morning and afternoon because many children will be trying to cross the road as
well as others alighting/boarding the bus
of Southerndown Road, Ewenny Road and Wick Road is a small green where a Village
Sign depicting the area also records the award of Best Kept Village in 1993.
The War Memorial is also here; the base is made from Sutton stone and the names
of the fallen are on Portland stone. There are also two seats where you
can pass a quiet hour and watch the world go by.
Left photo: St. Brides
Major Church Hall
If you turn right here onto
Southerndown Road you will pass
the Church Hall on
your left (used as a Polling Station at election time) then if you follow the
road to the left you will travel to Southerndown; if you take the right fork and
go straight up the hill you will come to the football field with sports pavilion
and carrying on you will enter Heol-y-Mynydd.
Horse riders following one of the many bridle ways in the area. This is the road from Southerndown into St. Brides Major
If you do not turn off at the village
green but carry on through the village in the direction of Wick and Llantwit Major, you will
that sells fresh vegetables and meat on the right. This is by the village pond where, until
about ten years ago, a pair of swans returned annually and nested,
rearing many young much to the delight of young and old alike. In 1993 the
site of one of the original wells was cleared and a pump restored Whilst
occasionally pairs have been seen on the water none have yet set up home,
although there are many ducks and sometimes geese from the farm. On
the left is
Site of original well used by the villagers
Just before you leave the village, Pitcot Farm, famed for its pork, is on the right and Penuchardre Farm that rears cattle and also provides comfortable and affordable bed & breakfast accommodation for anyone wanting to stay for a few days, is on the left.
Castle-upon-Alun is a small hamlet to the east of St. Brides Major. It can be reached by taking the road opposite the pond (by the Farmers Arms) then turn right at the crossroads, travelling slightly uphill, and the left fork at the next junction.
Alternatively, when travelling from Bridgend take the second turning left after the cattle grid and immediately left again to go along Blackhall Road. Go straight across the crossroads (shown below) and take the next left fork.
Left photo: Looking towards Castle-upon-Alun from Blackhall
going down the hill at the crossroads (left in the photograph above - it should
be noted that this is a very narrow single-track road that widens in parts) you will come to Daffodil Wood (Coed-y-Bwl)
on the left and pass an old
slab footbridge known as Packhorse
Bridge (which is now classed as an ancient monument) on the right.
This was also called Clapper Bridge owing to the sound of the horses and donkeys
hooves on the stone.
Carrying on further, you will come to the ford at Pont-y-Brown.
The River Alun dries up in summer but in winter can be too deep to cross.
The stepping stones here are known as
Stepsau Ddion and many small
children have stood on them to fish for minnows and sticklebacks.
Railway enthusiasts come to marvel at the brick-built arches in the area carrying the line between Bridgend and Barry - a marvellous feat of engineering.
Left photo: Packhorse Bridge,
also known as clapper bridge
you cross the stream (providing the water is shallow enough!) then turn right at the t-junction you will come to the site
of Southerndown Road Station (closed on 23rd October, 1961 and now private premises). Turning right at the junction by Groes Gwta farm (and, after passing
through the cluster of houses, taking the
right fork at the y-junction) will bring you back to the original crossroads.
Turn left to return to the pond or go straight ahead to travel to St. Brides
Major via Blackhall
Farm was once a thatched farmhouse and it may have been the Home Farm of an old
castle. Several stone arches and
relics of an old building survive and it is thought that a Welsh castle of pre
Norman times could have stood in the vicinity.
Graves of the first century Roman-Celtic period containing spears and
daggers have been unearthed in the area.
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