WALK 9: RHYMNEY VALLEY RIDGEWAY AND NORTH CARDIFF CRAIGS

This walk through mature beechwoods and hidden cwms has stunning views across Cardiff and the Bristol Channel, as well as over the Rhymney Valley to the north.

Getting there from Cardiff:
by bus: from Central Bus Station services 70, 70A, 71 and 72 can be used. Get off at Watford Road.
by car: north out of Cardiff, past the castle along North Road and out towards Caerphilly by going over the Gabalfa flyover and through Birchgrove along the Caerphilly Road. Up Thornhill, past the Crematorium and on the top of Caerphilly mountain turn right off the road to park behind the Mountain Top Snack Bar.


From Caerphilly; Mountain car park take a footpath northeast from the back of the car park and follow it until you are walking along a track with a boundary on the right, There are good views of Caerphilly with its castle to the left. Keep along the boundary on entering a wood and then along the ridge, ignoring paths to the left, until the path drops down to join a forestry track. Turn right along this and then immediately left. Follow this track until it bears left with a gate visible ahead. Turn right, just before the gate, and keep straight on passing tracks to the right. Follow the path as it bears left down an old brick path. Turn right onto a track and 30 metres further on turn left onto a narrow path and cross a stream. Follow the path to the road and turn right along the latter. After about 400 metres the road bends around to the right. Turn left through a gate into an old road here. Follow this until it curves to the left and go through a gate, following the track for 120 metres to turn sharp right onto an access track leading to the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk.

Follow this up the hill, past a hazel grove and through a beechwood to join the Ridgeway Walk just before a gate. Turn sharp left and follow the Ridgeway Walk signs for just over 3 kilometres.

The path affords good views of the Rhymney Valley, skirts a disused quarry. crosses some open farmland at Cefn Onn farm and passes through mature beechwoods at Coed Cefn Onn.

After passing a large pylon beside the path to the right, walk a further 20 metres and turn right at a waymarking post. Follow the path past some old lime kilns and continue down Craig y Llan with a steep drop on the left to join another path at the bottom. Turn right onto this path and then immediately left over a stile. Go down the right hand side of a field and cross the stream by footbridges. Turn left and follow the waymarks parallel to the stream through fields, crossing two tributaries to reach a field gate. Go through this and climb the stile immediately opposite. Turn right and follow the path up the hill near the edge of the wood to a stile in the corner. Cross this and carry straight on uphill, curving around to the right to head for a pylon. Just before this pylon bear right to enter the wood (Coed Coesau Whips), by a bridle gate.

Walk along the path leading from the gate, ignoring paths to the left, until you reach a track. Go across this and up the steps. Follow the footpath until you pass through a barrier. There is a sign pointing the way to a viewpoint to the left, which is well worth a visit, but the walk route curves slightly to the right and climbs up with woodland on the left until a felled area allows views of the coastal plain.

Keep straight on with woodland to the right and pass through a gate onto a marvellous bridle path along the ridge above Craig Llysfaen. Pass a weather station and a trig. point (264 metres) on the left and go through a gate onto the road. Turn left and follow it steeply down until you reach a farm. Pass to the right of the farm and immediately turn right, through a gate, onto a track.

Follow this down and through another gate into woodland. You will shortly be walking with a brick wall on your left. At the end of this wall there is a house. A vehicle barrier straight on leads to a path to Cefn Onn Park.

Take the track to the right of it, follow it along the top of the golf course, ford a stream and carry straight on up the rise making for the boundary between the wood and the golf course. Follow the path into the wood, then turn left and walk along the edge of the wood above the golf course. Continue until the path ends on an old green road, often running with water.

Turn right past the stump of a very large tree and follow the old road as it zig-zags up Craig Llanishen, keeping left at a waymark. Take note of the views to the left as you climb. Carry straight on at the top, through a gate and across a little cwm. Turn left through gateposts waymarked for the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk. Follow the Ridgeway walk for just over a kilometre to the road at Blaen Cwm Nofydd. Take great care crossing this busy road, go a short distance left and turn right into a track also waymarked.

The path now crosses a golfcourse, and at the time of writing was not fully waymarked. Follow the track passing to the left of some buildings, 60 metres past the last building there is an embankment to the right which is the back of a green and bunker. Leave the track and turn right before this. Continue straight across the fairway, and make for an old field-opening in the hedge ahead. Go through the opening and walk alongside some young trees. Bear slightly left over a rise and make for another old field-opening in the corner ahead. Through this, cross a stream and then a fairway using the bridge over another stream. A stile can be seen in the boundary fence opposite. Leave the golf course by climbing this stile.

Climb up the path through the bracken until it ends on another path at a waymark post. Turn right here, passing to the right of a bungalow, then turn right onto a track. The car park of your start point will now be in view.


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