VALE residents have an opportunity to prove some well-travelled judges have missed an obvious coastline jewel when they vote for Barry’s special places.

A national contest to reveal Wales’ top special places will see Barry Island aim to claim the ultimate crown.

Research conducted by National Trust Wales reveals the places we grew up are officially the most special to people in Wales.

The study showed places of natural beauty and where we can escape stresses of everyday life as also rating highly in making a place ‘special’ to us – and that people feel most special when they’re out with the family than with anyone else – as part of a survey of more than 1,000 people across Wales.

More than three-quarters of people - 78 percent - also agreed that they feel happier when they’re outdoors above anywhere else – and a similar 76 percent chose the beach and countryside as their favourite places to escape.

The research was conducted to launch the conservation charity’s Special Places summer campaign, aiming to start a national conversation across Wales to find the country’s top Special Place.

The campaign is running in partnership and supported by other major Welsh organisations such as Visit Wales, Cadw and Cynnal Cymru.

Famous faces backing the campaign include National Poet for Wales Gillian Clarke, opera singer and broadcaster Wynne Evans and TV presenter Alex Jones.

Barry residents are urged to back their own special places which include Barry Island, Barry Docks and Neil's Point.

As part of the campaign, the National Trust has enlisted a panel of official Special Places judges, a mixture of travel and heritage experts who will spearhead the campaign and call on the public to join in and help get their own top places in the shortlist and to become the ultimate winner.

Each judge will whittle down the nominations down to a shortlist of ten – with voting re-opening in the lead up to the National Eisteddfod where the winner will be revealed.

Judges include TV wildlife presenter Iolo Williams, travel journalist, broadcaster & TV presenter Simon Calder, and broadcaster Roy Noble as well as heritage and travel groups including Visit Wales, Cynnal Cymru and Cadw.

The panel is urging the public to submit their votes via Twitter, online, or by filling in a voting slip at National Trust places – ahead of them meeting to decide on a top ten shortlist of places to put out to public voting for a final time.

The winning place will be given help and support by the Trust and other partners to preserve it for the community – ensuring the country’s most favoured spot remains unspoilt for all to enjoy.

The Special Places nominations phase runs until Sunday, June 29.

To vote, via Twitter, use #lleoeddarbennig / #specialplaces @NTWales