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.

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