Author Topic: Rhymney valley Ridgeway  (Read 647 times)


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Rhymney valley Ridgeway
« on: 23:15:07, 01/03/19 »
Yesterday I got home from doing this 28 mile circular route. I started on Ystrad Mynach and walked from the hospital (had an MRI scan on my ankle, had some odd looks turning up with a full back pack) towards Hengoed where I met the trail.

Wednesday was a really nice day weather wise, it was strange walking in a t shirt in February!

For the first few miles the trail is a well tarmacked path which is part of a cycle network but just after penallta park it turns of through some fields. For a while it was a mix of field and roads until Llanfabon near Nelson were it heads up in to the hills. This area reminded me a lot of walking the uplands in Brecon, a vast open area with nothing growing above a foot tall.
The signage was nonexistent in this area so need to keep an eye on the map!

As you walk across the top you can see down in to the villages seeing traces of their industrial pasts. After a while you will drop down to the edges of Caerphilly (not after having some great views of the 2nd largest castle in the UK) before heading back up towards Caerphilly mountain.

Because I started late in the day I stopped walking when I reached the top of twyn garwa, this is where I setup camp for the night, I only saw 1 dog walker and a group of mountain bikers from 5pm onwards.

It did get cold over night and much colder than forecast but luckily I had a spare fleece. There were a few good things about pitching where I did, there were great views over Caerphilly and in the morning the mountain snack bar was only a 10 minute walk away! Hot breakfast bap of sausages, gammon bacon and egg plus coffee for 3.95 was a great way to start the day!

Day 2 was a 16 mile day because of the late start on day 1. Right from the start it was the polar opposite to the first day the rain was relentless up until around 1/2pm but that doesn't bother me, not just the weather but the landscape changed as well, no longer was it the Brecon beacons esq landscapes but more forest trails. The paths were hard stone trails or tarmac for most of the day even after getting up Machen mountain, the path didn't get nicer in fact I'd say it got worse. It was so rutted and damaged from 4x4's, quads, scramblers etc that it was not possible to walk with stepping between the ruts. There were more reminders of the old mining industry with old tips dotted and quarries dotted around. The tips have been play things going back many years, I remember riding my mountain bike down them as a child, lots of people go off roading on them too.
After a little open section above Machen it's back in to the tree line for a while again trying to walk along very badly damaged tracks, this whole stretch felt a lot bleaker than the areas I passed in day 1. Soon I was off badly damaged tracks and back on concrete, my feet at this point we're craving something soft to walk on after around12 miles of solid path ways. When you start dropping in to maesycwmmer there was some relief walking in fields but was short lived because the trail then goes in to a housing area, before finally making its way to the old viaduct. Crossing this marks the end of the trail for me taking me back to the train station to get me home.

All in all a good trail, but very poor signage in several areas. It's does showcase the area for all the good and bad there is.
If you've got 2 days and you are looking for a trail in the area I'd say it's worth it


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Re: Rhymney valley Ridgeway
« Reply #1 on: 18:25:41, 09/03/19 »
Nice report Dan

I walked half of the trail a few weeks ago, we parked at Energlyn and Churchill Park station in Caerphilly to get the train to Hengoed and walk back.
Unfortunately what I hadn't factored in was that it was a rail replacement bus due to engineering work, By the time we'd worked out where the bus stop was we'd missed it and had to wait an hour for the next one :-[  Sat in Costa in Caerphilly for a bit before returning and catching the bus. We walked the section you did on the first day only cut back down to the station after Mynydd Meio making it about 12 miles for the day.

I'm hoping to go back soon to do the other half of the loop.

I enjoyed the bit I walked, the valleys are a good place to visit for me when the weather isn't so good and I don't won't to be up as high as the Brecon Beacons/Black Mountains.

Illegal off road seems a real problem in the valleys, I was at an outdoor centre in St Gwynno Forest recently, trail bikes are an issue up there too.

Enjoy every sandwich


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Re: Rhymney valley Ridgeway
« Reply #2 on: 00:42:36, 27/04/19 »
Trail bikes have always been an issue sadly, even back when I was growing up the 20 odd years ago.

The valleys have their own unique charm to them. There is always a reminder somewhere of the industrial heritage.

Hope you get back and finish it soon !