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It's that time of year when things go bump in the night and ghouls roam the streets… Wales is full of crumbling castles and ancient legends, with more than a few originating in Bridgend County. Here are just a handful of truly scary local tales - you might want to leave the light on tonight…
The Lost Village of Treganlaw
Beneath the mighty sand dunes of Merthyr Mawr Warren lies the lost village of Treganlaw (Welsh for 'the town of a hundred hands'). What unfortunate end came to it and its inhabitants is not known, but there is the distinct possibility that it was smothered by the moving sands from the nearby dunes.
Many legends and stories have been woven around the decaying ruins of nearby Candleston Castle, mysteriously positioned in its eerie setting surrounded by stark windswept trees being strangled by the ever-encroaching sand. The truth is that it was not a castle at all but a fortified manor house that once belonged to the Norman family of Cantelupes (Running Wolves).
The Rose and Crown
The Rose and Crown is situated opposite what was once an ancient graveyard with a chapel nearby. The old Celtic village green was given to the community in 1983 by the owners of Nottage Court, specifically for public use.
The Rose and Crown has eight rooms, and because it was and still is a hotel and restaurant and due to the age and history of the building, many unsuspecting visitors have stated that they have encountered ghostly happenings while others have suggested strange events at the dead of night as well as the feeling of being watched.
The spirit of a little boy is known to mischievously roam around the building, making noises and sending objects crashing to the floor. The old clock behind the bar fell to the floor on one occasion yet there was no one in that area. Could this have been the little boy, or just a coincidence of time?
The cellar also seems to attract ghostly activity, with objects vanishing and later being found in different places. A past employee reported seeing the image of a lady wearing an apron and sporting her hair in a tight bun. The Rose and Crown does seem to live up to its reputation as a magnet for ghosts.
The Jolly Sailor
At the other extreme of the town is the ancient village of Newton which was the areas first and natural port discovered by the Romans. It was this closeness to the sea that made it a major smuggler's haunt.
The Jolly Sailor has been associated with ghostly activity for many years.
A burly sailor with rosy cheeks and a wide grin has been seen in the lounge area. He appears to be holding a drink, which could cause bewildered witnesses to retreat at pace from the premises.
A distressed lady holding a baby has been seen on a number of occasions in the corner of the room while the spooky vision of a lady has been seen rushing at speed through the lounge, only to disappear at the blink of an eye.
Are you already busy making a list of ways to keep the kids entertained this Half Term? Well never fear, as Bridgend County is home to a whole range of family-friendly activities and attractions. Read on, you can thank us later!
Search for Bryngarw's Autumn Fairies!
Collect your map from the visitor centre and head out to explore the fairy world... Follow the trail to find the hidden fairy doors and make your own magical nature crown along the way. Once you've found all the fairies, head back to the visitor centre to collect your very own nature fairy wand!
24th October (11am - 3pm) | £3 per child
Meet the Keepers
Don't miss the Nature Keepers Quest, a family-friendly adventure that will have you exploring Bridgend in search of 14 interactive keepers to discover their secrets! Each Keeper is located in an iconic area of the county and is twinned with our Dare to Discover app that comes to life via your smartphone with exciting videos and poems. Did we mention that it's free? bridgendbites.com/nature-keepers.aspx
Get jumping at JumpJam Trampoline Park
Come explore a vast area of trampolines with angled walls, tumble tracks, parkour, stunt zone, height challenge, dodgeball, battle beam, foam pit, 6+ meter climbing wall (to name but a few). All new trampoline and tumble classes start on the 24th of October, plus there are a number of other classes including 'Jump Fit' and 'DJ Jam'
Fat biking the sand dunes
The Merthyr Mawr sand dunes are some of the largest in Europe and legend has it that they appear in the Oscar-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia. Brand new bike hire company Porthcawl Bike Hire are offering guided fatbike tours out over the dunes - a wonderful and unique way of exploring this fantastic landscape. http://www.porthcawlbikehire.co.uk
Hit the waves with Porthcawl Surf
You may not think it, but October is the perfect month for surfing as the sea is it its warmest. Officially one of the top rated surf schools in Wales, Porthcawl Surf offer lessons for all ages, whether you're an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro. http://www.porthcawlsurf.co.uk
This October Half Term you've got the opportunity to join the splendiferous Welsh branch of national music charity Live Music Now, for two hours of creative and musical fun for all ages to celebrate the Roald Dahl Centenary!
'Gloriumptious' LMN musicians, Triptych (Soprano, Piano, Cello) will take you on a phizz-whizzing interactive musical journey through Dahl's world of pure imagination, with songs from and inspired by his delumptious classic children's stories.
Rior to this there will be plenty of hands-on, creative, sensory fun:
- Charlie & The Chocolate Factory - create your own Dahl-inspired cake in the Inventing Room and experience 'Wonkavision'!
- The Twits - make an edible Mr Twit and your own Mr Twit Beard!
- The BFG - Make a dream jar to catch your dreams.
- Matlida - Show your skill with words and make a poster to rival the writing of Mr Dahl
- Fantastic Mr Fox - hands-on sensory fun for little ones in Mr Fox's Wood
- George's Marvellous Medicine - get hands on messy with our marvellous substances, and make your own marvellous medicine!
- James and the Giant Peach - go on a bug hunt, and find some peachy fun!
The event takes place at Gilgal Hall in Porthcawl on Friday the 28th of October.
First child £6.50, second child £5.50, adults £3.50
To book your tickets visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dahlicious-delights-a-family-songs-scones-event-tickets-27631250815
Not long now and it'll be time to dust off your pumpkin carvers and pick your best fancy dress for Halloween 2016. This time of year can be great fun for all the family and below we've listed acouple of the top Halloween family events coming to Bridgend later this month...
Fright Night!, Maesteg Harlequins, 28th October
Do Halloween with a difference, and more than a little fright! Listen to documented facts of myths, legends and ghosts that haunt the local area, followed by two short creepy plays guaranteed to put shivers up your spine. Food will be served and the bar will be open!
Halloween workshop, 28th October
A great events for kids aged 7 and younger, the Porthcawl Pavilion is offering the chance to come and discover the enchanting world of Welsh myth and legend relating to witchcraft and wizardry. Of course, make the effort to dress up and you might just win best costume!
Tickets cost £2.50
Spooky Halloween Disco, 29th October
On Saturday the 29th of October the Porthcawl Grand Pavilion will be hosting a spooktacular disco with dancing, party games and a competition for the best fancy dress costume. Children must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times and the disco takes place between 2pm and 5pm.
Tickets cost £3 (adults) / £6 (children)
PugFest Halloween, 30th October
That's right - the UK's only official pug festival is coming to Action Petz Bridgend on Sunday the 30th of October promising spooky fun for you, your kids and your pugs! Activities will include a doggie dash, bouncy castle, Halloween games and, of course, the Grand Dog Show. Be sure to get your Frankenpugs dressed up for the occasion. 12pm - 5pm.
Tickets cost £5 (adults) / £3 (children)