WALK 15: Cefn Onn / Thornhill / Rudry

Maps: Landranger 171 Pathfinder 1148 & 1149 Start Point GR 179837

A very pleasant circular walk, muddy in parts, close to centres of population yet remote and quiet and planned to facilitate a choice of starting points and of distance. If all walk done a distance of 16 kilometres (10 miles).

The walk is divided into 10 sections, with approximate walking times. The suggested starting point is Cefn Onn Park, but alternatives are the Maenllwyd Inn at Rudry or the Travellers' Rest at the top of Thornhill Road. Please note that closing time at Cefn Onn Park varies according to season. The closing time is clearly displayed at the entrance to the park.

Getting to Cefn Onn from Cardiff:

by bus: numbers 63 or 64 from Central Station to Cefn Onn Park;

by train: Rhymney Valley Line from Cardiff Central to Lisvane and Thornhill Station;, from station cross road to Cefn Onn Park.

by car: A469 from Gabalfa roundabout, road to Caerphilly, pass Thornhill crematorium on your left, over roundabout and then first turning on right into Capelgwilym Road. Straight on passing The Old Cottage pub on your left and soon after, left into Cefn Onn car park.

Section 1 (20 minutes approx)

Leave car park by walking underneath motorway bridge and following main path through the park, crossing 2 streams. Carry on until you reach 2 wide gates in close proximity. Through the first then turn right immediately before the second. Then through a cycle prevention barrier, thus out of the park, then immediately left and through a second barrier. The site of Cefn Onn Park railway station (now dismantled) is to your right. Continue walking steadily upwards between park fence on your left and railway line in wooded cutting on your right. Along path and through gate directly in front of you, with a house on your front right. The golf course is on your left. Pass through another barrier and turn immediately left. In about 150 metres after crossing a stream, go up a slight gradient for about 15 metres after the stream and then bear right.

Section 2 (30 minutes)

Continue up hill following obvious path. The structure on your right is a ventilation shaft for the railway line immediately under you. Cross waymarked stile at gate. The path moves off to the left then continues sharp right just before another gate. Carry on up hill passing a second ventilation shaft on your left and take the first left path a few metres further on. Bear to right. At the top the path is crossed by another. Turn right onto this new path. You can now admire the views of Cardiff and Caerphilly from the summit. You are now on the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway. There is a signpost with blue arrows.

Section 3 (10 minutes)

Take left hand path signposted downhill for about 25 metres then turn left onto smaller of 2 paths, following the waymarking, which circumnavigates the disused quarry on your left. Proceed through wood until you reach a large wooden gate which straddles a wide path known as Heol Hir (Long Road). Go through gate.

Section 4 (25 minutes)

Take lower path ahead, NOT path through gate on your right. Descend meandering downhill over hills and past pylons and through a wrought iron gate. Follow this straightforward path which at certain times of the year could be categorised as a stream, and varies from being very narrow to (eventually) becoming a full sized road going on to Llanishen. Continue in a downward direction until on your left is a large sawn-off tree trunk. Take the small concealed path to your left, immediately after the tree, which leads towards the golf course.

Section 5 (10 minutes)

Path follows parallel to fence. Continue through woods, golf course on your right. Path veers away from golf course on reaching open ground. Walk towards pylon on facing hill and cross the stream which marked the end of Section 1.

Section 1 in reverse (25 minutes)

Walk along path back to house and turn right through cycle barrier on your right. Continue along with golf course now on your right and go through next gate. Descend until you come to the 2 cycle barriers again. Through first, immediately right and through second. (If you want to sample further the delights of the park, including a pond, turn right here). Otherwise turn left and continue back through park along path which goes through gate and crosses the 2 little streams, under the motorway bridge and back to the start of the walk.

If you start from Travellers' Rest.

Section 7 (30 minutes)

Leaving the Travellers Rest pub bear left and walk down Thornhill Road towards Cardiff, with the telephone and yellow house on your right. Shortly you will see a public footpath sign on your left. Climb over stile and follow path slightly to the right which leads to and along the fence. Walk to the gate at the edge of the field (this was the old public footpath) but instead of going through it turn left and walk up the side of the field, then turn right and go over new designated footpath fence. The path runs parallel to the farm road and follows the line of trees on the slope of the field. Head towards the trees at right angles to you, cross stream and go over gate. Follow the fence on your right and at corner cut down to bottom of field at 45 degree angle and go through gate onto road. Turn left and walk along road until T-junction. Turn left up hill (Heol Hir) and start ascent.

Section 4 (in reverse) 25 minutes

Walk upwards and past the large sawn off tree trunk on your right (which marked the junction of sections 4 and 5). Continue uphill, pass through gate, past pylons and hills to large wooden gate in front of you at the top of the hill.

Section 6 (10 minutes)

Starting from the gate, and with Caerphilly behind you, walk a short distance to a signposted gate on your right. Follow path straight along Ridgeway Footpath through 4 gates until you pass a farm on your left. Pass through final gate and turn left walking alongside main road until you reach Travellers Rest pub.

Starting at the Maenllwyd Inn

Section 10 (15 minutes)

Leave car park directly opposite the Maenllwyd Inn and go up and over a stile and up a few steps. Continue straight and follow orange arrows until you reach a 5-barred gate (junctions of 8 and 9)

Section 9 (35 minutes)

Follow blue arrow on gate. Go over stile and continue upwards to the top of the hill (Rhymney Valley Ridgeway) until you reach fence with arrow on it. Bear to the left and carry on along footpath as far as a farm, on your right. Go over stile, then cross the road over another stile and continue through gate to junction of Sections 2 and 3.

Section 3 (repeat. 10 minutes)

Section 8 (1 hour)

With gate behind you walk downhill towards Caerphilly following obvious path with the fence immediately on your left. Go up a little slope which bears to the left, take the left path and go through gate. Go straight, resisting temptation to go left twice, When path forks take left path following blue marker. Go through wooden gate and on to road. Turn left. Walk along road and across another road towards picnic site and Rudry mountain. With picnic area behind you follow path to the right over the common and over a stile.

Cross field skirting the edge of trees and climb over a second stile onto a track heading towards a road. Walk along the road and just before it joins another road with houses, take a sharp turn right up through some trees and up over a common on a public footpath. At the top go through kissing gate and walk along with trees on your left. Proceed downhill, bearing right towards houses to the corner of the field, through a second kissing gate and over a stream. Follow the concrete path, known locally as the funeral path, which veers to the left and comes out onto the road opposite the church. Turn right and walk past the Griffin Inn. Turn left alongside the new motel. The path is not obvious here but walk alongside the motel and upwards with a house on your right and motel buildings on your left. The path carries on through a wooden kissing gate. Continue upwards through a second wooden kissing gate and up a short, sharp hill. At the summit there is, to the right, a metal 5-barred gate which marks the start of section 9. However, to complete the walk turn left.

Section 10 (in reverse. 15 minutes)

Walk straight ahead under power cables. Keep right, carry on along path which says "No Horses, please". Further on continue straight, ignoring path with yellow arrow pointing right. Path now forks. Take left option and follow orange arrows. Go down steps and over stile with Maenllwyd Inn facing you.

Lynn Jones and Derek Drew

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