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Weatherman walks in Wales

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 11:00 UK time, Wednesday, 20 June 2012

I've been out walking with Derek Brockway and the team recently, filming for Weatherman Walking, series 6 which will probably be on TV in January 2013.

Luckily we were blessed with some glorious summer weather as we walked a stunning part of the Carmarthenshire coast along the Loughor Estuary as far as the old harbour at Pembrey, just past Burry Port.

We met some truly inspirational people along the way and if you've not walked, cycled or skated this stretch of coast before, then I highly recommend it.

Views over the Loughor Estuary on a calm, sunny day.

Glassy views over the Loughor Estuary on a calm, sunny day.

It's under an hour from Cardiff by car, just off the M4 and easily accessible by train and bus too.

The Millennium Coastal Park is ideal for walkers of all abilities and it's staggering to see what they've achieved there since 2000, when you consider the whole area was once a derelict industrial site - think Port Talbot being transformed into 'Teletubby land' and you get the picture.

Derek Brockway with local guide Ritchie Powell at Burry Port.

Derek with local guide and wheelchair athlete, Ritchie Powell at Burry Port.

The 10 mile section of park is landscaped with rolling green hills, angling lakes and nature reserves such as the National Wetlands Centre and Pwll Lagoon.

The wetlands area and surrounding salt marshes are very important habitats and home to up to 50,000 waders each winter.

On a clear day you get stunning views over to north Gower and Whiteford Burrows lighthouse which is visible along the walk.

Burry Port was where Amelia Earhart's plane, Friendship was towed to, after landing in the estuary making her the first woman to fly across the Atlantic on June 17,1928.

Our second walk was closer to home as we visited Cardiff Bay to do a circular walk with TV presenter Frances Donovan - complete with Nordic walking sticks!

Frances Cottey tries to teach Derek Brockway the basics of Nordic walking

Frances Cottey tries to teach Derek Brockway the basics of Nordic walking

We began at Custom House in Penarth Marina and walked around the barrage visiting local iconic landmarks - The Senedd, The Pierhead Building, Whitewater Rafting Centre etc.

The new Doctor Experience opens in mid-July and occupies the strangely shaped large blue hangar over towards the Norwegian Church.

Rounding the St David's Spa Hotel we spent some time at the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve - somewhere I'd never visited before.

It's not that big but packs a lot in to a small space - a green oasis surrounded by freshwater and the urban jumble of Cardiff Bay.

The warden mentioned that they have a large number of unusual species visiting the reserve which are not always easy to spot but rare bearded tits and water voles have been seen recently.

Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve

Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve

Warblers are out in force currently including Cett's, sedge and reed warbler as well as reed buntings and wildfowl including nesting great crested grebes.

When the sun comes out the dragonflies and butterflies arrive and it's well worth a walk if you're ever visiting Cardiff Bay.

From here we crossed over the busy road bridge back to Penarth, stopping off at the Whitewater Rafting Centre to film kayakers contorting their paddles, before making our way over the Pont y Werin footbridge to Penarth Marina and Custom House where we began.

If you're a keen walker then the Monmouthshire Walking Festival runs from 22 June to 1 July and is a ticketed event.

The guided walks cover a wide variety of terrains and topics taking in the local flora and fauna as well as hillforts, castles and plenty of stunning scenery - some of which we walked last year. Visit the website for more details.


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