WALK 9: Cwm Cynon and Cwm Clydach

Maps: Landranger 170 Pathfinder 1129 Start Point GR 079955

A mildly strenuous walk of 13 kilometres (8 miles) which starts with a gradual climb up the side of the valley giving magnificent views, proceeds along the ridge and then drops down into Clydach Vale. A riverside walk by the beautiful Clydach is followed by a woodland climb back up to the ridge, over it and back to the starting place.

Getting there from Cardiff:

by train: from Cardiff Central to Abercynon North on the Merthyr line or Abercynon South on the Aberdare line. Both stations are very close to the Sports Centre which is the start point for the walk.

by bus: Shamrock buses Aberdare service from Central Station to the Thorn Hotel, Abercynon. Ring 01443 404477 for times. From the hotel continue north-west and join the walk by taking the first turn left, leading to the lane upto the cemetery.

by car: out through Whitchurch onto the A470 and then in about I 7 kilometres at a large roundabout left onto the A4059, the Aberdare road. In about 2 kilometres turn left downhill to Abercynon. The Sports Centre is signed, to the left, just before the railway bridge.

From the car park cross the footbridge over the railway, bear left up the footpath on the other side and climb through a gap in the houses to the main road. Cross this and turn left and then right fairly soon up a steep slope to a tarred lane which climbs gradually to the right. This levels off after a while and should be followed to the gate of the cemetery. Do not enter the cemetery but climb the (way-marked) make-shift stile to its right and follow the path alongside the wall and climb another make-shift stile at the next cemetery gate. Cross the road here and continue alongside the wall and into the wood. After 150 metres the path bears diagonally up the hill to the left, follow it to climb the stile at its end. Bear right up the hill until a stream crossing becomes clear. Cross the stream and keep a fairly level route via a stile and some rough ground, crossing several other streams and passing the corner of a wall on the left until some crags can be seen ahead and above. Approach the foot of these and a stile will be found leading to a path passing immediately below them. Keep along the wall on the right until, with a barbed wire fence on the left, the path goes through a gap in the wall. Soon after the wall a narrow path goes off to the left. This section can be slippery, care should be taken here. Follow the path, keeping above the slope, until a space in the wall on the left for a field gate, now fenced across, is reached. Bear right downhill on a track.

Descend until another track is encountered and turning left on to it climb up through some trees to the recently landscaped Bryntirion tip. Follow the path to the left of the tip up to the road at the gate, then cross the road to a stile and follow the path to the right until another stile takes you back on the road. Follow the road left until the Mountain Ash-Ynysybwl road is reached. Turn left and shortly right along a pleasant country road and follow it, crossing a cattle grid and keeping to the tarred road until it ends at Gelli Wrgan farm. Walk past the farm and go through a gate straight ahead into a green lane. Follow this down as it bears right and drops to meet the river.

Reverse direction and follow the riverside path downriver, shortly crossing by a footbridge to the other bank. Continue down the riverbank until a road bridge crosses the river. Here climb a track onto the road, turn right up the hill, and after 40 metres take a footpath to the left. Follow this, crossing a stream, until a forestry track is reached. Turn left down this, cross the river and walk up the other side into the wood. Here a rough track joins from the left. About 15 metres further, on the right, take a narrow path into the wood. Keep a level course until a stile at the edge of the wood is reached. Turn left before the stile and climb a steep path up the edge of the wood to reach a black track. Then follow tracks and paths with the boundary to the right until you reach the road.

Turn right along the road, passing the junction with another road coming from the right, and taking a right angle bend to the left. After a few more bends a public footpath sign will be seen where there is some rough ground to the left and a stile. Follow the way-marked route to the third stile, there bear right and cross a stream. Then turn downhill to reach what should be a familiar stile, and reverse the first part of the route to return to the starting place.

Valmai Hamilton

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