WALK 6: From Upper Boat

Maps: Landranger 171 Pathfinder 1148 Start Point GR 105872

A pleasant, fairly easy walk. with lovely views, steep ascents and descents, of about 8 kilometres (5 miles). Can be muddy in parts.

Getting there from Cardiff:

by bus: No. 132 Rhondda Transport Maerdy service from Central Station to Upper Boat.

by car: out of Cardiff by the North Road and onto A47O at Gabalfa interchange. About 7 kilometres along this road off on the A4054, signposted Rhydfelin. Along this road to the Upper Boat Inn.

Park on side road giving access to the Upper Boat Inn. Go under the bridge carrying the A470 and go up left towards Tesco. Cross the small roundabout. Go up the slope and look right for a path leading upwards and right to the Taff Trail, which was the trackbed of the old P.C.N., the Pontypridd - Caerphilly - Newport Railway.

Go right and south-east along the Trail to a bridge (GR 115868). Turn right just after the bridge and go up to cross it. Turn right into a metalled lane and follow it up to its end, where you strike up fairly steeply along an often muddy bridle path, continuing upwards on a concreted farm track to another road (GR 870122).

Turn right along the road and bear left into the hamlet of Groeswen, with its postbox dating from Victoria's reign and its giant and ornately furnished graveyard. "Groeswen" means "white cross" and it is tempting to take refreshment at the inn of that name.

Immediately beyond the pub, look keenly left to locate a half-hidden stile into a field. Go right to the ruined barn. Here you will pick up the first of some Ridgeway Path signs.

Follow the signs carefully upwards along the edges of fields, emerging eventually onto moorland. The wide swathe of cleared and flattened ground marks the route of the high-pressure main bringing North Sea gas across Britain.

The Ridgeway turns eventually to a trig. point (GR 115883), and a little further on, the hill drops away sharply. Head steeply down a path towards a shack in the corner of a field. The foundations on your right used to support an isolation hospital. Nowadays this spot is used for clay pigeon shooting.

Cross the cattle grid in the road and turn left along the fence, descending steeply over the tussocks. Tread gingerly as you negotiate the ill-defined path down through some trees to another road. You have left the Ridgeway now.

Turn left and continue to another cattle-grid near farm buildings. After the grid enter a field where the footpath sign points right.

Go down to a footbridge, enter another field and take the central stile. Thereafter public footpath signs will guide you down through some beeches to the Taff Trail. Turn right to meet the path back to the small roundabout.

David Ingram


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