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

Last updated  8.2.10

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A walk in Rhondda

A moderate circular walk of under 7 miles, 11 kms, starting in Ton Pentre in the Rhondda Valley. The walk starts with a steady ascent of 347 metres or over 1,100 feet, a flattish section in the middle before descending back to Ton Pentre. You walk over or near several Rhondda collieries but there is little evidence of them now other than the grassed over waste tips and the walk is mainly rural. Click for more on social life in the Rhondda and its transport. The route-finding is easy but be prepared for hill-walking. The going is mostly good but the section in woodland may have some puddles after rain. No facilities en route but there are shops in Ton Pentre. Grid References are shown for key points on the route along with height above sea level in metres and distance walked. Route checked and updated 7/2/10.

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It was 11th April 1877 when water flooded into the Tynewydd Colliery at nearby Porth. 14 men were trapped. 5 were drowned, 4 were released after 18 hours and the remaining 5,  shown here, were rescued after 9 long days. Looking surprisingly well despite their ordeal they are, from the left, John Thomas, George Jenkins, David Hughes - only 15, Moses Powell and David Jenkins.

Start either by taking the train to Ton Pentre or by parking considerately at the top of Maindy Crescent - for map, click here.

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View of the start taken from the end. Our path goes past the transmitter. Iron Age camp top left of picture.

If walking from the station, cross the bridge and turn right into Maindy Road by the Spar shop. After a few hundred yards turn left into Maindy Crescent which ascends. At the top of Maindy Crescent the road becomes a bridleway (SS 96819/95424). As you reach the last houses the track curves left through a metal gate - follow the Loops and Links waymarks. Continue to ascend with views gradually opening up to the left and behind. If you look across the valley to the left you can see our return path descending diagonally down the hillside from a gap between trees. Pass a transmitter on the right and metal gate on the track and on the small hillock ahead is an Iron Age Hillfort, known as Maendy Camp, although the ditches are not easy to see through the bracken. Go to the left of the fort, following the path alongside the fence to the left to skirt the steep hillock ahead which you pass on your right passing two metal gates on the way. Alternatively go straight ahead over the hillock. Whichever way you go the track levels with views opening up to the right. Down in the valley to the right would have been the Parc and Dare Collieries. The track descends towards the road, passing a stream, then a post with waymark sign saying ‘Sky to Sea’. Some 30 yards before the road where there is a green metal barrier you meet a metalled track. (50 mins – SS 94026/94513, 447 metres, 2.3 miles)  

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Left, looking down on Cwmparc. Right, the valley of Cwm Dar with the crags of Graig Fawr.

Turn sharp left by the stone pillar to head along this track which winds steadily uphill. On a clear day you can see across the Vale of Glamorgan and the Bristol Channel to the West Country. In the valley to the right are Nantymoel and Price Town which had the Western and Wyndham Collieries. You pass a small pool on the left surrounded by large stones – a suitable stopping point. Further on ignore a junction to the left heading towards the trees, keeping on the main track by a Loops and Links stone pillar. The track eventually approaches the trees and crosses a small stream. It becomes less metalled and more grassy. Keep ahead with the wire fence on your left - there is a parallel stony track the other side of the fence - following the broad green but slightly rutted track. Pass a trig point on the left with stone cairn – you are now at 517 metres above sea level and can see the wind turbines ahead in the distance. The track starts to descend. Keep alongside the wire fence until you come to a wooden stile on your left which you cross. (1 hr 25 mins – SS 95379/92430, 501 metres, 3.9 miles)  

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Left, small pool by the path. Right, cairn and Trig point.

From the stile head slightly left for 10 yards to join a track which you follow into the trees. After 50 yards keep ahead when you cross a trackway. 200 yards further on you come to another track – turn left along this (SS 95669/92539). The track is fairly level at first, then descending gently. Where the stony path forks, go right along the main path. The views then open up to the right and you cross a stream to meet a broad metal track by a stone pillar. Turn right along this broad track for 30 yards and then left on a rough narrow track through a gap in the trees to meet a wooden stile in a wire fence with views down to Ton Pentre. (1 hr 46 mins, SS 95855/93744, 454 metres, 5 miles).  

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Left, frosty path through the forest. Right, view from the stile back to Ton Pentre.

Cross this stile and then head diagonally right to follow the path which descends on the right-hand side of the valley, Cwm Cesig,  – this was the path you saw earlier. Near the bottom of the valley, as you approach a track, look towards the left-hand edge of the line of trees in the valley ahead where you should be able to make out a stile which we shall be heading towards. This area is Bwllfa, the location of another colliery. Turn right along the track and after 10 yards turn left by a waymark sign to drop down into the valley. The path meets a stile which you cross and then turn sharp left to descend to the stream with wire fence on left. Cross the stream by a wooden footbridge which brings you to an area with bench and information panel about Bwllfa farm. Go through the metal gate, then head to the right parallel with the stream and fence on your right but walking on the grassy bank above the bracken and towards the stile you noted earlier. Don't be tempted by the path which curves off to the left - the stile is just to the left of the trees at the bottom. (2 hrs 5 mins)

Cross the stile and then aim ahead to the right hand edge of the plantation on the hill opposite. The church opposite with large tower is St Peters in the town of Pentre. Pass a waymark post, cross a stile, then another waymark post to meet the road. Head down the road in the same direction and then right at the T junction heading downhill (Dinam Park Avenue) to meet the main road opposite the Public Library. Turn left along this road until you meet Maindy Road on your left and then Maindy Crescent or keep straight on to get back to the station. (2 hrs 25 mins, 6.6 miles).

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Map of route