Maps: Landranger 171 Pathfinder 1148 Start Point GR 099822
A pleasant, but moderately strenuous walk of 16 kilometres (10 miles) starting at Pentyrch, over the Garth to Taffs Well, on to Castell Coch and back to Pentyrch.
Getting there from Cardiff:
By bus: Rhondda Bus Company service no. 136, Beddau / Church Village bus, from Cardiff Central station to Pentyrch village. Ring 01443 682671 for times.
By car: out of Cardiff on the A4119, the Llantrisant road, through Llandaff. About 8 kilometres out turn right onto a minor road past Rhydlafr Hospital then under the M4, and in about 3 kilometres you reach the village of Pentyrch. You may park your car on the road opposite the Pentyrch Village Hall: if in a party you could contact the owners of the hall and ask for permission to park in the car park.
After parking carry on up the road to the right for about 50 metres and then take the first road to the right; go up the hill and take the second left; this is a cul-de-sac and in the right hand corner there is a pathway to the road behind the houses. When you reach this road turn left and immediately after the last house, at the 30 m.p.h. sign, on the right there is a stile into a field which goes up behind the houses; go diagonally right across 2 fields and you will see 2 stiles about 20 metres apart. Over both and the second (waymarked) leads into a metalled road, turn left up this road. At a fork, waymarked in both directions Fford y Bryniau/Ridgeway Walk, bear right. Carry on climbing, over a cattle grid , and you will come soon to another fork in the road. Take the left, waymarked twice, once by a board headed Pentyrch Community Council. Soon the metalled road winds up and to the left to a private house, you carry straight on, now on an unmetalled path; this too is waymarked. As you climb you begin to get lovely views of woodlands, hills, the city of Cardiff and the Bristol Channel. The spires of Castell Coch can be made out to the east. This path leads you to the highest point on the Garth, a trig point, and from here marvellous views in all directions can be appreciated.
Turn east, right, at the top and walk across still enjoying the views, on a good day you will see the Brecon Beacons, continue on this path and at the end, after about 200 metres, you will see a path to the right which will take you down the side of the mountain. Before you start descending look north-east and south-east, in the first direction you will get a fine view of Caerphilly Castle and in the second an equally striking outlook on Castell Coch. The path down is very steep for the first 30/40 metres, but then winds down the hill in less strenuous fashion. When you reach the metalled roadway at the bottom you will find a waymarking and a seat, profit from both. Turn left, carry on for about 150 metres, you will then see a gate (waymarked) on the right going down across a field and into the woods.
Once into the woods follow the path to the left downhill for about 300 metres, this can be quite muddy. Turn sharp right at the first path met, after 40 metres turn left. Through the edge of the woods you will make out some buildings. As you emerge from the woods you will walk between a cattery (a cluster of huts) and a house.
Go straight on here, past a row of houses, the road begins to wind to the left and you will see a pathway to the right going down through a gate and down a short flight of steps. This comes out in a cul-de-sac called Nant-y-Garth. Go straight on to the main road, cross over the main road and turn left down Heol y Nant. On your right is a rugby field, the first, ignore this one. Follow the road to the bottom and turn right into another road. Towards the end of this road you will see a left hand turn into a cul de sac of modern houses (Llys Tripp). At the end of the cul de sac, in the lefthand comer, between 2 houses, there is a pathway leading to the back of Taffs Well rugby club. Go past the back of the club house, out through a gate and turn right. Proceed along the path between the river and the fence around the rugby field and you will come to a footbridge across the River Taff.
This will bring you out in the village of Taffs Well. Turn left and follow the road along to the second pedestrian crossing, cross here and follow the lane opposite upto the railway line, cross the railway line, be careful as the line is quite busy, and go straight on. You will see a pathway between the fencing of 2 factories. Follow this around and you will come to a footbridge over the A470. Bear right as you come off the bridge, go parallel to the A470 to the junction with the main road where you turn left up a hill to the housing estate. Take the first turning on the right when you reach the houses, up past the Ty Rhiw, Community Centre. Follow this road and you will come to a disused railway line with a bridge, cross over the bridge and take the right hand path into the woods, it is waymarked. Follow this path until you come to a waymarked path junction. Turn right, there is a wide path leading to the castle. Halfway down there is a viewing platform; the view from this merits the stop. There are picnic tables by the castle and this would be a good place for a break.
Now fed, watered and recovered, follow the driveway from the castle down to the road, turn right into the village and cross the main road into Market Street. Go straight on until you reach the dual carriageway where there is a tunnel under the road. Go under and you will come out by a white cottage on your right. At the end of the front wall of this cottage is a kissing gate; the path through this leads to the river bank. Turn left and follow the river. You will come to a narrow bridge over the river on your right. This takes you past a farm and to the railway line. Cross carefully and go straight on, up some steps, to the main road. Turn right and continue until you reach a post box. Turn left here into Springfield Gardens. Go straight up and you will see a footpath sign on the side of a house. Turn right into Teamans Row. At the first cottage on the left turn up the drive to a gate. Turn right across the fields to a stile which is to the left of some stables. Over the stile, turn left and follow the field to the top where you turn right down across this field to a fence the other side of which is a short, steep bank onto a pathway.
Follow pathway to the left for about 100 metres. Over the stile and turn immediately right up a hill. When you reach the top keep to the righthand side until you reach another stile. Go immediately into a field. Left again across the field to the woods where you will see a narrow path winding to the right and downhill through the woods. At the bottom cross into the field, go straight ahead up to the hedge where you turn right and walk across 2 fields to a gate which is waymarked. Follow the path to the left around the field which leads to some houses. Cross stile into lane and almost immediately take stile on right, both waymarked. This is a steep path which ends on the main road so care is needed here.
Cross the main road and take stile on left, the path goes downhill across a field to a horse box, pass to the left of this and follow path through to the next field. This goes right over a stream into another field, go straight on (uphill) through another 2 fields. By now you should be near the back of some new, detached houses, just past these there is a stile. The path beyond this goes between 2 houses into the road. Turn left and follow the road round to the main road, turn left again, then immediately right onto another housing estate. Follow the main road of this estate round to the left and towards the end you will see a path with a footpath sign, this will take you to the village hall and your car.
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