Saturday, 31 July 2010

Colwinston to Cowbridge - 5 Miles

This is a short walk that is unusual in that it is possible to do it on a Sunday. It takes in three pubs, more if you decide to have mini pub crawl in Cowbridge at the end. If you do the walk on a Sunday then I'd recommend the Red Fox for a roast dinner.


Start at Cardiff Bus station and get the First X2 from stand B5 (timetables). The bus is every half an hour on Saturday and every two hours on Sunday. You need to buy an all day pass which will cost £5.75.
Stay on the bus for around 40 minuets resisting the temptation to get off in Cowbridge. After Cowbridge the bus goes on to the A48 and after 3 minutes goes goes though Penre Meyrick. Wait until the bus has gone past a another junction before pressing the button to be dropped of at Colwinston Turn bus stop.
Walk back up the hill (back in the direction the bus came from) after 50 yards turn right down the road signposted "Colwinston Tregolwyn". Continue down this road for 300 yards and turn right down the road once again sign posted as "Colwinston Tregolwyn 1". Continue on this road for half a mile until the road enters the village and does a sharp turn to the left. Here there is a brown sign pointing towards the "Sycamore Inn". This is the first stop (photo). Unfortunately this is a Brains pub. But as Brains pubs go it is one of the better.
After leaving the pub turn left and rejoin the main road through the middle of the village. As you walk through the village try not to think how much the houses here must cost; it will only make you cry. After 200 yards you come to the edge of the village. Turn right down the road signposted "Llysworney". Almost immediately take a left turn down what looks like someones drive (photo). There is a footpath sigh here with the yellow arrow but it is well hidden (photo). After 40 yards you enter a large field. Continue in the same direction following the rocky debris of some old road. At the far edge of the field continue over the stile. Keeping the farm to your right continue across another field. When you have passed the farm go over a double set of stiles (with the yellow arrows, see photo). Head towards to far right corner of this field and from here you join a small road (photo). Stay on this road for most 1 mile until you enter Penre Meyrick.
Cross over the busy A48 and follow the yellow arrow sign post down the road sign post "St Marys Hotel". Turn off to the right after 150 yards down the road signposted only with a yellow arrow. Continue for 500 yards until you enter the village of Penllyn. Here turn left past the church. After 100 yards you will come to the Red Fox pub (photo) which is the second stop. The Red Fox is a good pub if a little posh. The food here is good but if you're planning on having Sunday lunch here you should book ahead.
Once you've left the pub turn left and head back though the village. Turn left though the metal gates immediately after the church. After 100 yards a friendly sign (photo) tells you to turn off the drive and onto the footpath, which leads you into a large field. Head for the far left corner. Go over the stile and then head for the corner of the wall. Go over the stile marked with a yellow arrow and walk towards the far right of the field. If it's a clear day head towards the radio transmitter you can see in the distance. The woods to the right of this field are used for paint balling so don't be surprised if you hear some shouting and shooting coming from them. At the far side of the field the paths goes down a step hill. Climb over the difficult stone stile with metal bars across in and descend down the steep stony hill. Climb over the stile. Here you can turn use the footpath over the field, but the going is tough. Instead take the road the runs directly to the right of the farm buildings. This road is new and (at the time of writing) is not on any of the aerial photo's I use for my maps. Follow the road past the farm and after 300 yards you will come out on a busy road. Turn right and follow the road under the M4 and into Cowbridge. Continue for 200 yard until you are in the centre of Cowbridge.
Here you can choose from the many pubs including The Bear and the Duke of Wellington, but I would recommend the Vale of Glamorgan. This is a lovely pub with and open fire, nice court yard beer garden and a good range of beers.
Use the bus stop outside Lloyds to get the X2 bus back into Cardiff.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Machen to Lisvane - 6 miles

Given that this is first walk on my blog is isn't all that accessible. It's one of the few walks I'll include that involve getting a bus. I much prefer to stick to walks that can be done using only the train. And like almost all the walks on this blog it is almost impossible to do on a Sunday. Still it takes in three or four pubs with The Hollybush pub being the highlight and where I would recommend you stop for lunch.

Starting at Cardiff Queen street station buy a return ticket to Caerphilly. The best train to get is the one leaving at five past since this connects up well with the bus in Caerphilly. Once in Caerphilly go over the foot bridge and find bus stand 6. Wait here for the No 50 Newport Stagecoach bus (time table) that is due at twenty five past. You need to buy a single ticket to Machen. The journey takes around 15 mins. Get off at the bus stop just after the Spar, opposite the Fwrrwm Ishta restaurant.

Continue down the road for 100 yards and turn right down Tyn Y Waun road. Cross over the bridge and then take a right along the river footpath. After 100 yards the path splits, take the left path and then after 50 yards turn left again onto the small path that runs behind the housing estate. Note this turning is very easy to miss; you practically have to dive through a bush (see photo). Follow this path until you come out on some playing fields. Keep to the right of the fields and pass through the kissing gate. From here you can follow the "Rhymney River Circular" markers (see photo). Continue on the path until you come out at an unnamed hamlet. Here walk through the hamlet and south along the quiet country road towards Draethen. After 1 mile turn off to the right on the footpath immediately after the "slow" sign painted on the road (see photo). Once up the steps turn to the left and follow the path though the bracken. During the summer this path can be very over grown and staying on the road is an option. The path soon clears once you enter the woods. From here follow the path to a small alley that runs between two houses. You emerge opposite The Hollybush pub (sse photo) which is the first break in this walk.
The Hollybush serves Timothy Tailor Landord, has cheap but nice food and a big open fire.
When you leave the Hollybush turn left and walk east towards Rudy on the road. After 200 yards take a right turn up a track that looks like road to someones house. It is however signposted by a 'horse path' arrow on the opposite side of the road. You'll know you have the right path if there is a drain channel running down the centre of it (see photo). Follow the "More Capital Walks 10" sign and take the footpath around the house and into the woods. There is a climb for around 500 yards. When the path splits go left. When the path joins a larger track continue in the same direction. Ignore the turning to the right and eventually you will arrive at the edge of the woods where the track takes a sharp turn to the left (see photo). At this point turn off the track and walk right towards the large rocks. Beyond these rocks is a small road, turn left and walk down this for half a mile until you arrive at the Maen Llwyd pub in Rudry (photo).
The Maen Llwyd is a gastropub the food here is fair if a little over priced. The selection of beers is a crime. My advice is to buy something that comes in a bottle since it is difficult for the bar staff to mess that up. Having said that the building itself is nice and it's not a bad spot to stop.
Go up the steps directly opposite the pub at the top turn right and follow the footpath sigh. Continue for half a mile. When the paths turns to the left follow the blue "Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk" (photo). For some reason there is a thick metal cable running along the side of the footpath from here. Follow the path for a mile until you come to a small farm. Cross straight over the road and enjoy the amazing views for another half a mile. When the path splits go to the left down the hill towards Cardiff. You can wander off the path towards the right to visit the old limestone quarry at this point. Just follow the patches of scorched earth left by disposable BBQs. After 100 yards turn to the left turn when the path splits. You'll now go down a steep decent with the path snaking down the hill and passing a ventilation shaft for the train tunnel. The path eventually levels out and comes to a collection of houses. When you pass through the gate and are right by the houses turn right and go downward on the footpath that runs beside the golf course. After 500 yards take the turning on the right and enter Cefn Onn country park. Turn left and follow the path through the park and eventually under the M4. To the right is The Old Cottage pub (photo). It's blocked by a big fence so you'll need to walk down to the main road and turn right to get to it.
The Old Cottage is surprisingly nice for a place that's less than 100 yards from a motorway. The range of beers isn't too bad and there's a nice beer garden.
From the pub turn left down Cherry Orchard Road for 100 yards to get to Lisvane and Thornhill train station. From here you can use your return ticket from Caerphilly to get back into Cardiff.