Let’s move to Porthcawl, South Glamorgan

What’s going for it? In another life, Porthcawl might have been Tenby. Instead it found itself, in the 1820s and 1830s, on the receiving end of horse-drawn rail carts pumping iron and steel out to the empire. This might give the impression that the place today is some kind of post-industrial horror show, haunted by slagheaps. Not a bit. Porthcawl might have been born in the industrial revolution, but it soon shook off the coal for the end-of-the-pier show, becoming the holiday sweetheart of the valleys. This might also give the impression that the place today is some kind of post-package-holiday zombieville, haunted by desolation. Not a bit, either. Porthcawl has scrubbed up well. The town today trades on the very reason holidaymakers once swarmed here: its bracing position on craggy bluffs, its delicious sandy coves. Surfers brave the waves, twitchers lurk in the nature reserves, golfers suck in the sea air, and, once a year, 30,000 Elvis impersonators get all shook up. It’s not the new Brighton or the last Margate. It’s Porthcawl, and proud of it.

The case against I shall not lie. Porthcawl has had its demons, and still has the air of a place hunting for a purpose. There is a strange split in the town, with most of the east taken up with the vast Trecco Bay estate of mobile homes; the twain meet, but on uncertain terms.

Well connected? Ish. The nearest mainline trains are a 15-min drive away at Bridgend, with two or three an hour to Swansea (35 mins), or four an hour to Cardiff (20-30 mins). Driving: the M5 is 10 mins north, with Swansea 35 mins, Cardiff 45. You can be in the Brecons in 45 mins.

Schools A royal flush: all the town’s schools are at least good, says Estyn, including primaries Porthcawl, Newton and West Park and Nottage, and Porthcawl Comprehensive.

Hang out at… You can’t beat the fish’n’chips at Beales (boy, have I tried). The Prince of Wales in Kenfig is a good boozer.

Where to buy West is best. There’s a lovely knot of avenues at the heart – Park, Victoria and the like – with Victorian and Edwardian town houses and semis. North and west: suburban leafiness. Nottage and Newton have nice village hearts. Detacheds, £220,000-£1.2m. Semis, £150,000-£450,000. Town houses, £300,000-£400,000. Terraces, £130,000-£300,000. Rentals: one-bed flats, £400-£600pcm; three-bed houses, £600-£900 pcm.

Bargain of the week Five-bedroom period town house in the centre by the sea, £249,950 with peteralan.co.uk.

From the streets

Liz Beech “The Wales Coast path has great scenery. When there are storms, you see photos on the news of dramatic waves hitting the Lighthouse and Lower Promenade. The area’s great for surfing.”

Allan WilliamsHome Colonial deli is truly scrumptious. Monknash’s Plough Harrow is an ancient Camra pub with a fire and yummy food.”

Live in Porthcawl? Join the debate below.

Do you live in Buckfastleigh, Devon? Do you have a favourite haunt or a pet hate? If so, please email lets.move@theguardian.com by Tuesday 31 March.

Article source: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/mar/27/lets-move-porthcawl-south-glamorgan-wales