LOCKDOWN hit TV viewers are being offered the chance to travel along the Wales Coast Path from the comfort of their own living room – calling in on locations stretching from the Carmarthenshire-Pembrokeshire border to the western-most tip of Gower.
ITV Good Morning Britain presenter Sean Fletcher will be meeting some of the many amazing characters who live and work along the 870-mile route which runs from Flintshire to the Severn Bridges.
His journey in south-west Wales takes in highlights from Pendine Sands to Worms Head with stops to collect cockles in Ferryside and a visit to a community project on Gower.
The six-part series Wonders of the Coast Path was filmed by ITV Cymru Wales before the Covid-19 lockdown began. It will be broadcast in Wales from 8.30pm on Monday 27th April.
It will then be broadcast across the UK on the ITV network during the summer.
Says Sean: ‘It’s vitally important that everyone follows government guidelines and stays at home, but in these difficult times this series can hopefully provide a bit of virtual escapism.”
“We have the most beautiful and diverse coastline in the world, waiting there to be explored and enjoyed by everyone when we are past this and the time is right.”
Sean’s first stop in Carmarthenshire is Pendine beach where he finds out about a legendary land speed record duel between Malcolm Campbell and Welshman John Parry-Thomas in the 1920s.
And Parry-Thomas’ car ‘Babs’ is brought back to Pendine to run along the sands once more.
Babs’ present day owner Geraint Wyn Owen tells how his father dug up the racing car from dunes on the beach in 1969.
It had been buried there after it crashed, killing Parry-Thomas during his record attempts.
Geraint explains: “He came down with my uncle and cousin and dug a great big hole.
“Bits of the car were terrible. Bits of the car weren’t so bad. Being buried for 42 years in saltwater wasn’t the worst of it. It was the accident damage.”
Geraint tells how his father, Owen, got permission to recover and restore Babs. He had the basis of a running car within two and a half years.
Sean goes on to do some beach digging for himself as he learns how to collect cockles in Ferryside.
Veteran licensed collector Brian Jones demonstrates the backbreaking strength needed to work the beds.
“I don’t go to the gym. This is my gym out here,” says the 66-year-old who has been collecting cockles for over half a century.
“No membership. Just get a licence and come out and do the work.”
On Gower, Sean calls into the Murton and Llanrhidian based community project, Down to Earth. Here he sees how people with learning difficulties, physical disabilities and asylum seekers learn new skills through eco-building and enjoy what the coast has to offer.
He also walks to the end of Worms Head with National Trust warden Kathryn Thomas.
Emphasising the need to check tide times on the journey, she warns: “You should never under-estimate the walk to the Worms Head.
“It’s about a mile but there’s a lot of scrambling involved.
“You have a five-hour window of opportunity, two and a half hours either side of low water and if you get it wrong, you’re stranded there.”
“You can’t risk swimming through it because it would just take you away.”
Using the latest drone camera technology, Sean’s camera crew capture both the hard work involved in getting to the end of Worms Head – and the fantastic views along the way.
Jonathan Hill, Executive Producer of Wonders of the Coast Path explains: “In these difficult times when people aren’t allowed to enjoy the great Welsh coastline, this series offers a wonderful escape to some of the most spectacular places along The Wales Coast Path.
“What really enriches this series are the fascinating characters Sean meets during his journey from north to south. I hope that once the restrictions are lifted people will get a chance to discover the wonders for themselves.”
The Carmarthen Bay and Gower episode of the series is due to broadcast on Monday 25th May at 8.30pm.