Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes
& local information
Webmaster, Angus McDonald.
Last updated 18/03/02
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Walk from Bryngarw via Bettws and Llangeinor
A challenging walk of 14 miles from Bryngarw Country Park taking in Bettws and Llangeinor the walk follows the route described in the leaflet Garw Valley Community Walk produced by Groundwork Bridgend although it has been varied in places. Footpaths, bridleways, forest and moorland with a couple of ascents. Best walked after a dry spell as some bits can be very damp and pick a clear day as the common above the Garw Valley can be confusing if mist descends. Toilets and refreshments at Bryngarw Country Park. Pubs passed include the Braich-y-Cymmer and the Llangeinor Arms. Payphone near Braich-y-Cymmer pub. Places to stop for a break Bryngarw Country Park, Garw Fechan Woodland Park, Llangeinor Church.
OS Explorer Map 166 covers most of the walk, start at Grid Ref: 905854 (Explorer 151)
For a map showing how to get to the start click here
The Afon Garw babbling its way through the country park
From the car park head through the middle of the Visitor Centre buildings from here the path curves to the left. After 20 yards take the path to the right heading downhill with wooden handrail. On meeting the stream turn left and head along the path. This is the Afon Garw, the name meaning rough. Pass through the oriental garden and turn right by a post with a yellow arrow on red background towards picnic tables. Carry on with the stream on your right, the path entering woodland. At a junction of paths turn right and then immediately left to cross a stile into an open field. Follow the path through the field with trees and stream on your right this bit can be damp. At the end of a second meadow in front of a white house, cross the stile onto the road and head left uphill. (21 mins)
The Oriental Garden in the Country Park
Keep straight ahead by Bradford Cottage ignoring the path to the left. The path ascends with metal handrail and stream on right. Through a metal kissing gate and the path now levels off as it heads through a field. The path meets a barbed wire and green chainlink fence on left, then passes between buildings to emerge onto a road via a rusty kissing gate. A short diversion of 50 yards to the left brings you to the church of St David. Otherwise cross the road and pass the Oddfellows Pub on your right, then turning right down the road with Bettws Service Station on your left. Opposite this on your right note the Sardis Baptist Chapel painted red. Keep down this road walking along the pavement on the right. When the road begins to curve right take the road to the left, Penparcau Road. Where this road ends turn left passing sheds on your right. Just past the fifth shed turn right heading downhill along a path which becomes stony. (42 mins)
A short detour brings you to the Church of St David
At the bottom the path meets a stream. Cross this and continue along the path now uphill and often quite wet. When you get to a house go ahead through or over the metal gate and after 30 yards you meet a road. Turn left down the road and then after 20 yards, right through another metal gate taking the stony path which winds uphill. It is a steep climb but fine views open up to the left. Towards the top of the hill the path passes between mounds and then the remains of some dry-stone wall on left. The rutted track peters out but keep ahead towards the trees on the edge of which you will see a stile. Cross this and take the path through the trees and when the way ahead appears indistinct follow the path to the right continuing uphill. After 20 yards you meet a waymark post on a wide track. Head left along this track which can be very wet and muddy. Where a wide track curves to the right follow it uphill and then downhill to meet another track. Turn left along this one and then cross a stile alongside a green metal gate. Cross another stile to re-enter a forest area. Keep along the metal track which starts to descend ignoring paths off to the left. At a junction with another main track head sharp right and downhill along this track. (1 hr 45 mins)
Left, looking back after the 'steep climb'. Right, along 'another track' looking ahead to the forest area.
After a while look out for a narrower path heading to the left, virtually doubling back in the direction from which you have been coming. Follow this path until you get to a crossing with another path at which point turn right heading steeply downhill to meet another path. Turn left along it for 20 yards and then right down some steps following the blue bridleway sign. There is a stream-bed to your left as you descend. At the bottom the path crosses a narrow wooden footbridge then head diagonally right uphill. You come to a wide track head right, downhill. There is a picnic area to the right, just past a green metal barrier. Leave the track and walk into the parking area. At the far end, following the yellow and green footpath sign, take the narrow path with the stream on your right. (2 hrs 10 mins)
Left, Garw Fechan picnic area. Right, looking back from the hill opposite Braich-y-Cymmer
Cross a wooden stile, then through a metal gate by a house, the path soon becoming a road with houses on left and garden sheds on right. The road meets a junction with the Braich Y Cymmer pub on your left. Turn right and then immediately left to cross an old railway line. The tarmac path now heads steeply uphill with metal handrail. You meet a main road by a bus stop. Cross the road and take the footpath opposite, crossing a rusty metal gate. Go 10 yards to the left down a tarmac path and then head right up an indistinct grassy path, winding steadily uphill. About 30 yards from a wire fence the path curves to the right towards a metal gate. Go through the metal gate and continue to the right alongside the fence until you meet a gate on the right with a track crossing. Go left along this track the track then curves to the right heading uphill. The track passes through a metal gate, then curves to the left uphill, through another gate and onto the common. After 50 yards the track peters out but keep heading in the same direction (roughly East North East if you have a compass) and steadily uphill. As you get to the top views open up ahead and to the right. As you start to descend look to the right where you will see a trackway in the distance heading uphill towards a trig point surrounded by rushes. Aim for this (now heading South) along the trackway which is indistinct at this point. At the trig point take in the views which on a clear day stretch beyond the Bristol Channel. Follow the track now downhill until it meets a wall on your left. Go through a gate and continue along the path. (3 hrs)
Left, Llangeinor Church. Right, resting place by Llangeinor Church.
Go through a metal gate with barn on your left and then pass Llangeinor Church on your right. This is another good spot to pause with benches and fine views. The Llangeinor Arms also offers refreshments. Head down the road until you get to a road junction. Go straight across and in 10 yards take the footpath to the right through a kissing gate. Head across the field just to the left of the right-hand edge to pass a stile with three wooden bars. Keep ahead with the hedgerow on your right. At the end of the hedgerow head diagonally right down towards a metal kissing gate. Go through this and head along the left-hand edge of the field. Cross a wooden stile and then go slightly to the right through the field aiming for a stile just to the left of a prominent corrugated iron roof. This brings you onto a road which you head along, downhill and to the right. (3 hrs 20 mins).
You may see these hounds who do a stirring rendition of Sospen Fach
Go straight across at the cross-roads following the sign to Bettws and passing the Calfaria Baptist Chapel on your right. The road crosses a railway line and then heads uphill. Where the pavement on the left of the road ends, take the footpath to the left and after 20 yards a wooden stile on the right. Aim across the field to the top right-hand corner where the path drops down through the trees to a wooden bridge. Cross this and keep straight ahead across the middle of the next field aiming for a metal gate with stile to its right. The path head uphill alongside a barbed-wire fence on the left. Keep along this path with the line of the ancient hedgerow on your left until you come to a stile by a road. Cross the road and go through a metal kissing gate opposite and turn left down the edge of the playing field. Cross a tarmac parking area by Bettws FC and head down the pavement alongside the road. Just past the blue bicycle sign look out for the rusty metal kissing gate on left opposite the Oddfellows pub which we came through earlier. (3 hrs 45 mins)
Our route now simply retraces our steps from earlier. Go through the kissing gate and head back down the path through the meadow, then with the stream on the left. At the bottom just before the road crosses the stream, go right over the stile and head back through the meadows with stream on left, across the stile at the end and back into Bryngarw country park. (4 hrs 20 mins). NOTE: the leaflet suggests you allow up to 7 hours for this walk.
Map of route - click to enlarge