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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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Castell Coch and Cardiff Beech Woods

A woodland walk which includes a sculpture trail (The Lost and Found Trail) and ends in the fairy-tale setting of Castell Coch. The mainly broadleaved woodlands have one of the best displays of Bluebells (May) in South Wales. The woods also have extravagant displays of Wood Anemones (April) and Wild Garlic (May) and are home to wide range of bird life. The beech woods are some of the most westerly naturally occurring Beech Woods in the UK. Castell Coch is well worth visiting in its own right and there are information leaflets available at local libraries and information centres or see www.cadw.wales.gov.uk and follow links to Castell Coch.

Distance: 5 km (3 miles)
Difficulty: Moderate
Start Point: Main Entrance to Castell Coch [Grid Ref ST133827 ]
Maps: Landranger 171, Explorer 151

Getting there from Cardiff Central:
by bus: Stagecoach 132 bus from Cardiff Central Bus Station to centre of Tongwynlais (every 15 mins), then up Mill Road (passing the Lewis Arms on your left) to the main entrance of Castell Coch. (Ignore footpath signs on route to the main entrance.)
by car: there is ample parking at Castell Coch, which is signed off the A470. Do check car park closing time. there is ample parking at Castell Coch, which is signed off the A470. Do check car park closing time. (Follow route from G down to road and then continue from A)

At the entrance to the grounds of Castell Coch and facing the road, take waymarked path on your left that rises gently through the woods. At a post (without markings) take a smaller path to the right and downwards. Follow this path around the side of a small valley. After the valley, you will see two houses through the trees on the right and then the path is bordered on the right-hand side by wooden railings. Continue gently down to reach a stile giving access to Heol y Fforest.

Cross the road with care and pick up a continuation of the path on the other side with the path running parallel to the road and stream (Nant y Fforest). You shortly reach an information board that confirms that you are entering Fforest Ganol (local nature reserve) and gives details of the woods. Go forward along the path, ignoring paths to your left and right, until the path turns a very sharp right.

a) Either: cross the stile directly ahead and follow a path going diagonally right and up, through stile-gap in a fence, to reach a broad path. Turn left onto a path and forward to reach a road and the entrance to Fforest Fawr opposite. This route is a steep ascent and only suitable for energetic walkers; b) Or: stay on the path as it bends right and gradually rises. Remain on the path, ignoring side paths, until after it curves left to reach a marker post with a wide path coming in from the left. Turn left on to this wide path and forward to reach a road and the entrance to Fforest Fawr opposite.

Cross the road with care and enter Fforest Fawr. Forward along track (initially there is a protected walkway), passing parking area on your left, through the kissing gate and on to the archway entrance of the Lost & Found Trail on your right.

Go through the archway and follow the broad path that takes you past several items on the sculpture trail. Be guided by a wooden barrier on your left to reach a viewpoint with views of the valley, The Garth (to the left) and Craig yr Allt (to the right).

Facing the viewpoint fence, turn left along a clear path with the wire fence on your right. On reaching a cross-path junction, go straight ahead (Do not go right and down). Remain on the path to reach forestry track. Turn right on to the forestry track and forward to reach a finger-post on your left. Take the down path on your left to reach Castell Coch.

From Castell Coch take the road down to the main entrance and the start point of the walk.

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Current comments about the route:

On point C you can currently use the second option b) the v option A) is closed off while they fell trees
Ash - 2013-05-19

I did this walk today and enjoyed it greatly. I think it would be helpful if D could be altered slightly to read, 'through the kissing gate and along the forest track until you reach the archway......... Anne Morgan
- 2012-08-14

Can I ask who maintains the fencing and the signage? Are there any steep drops?
- 2011-08-11

It is best to start at the bottom of the car park hill. At point D there is no obvious archway, having crossed the road, head a 50 yards or so up the path and there is a very obvious path going up a steep incline. Follow this to the top of the hill and take a left as per instructions.
D&G, Radyr - 2011-05-09

When the instructions say "At the entrance to Castell Coch", I think they mean the entrance to the car park, rather than the castle itself, which also has a waymarked path off to the left, which is the Taff Trail... As for whether this path is inside or outside of the entrance I have no idea, as we took the first instruction to mean the castle itself and headed up the Taff Trail, so ended up improvising the whole walk!
- 2010-04-01

An enjoyable woodland walk - very muddy underfoot even in Summer! Directions quite difficult...was lost by the second direction (an unmarked path to right) and had to take a 3/4 mile detour along country roads with the help of a friendly jogger!!
- 2009-08-04