I love going back home
I miss Aberbargoed – my family still live there and I speak with them nearly every day, but I like to go back as often as I can. It’s a chance to relax with old friends, walk the dog and go to the pub with my cousin. The place looks nothing like it did when I was younger, though. There are some dramatic changes going on in the?valleys of South Wales. Whenever I’m there, there seem to be plush new buildings – and new roads, too. A few times, I’ve got hopelessly lost and had to pull over to ask people for directions.
Wales has some epic driving routes
I wouldn’t call myself a petrolhead, but give me a nippy sports car and a day to spend driving down through Wales and I’ll be happy. A few years ago, I followed the A470, (also called?The Cambrian Way) all the way from Llandudno on the north coast to Cardiff in the south. The part that goes through?Snowdonia?is amazing.?
Every twist delivers another showstopping view – and you’ve still got the?Brecon Beacons?to come."
Some of my best childhood memories are of the Welsh coast
We’d go on holiday to?Saundersfoot, in Pembrokeshire, with my cousin and his family, and stay in a caravan. I’ve got so many fond memories of?Tenby?town centre, the harbour with the row of houses painted in a palette of pastel colours, and the boats bobbing around on the water. Today you can find all sorts of sophisticated cuisine around there, but we’d have chips straight out of the paper by the quayside – and cockles from Penclawdd, which food writers now rave about as a delicacy. We’d sometimes go night fishing ourselves, but we spent more time losing our wellington boots in the sand than catching anything.
I’ve got a firm top-three of Welsh beaches
I’ll always love?Barafundle Bay?in Pembrokeshire, and not only because I like saying 'Barafundle', which is a magnificent word. It’s a perfect, private little beach, hemmed in by sand dunes and pine trees, where you can take the dogs and make as much noise as you want. Then there’s?Three Cliffs Bay?on the Gower Peninsula. It’s as epic as it sounds, with a ruined castle and wooded valley at the top. My third choice is?Tresaith, near Cardigan. When you’re walking the?Wales Coast Path, this fantastic beach comes into view below you, and you can’t resist making a detour to get the sand between your toes – and then nip in to the Ship Inn!
There’s one thing that’s at the top of my bucket list
When I took part in Wales’ Year of the Sea promotional campaign, we did some filming from a light aircraft. Our plane took off from Lake Gwynant in Snowdonia and followed the coastline south, and in the footage you could see porpoises and dolphins playing in?Cardigan Bay. I’m planning to take a boat trip out to get a closer look – we’ve got one of Britain’s biggest populations of bottlenose dolphins out there.