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PEASE NOTE: These routes are now several years old and details are likely to have changed. For more up to date suggestions, please see the more recent collection of leaflets. If you wish to attempt this route, comments made by previous walkers at the foot of the page may be helpful.
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Pentyrch, Coed y Bedw Nature Reserve and The Garth

Done in its entirety the walk includes a mature woodland nature reserve; a pine forest where a torch will be handy after dusk; an ascent that will test both lungs and legs; and the best views of Cardiff and surrounds. [Note: The walk includes walking along country lanes that though generally quiet are not devoid of traffic and due care should be exercised. Stout shoes are recommended for the nature reserve as it's likely to be squelchy underfoot.]

Distance: 8 km (5 miles)
Difficulty: Moderate
Start Point: War Memorial, Pentyrch (close to The Lewis Arms) [Grid Ref ST101821 ]
Maps: Landranger 171, Explorer 151

Getting there from Cardiff Central:
by bus: take Stagecoach 136 (an hourly service) from Cardiff Bus Station

Facing the War Memorial go Left and take 2nd turning on the right into and forward along cul-de-sac Cefn Bychan. Approx 15 metres after passing the last house ("Greenwells") on your left, turn Left down signed footpath. Be careful on reaching the bottom of this path as it joins a busy road without a pavement. Carefully cross the road to a gravel opening diagonally to your left.

Do not cross the stile ahead and alongside a gate, but look for and cross the stile to your right. Turn Left and follow the track down as it curves to the right, over a stream and through a gate. Continue on the track to go through a second gate and turn immediately Right to a stile giving access to the Coed y Bedw Nature Reserve.

Cross the stile into the nature reserve and forward on the main path that undulates and generally follows the stream in an easterly direction. [If you've got the time, feel free to explore the various paths within the nature reserve - but return to the main path to continue this walk]

The path leads to another entrance/exit stile with an information board. Cross the stile to exit the nature reserve and go Forward (keeping stream on your right) along a wide path, through 2 kissing gates to reach row of cottages. Forward along row of cottages and at T-junction, turn Left taking track to Maes Gwyn Cattery. On reaching the cattery, ignore the stile on your right, cross the stile directly ahead and follow path into the woods going up and in a northerly direction. At T-junction with another path, turn Right and on shortly reaching a path-crossroads turn Left and up. Forward and up along this path (ignoring all side paths) to reach a kissing gate on your right. Go through kissing gate and cross field to kissing gate directly opposite.

Go through kissing gate and turn Left down lane. Forward along lane, passing an abandoned farm building on your left, to reach a wide footpath coming down from the right and signed from the lane.

After taking in the views you have a choice:
Either: continue along the lane to reach a cattle grid and rejoin walk instructions at Point H;
Or: turn Right and follow the wide path to the top of the Garth. [Note: sections of the path are steep AND can be subject to erosion, proceed at your own risk.] Forward and up along the path, going Left and Up at forks in the path. Where the path levels out and is approximately parallel to Steep Holm and Flat Holm in the Bristol Channel, turn Left on to a wide path for a short steep ascent. After the short steep ascent to the top follow path going Left (westerly direction) towards the trig point just visible on a mound in the distance.

After taking in the views at the trig point, drop down to information board at the base of the burial mound (the Bristol Channel side) and follow the path going right and down, passing a picnic area to join tarmac road. At T-junction go Right and down to reach a cattle grid.

[Walkers who decided against going to the top of the The Garth will rejoin the walk at this point] Go through cattle-grid gate, Forward to T-junction and turn Left on to lane (Mountain Road) that goes to Pentyrch - ignore any side roads.
Where Mountain Road curves sharply right, continue forward into Old Bakery Court with bus stop and village shops on your right. Carefully cross the road to reach the Presbyterian Church of Wales and turn Left into Heol Goch and head towards the Lewis Arms sign. Pass the Lewis Arms on your left and very shortly arrive at the War Memorial.

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Current comments about the route:

Some of the directions are inaccurate. SECTION A: The footpath down to the busy road crosses a quiet tarmacked road - go straight across. The path at this point is wide and may be very wet. Leave the path and access the busy road via a wide metal gate on your left. SECTIONS B and C: There is only one stile, which is alongside the gate. Cross it and take the path to the right that runs parallel with the road (cutting back on yourself to the right). Follow the path down to and over the stream. SECTION D: The last but one sentence, starting "Forward and up..." is wrong. It should read: "Forward and up along this path until you reach a T junction. Take the path up to your left until you reach a kissing gate on your right." The last sentence should remain the same.
John Roberts - 2011-03-04