WALK 5: Caerphilly Mountain

Maps: Landranger 171 Pathfinder 1148 Start Point GR 155852

A short but fairly hilly walk of about 5 kilometres (3 miles), with fine views and a variety of scenery.

Getting therefrom Cardiff:

by bus: Nos. 70 or 70A or 71 or 74 from the Central Station to the top of Caerphilly mountain.

by car: out of city on North Road, at Gabalfa interchange onto A469, Caerphilly road, out of city and up Caerphilly mountain, You will know when you get to the top!

Park in the lay-by at top of road over Caerphilly Mountain (A 469), near hot dog stall.

Start at the road junction where Watford Road meets the A469 about 20 yards south of the lay-by. Take the rough track leading south, away from the lay-by. Follow the track around the left of Garn Llwyd house, until, just before the first electricity pylon, a waymark post indicates the route of the Ridgeway Path,

Turn left down a steep bank to a stile. Cross the rather boggy valley through a field with numerous drainage ditches. The best route is to skirt around keeping to the left, reaching the opposite side of the field at the point where a small stream leaves the field by a gate. Stay close to the right hand side of the next field, go through a gateway and head to the opposite corner of the next field at the gate of Cefncarnau-fach farm. Do not follow the Ridgeway signs through this gate, but double back to the right, following a bridleway where the line of an ancient road is just visible.

In the next field the path curves to the right and then crosses a pretty stream coming down through an old grove of trees. Shortly after this the track becomes clearer, with the pleasant Cwm Nofydd valley to the left. After passing the ruins of Cefncarnau-fawr farm. turn right onto a path which can be difficult to find, especially when the brambles are high. It starts behind the first telegraph pole after the ruined farm building, passing through the trees at the top of the small, rather overgrown bank. A clear path is soon visible, leading to a stile. Follow this track, keeping the hedge to your right as far as the top of the hill.

At the top the path leads out into an open field looking down onto another part of the boggy valley crossed earlier. Head across the field to a stile at the far end of the hedge on the left hand side of the field. From this stile, a stone barn is visible at the bottom of the valley, at the opposite end of the field. Head for this barn, but do not be in a hurry to cross the stream; there is a small bridge just before the barn.

To the left and behind the barn is a gate. Go through this and keep to the hedge at the bottom of the field. After two stiles together the Black Cock Inn is visible. Head for this building, crossing into the car park. This is the half way point, and a convenient resting spot - or alternative starting point for the walk.

Take the road to the right in front of the pub for about 500 metres to Ty Nant bungalow. Bear left up a track with the familiar yellow Ridgeway waymarks. At the next waymark post, where the open countryside starts, either follow the Ridgeway route to the right, or for the more adventurous, go left and continue upwards to the top of Twyn Garwa, where the view is well worth the small climb, before turning round to head back to a road junction to the right of a white house. The numerous small pits in this area are old coal workings - this is the point where the coal that lies under the valleys comes to the surface.

Continue to follow the Ridgeway signs, crossing the road near the road junction and heading uphill bearing just to the right of the track to the white house. There are several routes to the top of Caerphilly Mountain; the easiest is to follow the Ridgeway route until a well worn, wide track leads to the left, heading directly to the summit. From the top turn around and head back to the starting point by going back downhill and turning left until you reach the main road.

Mike Kohnstamm

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