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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.
OS map view

Draethen and Michaelstone y Fedw

Distance: 13 km (8 miles)
Difficulty: Grade D
Start Point: across stream from Hollybush Inn Draethen [Grid Ref ST221873 ]
Maps: Landranger 171, Explorer 151, 166

Getting there from Cardiff Central:
by bus: not possible, regrettably.
by car: leave Cardiff on North Road and take A469 to Caerphilly. At Caerphilly Castle turn right along B4600, then A468, through Bedwas to Machen. After 1500 metres turn right for Draethen and proceed over river to Hollybush Inn on your left. Park in Draethen on the grass area across stream from The Hollybush.

Begin the walk at stile along right hand side of pub and climb left uphill to another stile. Bear half right and continue climbing path through mixed woodland until a forestry track is reached. Turn right and keep on this track, climbing but ignoring waymarking signs to the left. until a house comes into view. Descend towards the house and continue along a stone surfaced road along the left hand side of the house and its rear garden, (waymarked in blue. This is the Ridgeway).

Follow the Ridgeway for about 500 metres to a stile on the left. Cross, go down half right to another stile then straight across to reach a double farmgate leading onto a narrow lane. Turn left and after 250 metres turn right down a track, passing to the right of a house, "Greenmeadows", keep right of house along track, bearing left over a little bridge over a stream and then, still on track, right making for a large electric pylon. Down field through gate and just beyond pylon turn left through a smaller gate and cross field parallel to the line of the pylons, passing through farmgate and crossing a stream. Make for the extreme left hand corner of the next field and go through gap in line of trees, then cross bridge over stream. Make for a stile at the top of the next field at left hand corner of wood. Continue along field, keeping close to wood on right, cross stile and footbridge, and climb field to a stile which leads into the grounds of the former Cefn Mably Hospital.

After 30 metres turn left down path leading to ruined chapel building. Go around building on left and pick up path going downhill to meet tarmac road. Follow road left, then bear right in about 300 metres to join another tarmac road, making for bridge over River Rhymney. Immediately after crossing the river go left over stile and walk along river bank until the river turns left. Leave river and make for left of house heading for gate into paddock. Cross the paddock, cross stile, field, stile, field, keeping hedge on left the while. Then through gap and half right across field to gate leading to tarmac road. Turn left and take great care following narrow road to Michaelstone Bridge.

Do not cross bridge, keep right for 40 rnetres to waymarked post on left. Go through hedge and walk along river bank to a stile and footbridge leading into woodland. Keep left proceeding through wood before reaching another stile on the river bank. Continue along river bank for about 1000 metres and go over stile directly ahead, (ignore another stile on right). Go half left for 15 metres, through gate and walk with hedge on right. The path becomes a farm track and at T-jtinction turn left eventually reaching a gate. Straight across field to a stile and footbridge over ditch then cross another field to a stile at a road bridge. Turn left along tarmac road back to the Hollybush.

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Current comments about the route:

At 'B' where it states " to reach a double farmgate leading onto a narrow lane", the farm gate exit onto the lane has been deliberately blocked and egress from the field is not easy though can be done. The later stiles on the interesting route are not dog friendly. A good and varied walk though.
Clive Elsbury - 2011-09-27

Fab walk although I did get lost three times around Craig Coed Ruperra making it 10 not 8 miles! Descriptions a little brief for a long walk and worth revising in light of Rhymney Valley Circular Walk which this helpfully follows....
Sally Ward - 2009-03-06

This description is somewhat out of date, and markers are missing. It is advisable to take an OS map. Also after periods of rain the walk is likely to be muddy, and as the paths are not being well maintained, the walk should only be tackled by experi
- 2007-12-23