The hid­den gems just wait­ing to be dis­cov­ered

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views - BRONTE HOWARD news­[email protected]­

THE county’s rich his­tory and di­verse com­mu­ni­ties means there are al­ways new hid­den gems for vis­i­tors to dis­cover.

From lesser-known beaches to quirky fur­ni­ture shops to ru­ined cas­tles, there re­ally is some­thing for every­body...

Hi­lary & Iain’s By The Se e restau­rant in Og­more-by-Sea is run by hus­band and wife duo Hi­lary and Iain who serve up freshly cooked meals.

It’s a hit with lo­cals, who praise its wel­com­ing and cosy at­mos­phere, and it’s def­i­nitely worth a visit if you’re head­ing down to the beach for the day.

It’s even been de­scribed as “a lit­tle gem” by one happy diner on re­view site Trip Ad­vi­sor.

The re­viewer says: “Great lit­tle gem. Lovely friendly ser­vice with straight for­ward food cooked well and of good qual­ity. Cheers guys!”

St John’s House St John’s House Trust on New­cas­tle Hill is pos­si­bly Brid­gend’s old­est hab­it­able prop­erty and is likely to have been built when Henry VIII was on the throne at the be­gin­ning of the 16th cen­tury.

The build­ing has been used as a dwelling – eight fam­i­lies lived there in Vic­to­rian times – and also as a busi­ness when boot maker Ed­ward “Ted” Bar­ring­ton oc­cu­pied a work­shop which had been added onto the front of the house in the early 1900s. The ex­ten­sion was de­mol­ished in the 1930s and the house and an ex­ten­sion at the rear were used by St John Am­bu­lance un­til the 1980s.

Ken Hinton, chair­man of St John’s House Trust, has de­scribed it as “Brid­gend’s her­itage gem” and the trust holds reg­u­lar open days where you can look around for your­self.

Adi’s Dessert Bar Adi’s Dessert Bar in Wyn­d­ham Street, Brid­gend is highly rec­om­mended by many of its reg­u­lars.

The fam­ily-run dessert bar serves hot and cold desserts, light lunches and af­ter­noon tea and is de­scribed as “wel­com­ing with won­der­ful desserts”.

On the menu, you can find sweet treats such as waf­fles, crepes and cakes which are topped with ice cream, sauces and sprin­kles – and there’s also a ve­gan-friendly menu.

One rave re­view on­line said: “We owwed and awed over how nice they looked, then we had a lit­tle taster of each other’s or­der. Next we sat in si­lence for the long­est time since we had met. I loved this. I did not leave a drop of ice cream.”

Bang-On Brew­ery This is one for the beer lovers. Bang-On Brew­ery is a mi­cro­brew­ery based in Brid­gend and it cre­ates orig­i­nal, unique and de­li­cious beers. In fact, they’re so good Bang-On has even had Great British Menu fi­nal­ist Tommy Heaney on their or­der list.

Craig Jack­son, the head brewer, is a clas­si­cally trained chef who uses his knowl­edge of flavour com­bi­na­tions and in­gre­di­ents to test the bound­aries of beer cre­ation to make ex­cep­tional beers avail­able in cask, keg and bot­tles.

The brew­ery col­lab­o­rated with a bot­tle shop to cre­ate an ad­vent cal­en­dar which fea­tures beers from around Wales and they launched per­son­alised beer bot­tles with your name (and your face) on them. You can buy their ales from the bot­tle shop at the brew­ery at Unit 3, Brid­gend In­dus­trial Es­tate and can find more in­for­ma­tion on their Face­book page.

Coity Cas­tle Coity Cas­tle is a Nor- man cas­tle built by Sir Payn “the De­mon” de Turberville.

Although the cas­tle was orig­i­nally built soon af­ter 1100, much of the cas­tle dates from the 14th cen­tury and later, ac­cord­ing to Cadw.

Parts were re­built fol­low­ing the siege by Owain Glyn­dŵr in 1404-05 and while the La­trine Tower is closed to the pub­lic, the re­main­der of the cas­tle is open to vis­i­tors.

Parc Calon Lan Parc Calon Lan lies at the top of the Garw Val­ley in Blaen­garw and is the per­fect place to go for a walk, bike ride or peace­ful hike.

The site has been trans­formed over the past few decades, with stun­ning lakes and green­ery re­plac­ing the former pits.

There are also var­i­ous paths, cy­cle routes and moun­tain bike trails to take ad­van­tage of, along with chil­dren’s play ar­eas and a me­mo­rial gar­den.

Peter Wood & Sons Butch­ers in Brid­gend In­door Mar­ket

If you’re look­ing to shop lo­cal, it will come as no sur­prise that Brid­gend’s In­door Mar­ket is a great way to start. In­side, you’ll find var­i­ous mar­ket stalls and shops, in­clud­ing Peter Wood & Sons Butch­ers which first opened in 1972.

The fam­ily-run butch­ers has more than 50 years ex­pe­ri­ence in the trade and you can pick up all sort of meats, as well as homemade cooked ready meals, chut­neys and jams and cheeses.

Can­dle­ston Cas­tle Can­dle­ston Cas­tle on Merthyr­mawr Road was orig­i­nally built as a manor house in the 14th cen­tury by the de Can­telupe fam­ily and re­mained oc­cu­pied un­til the 19th cen­tury. How­ever, it was later aban­doned and drifted into an “ivy-cov­ered ruin”.

The ru­ins of the cas­tle can still be seen to­day and wildlife, in­clud­ing but­ter­flies are known to live in the area.

Ella Ri­ley’s Sweet­shop The fam­ily busi­ness was first started by Brid­gend res­i­dent Freya Sykes-Blet­soe’s great, great un­cles back in 1907 and Ella Ri­ley’s ex­ported sweet treats around the world. Af­ter pro­duc­tion ceased in the early 1990s – Freya and her hus­band Steve Blet­soe bought back the rights to the com­pany and kick-started pro­duc­tion again.

There are shops across the UK, in­clud­ing the Brid­gend shop on Nolton Street, where you can find the clas­sic Ri­ley’s Tof­fee Rolls, a soft caramel tof­fee coated in milk, dark, white or sea salt choco­late.

Wooden Tops Fur­ni­ture

If you pay a visit to Wooden Tops Fur­ni­ture, which spe­cialises vin­tage and retro up-cy­cled goods, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed.

Lo­cated on the Brid­gend In­dus­trial Es­tate, the fam­ily-run busi­ness has been go­ing for more than two years af­ter hus­band and wife Sophia and Matthew Davies gave up their ca­reers in the po­lice force to take on the task of up­cy­cling fur­ni­ture.

Happy cus­tomer Sally Hoy said: “It’s a fan­tas­tic busi­ness sell­ing the most amaz­ing sec­ond­hand fur­ni­ture.

“They also sell ev­ery­thing you need such as paint, brushes, knobs etc to DIY and they’ll even tell you how.

“It’s run by a lovely cou­ple who go that ex­tra mile to give the best ser­vice.

“It’s a real as­set to Brid­gend.”

St Mary’s Church, Coity, and Coity Cas­tle

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