Merthyr Mawr is a wide sandy beach backed by the extensive dune system of Merthyr Mawr warren. The Ogmore river lies to the east, whilst to the west the sandy shore continues to Porthcawl. It's a good choice for a day out, and there's plenty to explore. A P&D car park is pleasantly situated in a wooded glade next to the ruins of Candleston castle at Grid Ref : SS871772 - (Lat : 51.4828°N, Lon : 3.6267°W). It can be reached by following a lane through the village of Merthyr Mawr with its idyllic thatched cottages and ancient church. A small wooden hut houses male and female toilets.
Access to the beach is a walk of about ¾ mile across the dunes of Merthyr Mawr warren, which are a popular training area for runners and local sports clubs. The dune system is a maze of paths and there are numerous possible ways to the shore, 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 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 and dogs are allowed at all times.
Candleston Castle was a 14th century fortified manor house. It's reputedly haunted and was once part of a lost village called Treganlaw, now believed to be buried under the shifting sands. 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.