Great news as the number of Blue Flag beaches in Wales increases!
It was in the news yesterday that Wales now has 41 Blue Flag beaches. This is an increase of seven beaches that have obtained international status as beaches with high water quality. Thirty beaches have also been recognised for their unspoiled environments with Green Coast awards. From Prestatyn on the North East coast, across to Anglesey, all the way down Cardigan Bay and along the south coast to Rest Bay, Bridgend you are never going to be too far away from a Blue Flag beach and with another 60 receiving Seaside awards for good water quality your choice of great beaches is wide a far-reaching.
Keep Wales Tidy has developed a Wales Coast App so all the information you could need about our wonderful beaches will be at your fingertips, from tide tables to a facilities checker to the gradient of the coastal path. If you are already staying by the coast and have your location facility enabled the app can be particularly helpful in planning a great day out close by. Smart phones can be incredibly useful sometimes as well as being scarily omni-present and a source of unsettling confusion when left at home (although I do sometimes miss the days before mobile phones!).
It’s not just people enjoying a holiday in Wales which seek out our fantastic beaches but blockbuster filmmakers are also often on the lookout for locations. Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire will no doubt be familiar to many as it was the setting for Shell Cottage, the home of Bill and Fleur Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and a dramatic fight scene for Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. Further up the coast the stunning Marloes Sands played host to Kristen Stewart when filming Snow White and the Huntsman and for those of you who love the classics, head to the Merthyr Mawr dunes (second largets dune system in Europe), on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, to follow in the footsteps of Peter O’Toole as Lawrence of Arabia.
Directors of the small screen love us too with plenty of locations in South Wales popping up in Dr Who and of course Barry Island, home to Gavin and Stacey. The Italianate village of Portmeirion on the North West coast also featured in an episode of Dr Who, but back in 1976, as well as being famous for being the filming location of The Prisoner in the late 1960s. If you prefer your water to be dramatically cascading from rocks instead of in lapping waves, why not visit Henryhd Falls in the Brecon Beacons? Disappear, as Christian Bale did as Batman in the Dark Knight Rises, behind a sheet of white water.
You may not end up in the batcave but the place does feel magical with the glistening darkness and thunder of the river as it drops 88 feet to continue on its wending way. And still they come.. Guy Ritchie and his team were up on Snowdonia recently filming for his new take on King Arthur, due to be released next year. Who the stuntman was acting for we don’t know but he bravely dived 80ft down into a deep, and no doubt rather chilly, pool in the Vivian Slate quarry! So whether you just want to sit back and relax with sand between your toes, feel the drama of the rushing river or walk in the footsteps of the stars the beaches and water features of Wales are difficult to better!