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Newton Beach, Porthcawl

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General details:

Best at low tide, 'though it's quite a walk to the water on spring tides. Watch out for rocks in bay as mentioned below.

Water is fairly flat on inside, especially around low tide - depending on wind direction. Waves & chop get bigger as tide drops: What was flat water in the bay becomes quite wavy about 3-4 hrs after high tide. Where the big waves raise in the bay, there's a reef which often doesn't get exposed at low tide, but can take your skeg off! Beware low spring tides.

Water is usually very churned up further out with chop on chop - making it very bouncy - and further out still, some huge, non-breaking swells. Better to be slightly underpowered and on what seems like too small a board by the beach when it's blowing W or SW. Although it may be a bit of a struggle to get out & back, once out in the chop, swells & the wind, you'll feel you made the right choice!

The rocks along the W side of the beach often throw up a small, nicely peeling wave.

No noticable currents in the bay. Once outside, remember you're in the Bristol Channel with the corresponding strong currents! If you go down in the swells, you're in anything up to a 5 knot current. If you have wind with tide, it can make it difficult to get up & get going.

Below the rocky embankment the beach is sand. You can either scramble with your kit down the embankment or use the slipway at the W end of the beach. There are some boulders scattered around the beach but nothing too serious.

Click the thumbnails for bigger pics...

car park and embakment/rigging area/dog toilet view over bay to Ogmore view to S
car park, rigging area/dog toilet, embankment - looking East Looking SE over the bay to Ogmore Looking S in SW wind. You can just see the windline & the small break on the R
newton beach pan photo
Slightly less-than-perfect panorama of Newton on a spring low tide - rocks clearly showing

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Directions to the right place:

Leave M4 @ Junction 37, follow A4229 towards Porthcawl.

At roundabout after ~3 miles, take 1st exit (Left) onto A4106 (Newton Nottage Road) towards Newton & Bridgend.

At roundabout after 1 mile, take 3rd exit (right) into Newton.

After 200 yds, Left into Clevis Crescent, signposted to St John's church.

Follow this to junction by pub & village green. Go left at jn onto Beach Road by the side of the church. After 300yds, turn left into car park at head of beach. You may have to pay a small parking fee if they are bothering to man the car park.

Update from Jon David - Jan 2011:
At the moment this carpark is free in the winter months.

Click here for location map

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How the winds work:

  • W: beach is v sheltered & gusty but gets progressively better as one heads out into clear air beyond Newton Point & into the channel. Generally flat water in bay.
  • SW is better, giving slightly cleaner wind on beach. Larger waves coming into bay.
  • S-SE good, clean, onshore wind in bay. Big waves in bay.
  • E-NE: Good flat water blasting with wind funelling down Ogmore River. Gusty.
  • N-NW: Gusty, offshore. Not recommended.

For an up-to-the-minute forecast for this area, take a look here.

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Tidal conditions:

HW springs tend to occur around 08:00 - 09:00. HW neaps between 13:00 - 15:30. Huge tidal range - over 11m max.

Can be sailed in all states of tide, however be careful on low spring tides because of rocks and a very long (but achievable) walk to the sea. Avoid sailing spring HW: The sea comes up the embankment making launching/recovery potentially expensive.

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Hazards:

Watch out for dog poo on the embankment/rigging area. Unfortunately, there seems to be a large population of dog owners around here who feel it's perfectly ok to let their dogs crap all over the place & not bother clearing up after them.

Embankment is steep & made from sharp boulders - tough on bare feet. Beach is sandy towards W end except for far W edge of beach which is rocks. There are more rocks/boulders further E along the beach. Not far out into the bay are a couple of buoys very close to each other - about 50-60m East of these, it's rocky - exposed on low tides.

Further E from the car park, heading towards Ogmore, the beach is serious rocks - underwater at high tide. Keep well away! As a marker - when heading back in to the beach when the rocks are covered and you've gone a little too far E of the normal launch, there's a tall post, about 200m down the beach. If you need to head in here, go straight for the beach keeping this post between 10 & 50 m to your left - you'll be clear of all rocks here. You'll see what I mean when you see it at low water.

Pollution Warning:
There is a storm drain (CSO) which empties onto the middle of the beach (the most popular area) near the high water mark. Following heavy downpours (as I witnessed in Sept '03), this storm drain discharges stinking raw sewage onto the beach. DO NOT ENTER THE WATER SHOULD THIS HAPPEN!

Anon update, Sept '05: PLEASE IF YOU SEE THIS HAPPENING REPORT IT TO THE EA - Particularly if it has not been raining much in last couple of days. Number is 08708 506506. The more people who report this the more chance we might get the EA to make Welsh Water remove it. This pipe did not exist prior to 2002. The same goes for all pollution. Its your water and your health.

There are quite a few small rocks/stones in various areas of the beach. Beware if sailling barefoot.

Don't sail at spring high tides - the sea covers the outlet drain & comes up the embankment.

Often lots of debris - trees, tyres, etc in the water, so keep your eyes well peeled!

Watch out for rocks which are seldom uncovered - about 100 - 200m out from spring low tide line - you'll see waves breaking over them if there's any swell coming into the bay. They can take your skeg off. Try to sail to the W side of them (keep W of the yellow marker buoy). 1 - 1/2 hours after LW , they're no problem & the waves they raise can be fun.

To summarise - on low spring(ish) tides (when the sea's below ~2m on Admiralty chart datum), there's only a fairly narrow channel running out from the beach to deeper water out in the bay & Bristol Channel. This channel is about 150-200m wide & extends from the W edge of the beach to just E of the two moored buoys.

[Update from Wayne Thomas - Sept 2005]
Beware car thieves!! I had my car stolen along with +£2000 of windsurfing gear from Newton. Later recovered burnt out in Swansea!!

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Facilities:

Not much to describe here!

Car park - very heavily pot-holed - at top of beach [The pot-holes have just been filled-in! - MF, Feb 2003]. Often free parking.

There's a cafe/shop with toilets on the road across from the car park. It is sometimes open in the Winter - but not often. Very popular for all-day breakfasts.

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B&B's / campsites

Happy Valley - about 10 minutes from Trecco Bay on the main road to Porthcawl from Bridgend on the left hand side.

Update from Sasha - Feb '04:
Great B&B at Newton Beach The Blue Seas Lovely Bed and Breakfast Place and really nice owners ! Ask for "Robin".

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Pubs and eateries

Porthcawl is a long drive back to Bristol when you're thirsty, but surprisingly, we haven't tried any of the pubs yet.

There are 3 in Newton village: The Ancient Briton, The Jolly Sailor (Brains) & The Globe. Not nomadically tested!

We've had reports that the owner of the Buccaneer Bar in Porthcawl itself (who also seems to own the Burger King & the chippy) doesn't like motor bikes. - This just in (Dec '05): "Your report of Sandy Bay Porthcawl regarding Motor Bikes is totally untrue. Please ammend your report. We serve many bikers with Faggot and Peas and Fish and Chips". So there.

Chinese & fish & chips in adjacent caravan park (prob not open in Winter)

Also Burger King and other fast foods on the main Coney Beach just along from Trecco in Porthcawl.

Beale Park Fish & Chips between funfair & harbour

Station Hill Fish bar, New Road.

Sidoli's Fish & Chips at S end of John St. (near Harbour & breakwater).

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Majority of content supplied by . Thanks to Sasha for B & B details - Feb '04, Jon David - Jan 2011, & (presumably) the proprietor of the Buccaneer Bar (Dec '05).

Note: All comments and opinions mentioned in this section of the site are the personal opinions of the various contributors. Inevitably, one person's favourite may be another person's least favourite.

The information provided here is provided in good faith. We can take no responsibility for the consequences of any inaccuracies. Should you find any inaccuracies, then please take the trouble to tell us, using any of the update links.

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