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Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes & local information

Last updated  1.2.06

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Trelai/Wenvoe circular walk

A circular walk from the outskirts of Cardiff which can be started at Trelai Park, near Ely, or Michaelston-le-Pit or Wenvoe. There is a stretch of urban walking but plenty of countryside and woodland as well. You pass the site of a Roman villa, the location where the Welsh Grand National was run for many years, an Iron Age hillfort, a ruined mediaeval church, ancient woodland and the lakes known as the Salmon Leaps. No toilets en route but you pass a pub in Wenvoe and a shop and Post Office in both Wenvoe and Caerau. The going and route-finding are easy. There is a steady climb up Leckwith Hill and the inevitable damp sections after rain. OS Explorer Map 151 covers the walk.

For a map to get to the start in Trelai Park, click here. If starting in Wenvoe you can park by the Village Hall. Parking opportunities in Michaelston are limited - it is probably best to go through the village and park considerately on the road by the Salmon Leaps.

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Orchids and Oxeye daisies on the edge of Leckwith woods

From Trelai Park to Michaelston, 3.62 miles 

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Trelai Park

From the car park in Trelai Park (ST 14460/76304) head diagonally left across the park to pick up a tarmac path which heads right across the middle of the park towards the woods in the distance. This was once the Ely Racecouse and the unmown section of grass is the site of a Roman villa. The path brings you to a metal barrier and a tunnel beyond which takes you under the dual carriageway. The path enters woodland. 100 yards from the tunnel follow the path to the left, running parallel with the main road. 200 yards beyond this and just before the path starts to ascend is a track off to the left which takes you down to the river Ely where you can shelter under the dual carriageway if the weather is poor but you will have to retrace your steps. Otherwise continue on the path to emerge by a road beyond a metal barrier (28 mins, 1.25 miles).

Head right up the pavement of Leckwith Hill. At the top take the road to the right, Woodland Lane. Keep on the lane to the final house, a brick bungalow, where you will see a waymark sign just to the left of the drive to the house. Follow this and cross a stile by a metal gate at the far end to enter a field and then head to the left of the transmitter building towards a gate in the hedge with stile alongside. There are good views from this field with the wind turbines above Bridgend visible on a clear day. Now head slightly left towards the woodland just to the left of the pylon where a stile brings you into the woods. Head down the winding and at times indistinct path to meet a track. Turn right for 20 yards then left along a similar faint path, passing a waymark post, to a stile on the edge of the wood. (ST 15070/74633, 51 mins, 2.23 miles).

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View from stile across the damp field

Now head slightly right across the often damp field, under the electricity cables, to reach a wooden stile in the far right-hand corner of the field. Cross this and head along the right of the field for 50 yards to a metal gate by a waymark post. Cross the gate and head left along the track. The track curves left and then sharp right with pond on right. At this point take the stile on your left which leads through the old garden of the ruined house on your right and a second stile after 20 yards brings you into a field. Head across the field to a prominent tree ahead and cross the stile, then the road and another stile opposite by the Ash tree into another field. Keep ahead with a wire fence on your right. Cross a wooden stile into another field and keep ahead, ignoring a stile on the right, to the end of the field (which can be a bit muddy) to cross a stile by a small metal barn. Turn right then immediately left over another stile to reach a road by some houses.

Turn right passing the houses on your left and cross the stile set in the fence to enter a field. Skirt around the fence surrounding the garden on your left to go though a gap in the hedge with metal gate. Keep left with the houses now on your left heading diagonally downhill to the left of the houses in the distance towards a hedgerow then head left to reach a stile. Cross the stile and head down the left of the field, looking out, after 100 yards, for a bridge on the left. Cross this into another field and head right just to the right of a group of three prominent trees with waymark post. Now head towards the garden of the right-hand house ahead and on meeting the wire fence around it, head right towards the hedgerow where a wooden kissing gate brings you down some steps to a road and head right. (ST 15055/73147, 1 hrs 20 mins, 3.62 miles).

From Michaelston to Wenvoe, 2.27 miles

(If starting in Michaelston head through the village to pick up the route by the Salmon Leaps)

Head to the right along the road - a stream soon appears on the left and then a wider expanse of water known as the Salmon Leaps. The road ascends and just past a white thatched cottage on the right take the metal kissing gate on the left and head down a path with wooden fence on left to reach the lakeside via a metal gate. Head to the right with lake on left, past a stile and gate and the garden of Cwrt-yr-ala house just visible up the bank on the right. At the far end a stile brings you into woodland, the path soon joining a wider track which heads left and then over a low stile to head through the woods with the stream on your left. Cross a stile and then the path starts to ascend to a stile which brings you out into a field. Head diagonally left towards the stile to the right of a metal gate which brings you onto a road. (1hrs 43 mins, 4.74 miles).

Turn right a short way and then left into the farm following the road through the middle of the farm buildings. Head to the right of the new beige-coloured house to enter a field via a metal gate. Head down the field towards the bottom right-hand corner passing under power cables to reach a metal gate - this area can be muddy. After the gate head slightly right towards the tall transmitter in the distance - the boardwalk and stile are just to the left of a prominent gap in the hedge. After this keep ahead towards the gap in the next hedge - an isolated stile becoming visible, a second one just beyond, a third taking you through a hedgerow - you are now crossing the route of the Taff Vale railway - followed by a fourth stile just beyond a wooden bridge in poor condition. The next stile brings you into a field where you should head along the left-hand edge.

Next, two wooden stile set in metal poles. 10 yards after the second stile turn left to cross the stream via a bridge, then head right and continue along a trackway between hedgerows. With the stream on your right, pass a waymark post and just before you reach the road look for a stile on your right which brings you over a stream to another stile. Cross this and head down the tunnel opposite to emerge in a close. Turn right and then left to head out of the close and then right down the road through the middle of Wenvoe passing the Wenvoe Arms on left and village shop on right to reach the village hall by a junction. Station road is to your right. (ST 12212/72930, 2 hrs 5 mins and 5.89 miles).

From Wenvoe to Trelai, 4.41 miles

(ST 12212/72930) From the Village Hall in the centre of Wenvoe head down Station Road West towards the footbridge over the main road and carry on along the road on the far side. After three-quarters of a mile turn right at a T junction and after 30 yards go left over a wooden stile by a gate into a field and head up the field to the top left-hand corner. Cross a stile by a gate and continue along the left-hand edge of the next field. A stile brings you into woodland and a clear path leads to another stile at the far end of the wood. Cross a field to a trackway and turn left along it. (ST 13992/73858, 2 hrs 32 mins,  7.35 miles)

The trackway takes you through fields towards some housing. Negotiate a metal gate and at the track junction go left under a tunnel. Immediately after the tunnel turn right along a road which becomes a track passing the houses on your left and ascending. Just beyond the houses take the footpath on your left which ascends through the trees to emerge in a wide grassy area which is the Iron Age hillfort. Now head diagonally right to visit the ruined church of St Mary. (2hrs 53 mins, 8.4 miles).

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Left, St Marys church now. Right, intact some years ago.

Head back down the road to the church which curves steadily left to enter a housing estate. At a road junction with the sign for Hillfort Close ahead, turn left, continuing down Church road. Pass a shop and Post Office to reach a wide road, Heol Trelai, with a grassy central reservation and head right along it. After half-a-mile the separate carriageways merge.  Continue along the road as it curves left passing Glyn Derw school and then sharper left at Trelai Primary school. After 50 yards turn right down Old School Road, then after 40 yards turn left onto a pedestrian cut-through between metal barriers and head right with a brick wall on your right. After 100 yards as the road curves left, keep straight ahead for 10 yards then right down an alleyway with railings either side. At the end you pass the entrance to Riverbank school and then Woodlands school. Just beyond this to the right is the entrance to Trelai Park and the car park. (ST14460/76304, 3 hr 25 mins, 10.3 miles)

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Map of route