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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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Rudry and Draethen Circuit

Delightful, moderately strenuous walk, through the woods and fields around Rudry and Draethen, taking in Ruperra Castle. It includes a climb of about 90 metres (300 ft.). Stout shoes, or preferably boots, will be needed as paths and tracks could be muddy and even waterlogged after prolonged wet weather. The stile at Nant y Cwm is badly in need of repair. A more up to date description of this route is available in our walks leaflet series.

Distance: 10 km (6 miles)
Difficulty: Grade C
Start Point: Coed Llwyncelyn car park [Grid Ref ST202854 ]
Maps: Landranger 171, Explorer 151, 166

Getting there from Cardiff Central:
by bus: Services 63, 63A and 64 from the Central Station will take you to Llwynypia Road in Lisvane. From there you have a 3 kilometre walk along the Rudry Road to the start point.
by car: out of Cardiff, past the Castle on North Road, over the Gabalfa flyover, through Birchgrove. When you reach a roundabout go right into Ty-Glas Road, then Station Road and carry on through Llanishen Village onto Lisvane Road to Lisvane. Turn left into Church Road, then continue, bearing right, into Rudry Road. Go under the M4 and about 2 kilometres after you will see the forestry car park on your left.


From the car park, follow the wide track up and around to the right for about 300 - 400 metres. You pass a less densely wooded area on your right and as the track enters a more densely wooded area you will see a large rectangular stone on your left bearing a bridleway marker. Opposite this on your right you will see a path which is not signposted. Turn right onto this path and after 50 metres you reach a gate. Go through and turn left, follow the field boundary on the left hand side down to Coedcae wood. Over the the stile and continue downhill almost to the valley floor where you meet another path crossing at right angles (there is a gate and stile on the left marking it).

Turn right and follow this path as it makes its way gently upwards through the wood until it reaches a gate at the boundary of the wood and open fields. Cross into the field and follow the direction given by yellow waymarkers. The path is not visible on the ground. Go through the end of a line of trees and make for a white house at the far end of the field. You will have a wooden fence and farm buildings on your right and as you approach the field boundary you will see a kissing gate which allows you access to the road.

Turn left onto the road and shortly after the house you reach a cross roads. In front of you are 2 parallel tracks: the one on the right leads to a house and is marked "Private", so take the one on the left. This is the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Footpath which you will be following all the way to Draethen. It takes you past the house and then follows a stone wall and then fence on the right for about 800 metres. Shortly after passing some farm buildings, below you on your left, you will reach a clearing with a green shed which gives access on your right to a track on the other side of the wall. Turn onto the track and follow it to the left. The track swings to the right past a large house to your left. Keep following the track which has a fence on the right and this leads to the back of Ruperra Castle and its grounds also on the right.

RUPERRA CASTLE: "splendidly direct and uncompromising" according to John Newman in "The Buildings of Wales; Glamorgan". The castle was built as the home of Sir Thomas Morgan around 1620, rebuilt 150 years later after having been burnt down and is now nothing but a ruined shell. It is a square, three-storied building built in a style harking back to mediaeval castles as can be seen in the round towers and battlements.

About 20 metres after the start of a substantial wall on the right you will see on the left a wooden post with a yellow direction arrow marking access to a path between the trees and bushes. If you reach the end of the wall you have gone too far.

Take this path which ascends steeply at first but soon becomes a gentle incline. Cross one path which leads to the top of the ridge on your right, Craig Ruperra, and continue until you meet a dirt road. Turn right onto the road. After about 200 metres the track forks, the one to the right going gently uphill, the one on the left descending into a wood, Coed Craig Ruperra. Take the left hand path which descends more and more steeply through the wood to Draethen, also taking the left at subsequent junctions. Eventually you reach a stile at the boundary of the wood and an open field. Cross and continue down the field to the right hand far corner where there is a stile at the back of the pub, The Hollybush, which allows access via the pub forecourt to the Rudry-Draethen road.

Turn sharp left and follow this road past the outlying houses of the village. At this point there is a green bridleway marker showing a track which crosses the road. Turn right and follow this track/lane, past a house on the left and then between a barn and a house. The path now begins to climb steeply through Coed Cefn-Pwll Du. This is the steepest and longest ascent of the walk. Keep following this deeply rutted path until it begins to level off, at which point it forks into 2 wider paths. Take the left hand path which continues to climb very gently until it reaches an unmade road. Turn left onto this road and follow it for about 400 metres until it reaches a clearing which has a wooden fence on the right. Pass through a pedestrian entrance in the fence and you will find your self on a dilapidated metalled road. Turn left and follow the road for another 800 metres until it reaches the Maen LIwyd Inn at Rudry.

Cross the road to a wooden gate which gives access to the Maen Llwyd car park. Follow the path up to a stile and then up some wooden steps onto the ridge (Craig y Llan). You are now back on the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Footpath. Keep on the ridge until just before a pylon where there is a path which comes up from the left. Take this path which soon begins to descend very steeply to Nant y Cwrn, At the bottom it meets a path which runs along the valley floor and on the other side of the path are a way-marked stile and a pedestrian entrance to a wood side by side.

Here you have a choice:


i) for the adventurous: take the stile on the left, it gives access to an open field with a fence on your immediate right. Follow the fence to a stream. At the stream there are 2 footbridges and a stile leading to the field beyond. Turn left so that the stream is on your left and Coed Croesau-Whips on your right. As you approach a gate look to your right and you will see a stile which leads into the wood at the point where it meets another open field. Take this stile and follow the path up through the wood with the open field on the left until the path emerges onto a broad track. Turn right and take this track (following red marker posts) as it gradually descends to a fork, and there take the left hand path.

ii) for those who know their limitations: turn right along this path until it meets a broader path coming from the left. Take this path as it crosses a stream. Shortly after there is a white marker post and the path meets another at right angles. Turn right onto this path.

For both: follow the path as it gradually ascends and bears further to the left and turns into an unmade road. The red marker posts now become red/blue posts. Follow the road for about 1000 metres until just after a multi coloured post it meets an unmade road from the left. Take this road which descends gradually to lead you back to the car park.


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Current comments about the route:

Walked this route on a clear January day. Husband and I thoroughly enjoyed and will definitely do again. It's very rural though, so would avoid if there has been a lot of rain. Section F is a long, steep incline!
- 2012-02-18

This is a lovely walk, but we wasted about 25 minutes trying to find the gate referred to in the third sentence of Section A. Ignore the the first three sentences of this section and follow these instructions: From the car park, follow the wide track up and around to the right for about 300 - 400 metres. You pass a less densely wooded area on your right and as the track enters a more densely wooded area you will see a large rectangular stone on your left bearing a bridleway marker. Opposite this on your right you will see a path which is not signposted. Walk down this path for less than 100 metres to reach a gate at the bottom. Also, in Section F, where there is reference to a "wooden fence on the right", this should read a "row of large boulders on the right with a gap in the middle, which you pass through onto a dilapidated tarmacked road".
John Roberts - 2011-03-25

A good walk. At the start follow main track from the car park and take first right. April 2009
- 2009-04-13

Rudry Road simply continues from Church Road - it's not second right. There is no fence around the car park in which to look for a gap. Most important, the path which originates from the car park is seriously overgrown and impassable after not very l
- 2008-02-25

The first point is that Rudry Road simply continues from Church Road - it's not second right. Second, there is no fence around the car park in which to look for a gap. Third, and most important, the path which originates from the car park is seriousl
- 2008-02-25