Merthyr Mawr is a sandy beach backed by the extensive sand dunes of Merthyr Mawr warren. The beach and sand dunes are bounded to the east by the Ogmore river whilst to the west the sandy beach continues to Porthcawl. Parking is at a P&D car park pleasantly situated in a wooded glade next to the ruins of Candleston castle - a 14th century fortified manor house which is reputedly haunted. A small wooden hut houses male and female toilets. The car park can be reached by following the lane through Merthyr Mawr village, with its delightful thatched cottages.
Access to the beach is a walk of about a ¾ mile across the dunes of Merthyr Mawr warren, which are a popular training area for joggers and local sports clubs. The dune system is a maze of paths and there are numerous possible routes to the beach, but the main route is waymarked. It's thirsty work on a hot day, so bring plenty of drinks. The largest sand dune in Europe, known locally as the Big Dipper is just to the south of the car park. Alternative access to the beach is by wading across the river from the car parks at Ogmore, which can be done at low to mid tide. Swimming is generally safe away from the river. Dogs are allowed at all times.
It's a good choice for a day out, as there's plenty to explore and there are some good walks locally. Nearby Ogmore castle is a short walk away from Merthyr Mawr village, the footpath crossing the Ogmore and Ewenny rivers by means of a small suspension footbridge and stepping stones.