Walking Long

The Group meets monthly, on a day arranged by the designated walk organiser, for a walk of about 6 to 9 miles. New members are always welcome. See below for dates of forthcoming walks and events.


Sorry, but no dogs allowed on walks (due to previous experiences!).

Contact Steve Monaghan

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The Brecon Beacons Visitor Centre at Libanus was the starting point for the September 2015 Long Walk, led by Steve and Val Monaghan, but there was a twist to the usual custom, as coffee and cakes were taken BEFORE setting off! On arrival in the car park, one walker's vehicle was found to have a flat tyre, so, as there were only four in the party, departure was delayed until the spare had been fitted.

The offending flat tyre! A view to the north-east Looking up to Twyn y Gaer Climbing up to Twyn y Gaer

Due to the late start, the walk around Mynydd Illtud, via the trig point on Twyn y Gaer, was shortened from 7 miles to 5.7 miles by omitting the Allt Lom section. The group had sunshine for most of the walk, despite low, black clouds and rain on of the surrounding hills, but were eventually caught in a heavy downpour on Traeth Bach, just over a mile away from the end of the circuit.

Pen y Fan & Corn Du from Visitor Centre

Lunch was taken on a picnic table outside the Visitor Centre's café, as the sun had returned by then.

The August 2015 Long Walk was led by Bob Bevington. Six avid walkers arrived in the car park of the sadly closed (yet again) Farmers Arms, St Brides Major. The day could have been a wash out after another unsettled period of weather in what has passed for this year's summer, but the party set off with fingers firmly crossed. They traversed Heol y Mynydd in blustery sunshine and cloud - perhaps it would be a good walk despite the odds.
Descending the tricky terrain of fascinating Pant Mari Flanders, they peered into the medieval well and glanced up at the ruined hillside cottage which housed 'Mari Flanders' and other Low Countries religious refugees who worked in the Welsh wool trade in that period.
Negotiating the Ogmore estuary, the party were blasted by a brief squall which had them reaching for their hoods, but shortly afterwards they rounded the headland in breezy sunshine, with soaked clothes rapidly drying. The hoped for cafe stop was taken in the Post Office, where the group sat in the sun, laughing at their change of fortune.
Along the grassy cliff top banks, the walkers were treated to the sight of seven choughs wheeling around the steep terrain and also saw ravens gathered nearby. The bird watchers amongst the group got quite excited!
Then it was down to Southerndown valley as they wound their way back over fields and stiles to St Brides. A distance of 6.5 miles covered and no further rain.
Lunch was taken at the Three Golden Cups, where the company were also treated to music from the 1940s - some wondered whether it was put on for their enjoyment alone!

Unfortunately, the July 2015 Long Walk fell victim to the weather; it was a day of unremitting rain.

There was superb weather for the June 2015 walk, which started from Dyffryn Gardens (now under National Trust stewardship). The route took the quartet, led by June and Rhys Morgan, firstly to the impressive Tinkinswood burial chamber and then on to the one at St Lythans, with its fine cromlech, over 6000 years old.

6000 year old crumlin at St Lythan Crumlin at St Lythan

Wenvoe Golf Course was skirted by the group as they made their way to St Lythans Church, from where a short detour was made to the "Horse and Jockey" pub in Twyn-yr-Odyn for lunch. A return to the starting point from the pub completed a 7.5 mile walk (which one member of the party said was walked in record time!).

Another month, another walk from St Hilary, but the May 2015 walk, led by Jo Ilsley (aided and abetted by Penny Jarvis), took the four-strong party on a different route, exploring new countryside, with excellent views en-route. The group passed through Llantrithyd, where, outside a cottage, there was a dummy protesting against fracking in the Vale.

St Hilary A threatening sky as we set off! Anti-fracking protestor

The half-way point was the village of Llancarfan, where a coffee stop was taken on benches in the churchyard. Unfortunately, the church was closed as restoration work was still being undertaken on the mediaeval wall paintings. The return journey took the party past Aberogwrn Farm, which is the base of another local racehorse trainer, Evan Williams.

A bucolic view Through Coed Arthur The homeward stretch to St Hilary

With just 30 minutes remaining of the 8.7 mile walk, the predicted rain finally started, but a good pub lunch quickly raised the spirits of the walkers.

The weather looked distinctly unpromising as the party met at the Bush Inn at St Hilary for the April 2015 walk; low cloud and drizzle presaged a wet day. Fortunately, by the time the small (but select) group of four were ready to depart, there had been a definite meteorological improvement and waterproofs were shed during the first hour. Penny Jarvis and Marian East took the walk towards Llantrithyd, then on to Tair Onnen.

The Bush Inn at St Hilary Pysgodlyn Mawr Lake At Pysgodlyn Mawr Lake On the last leg down into St Hilary

A coffee stop was taken by Pysgodlyn Mawr Lake and then it was on to Hensol Forest and Welsh St Donats. On the last sections of the 8.5 mile trek, the walkers passed the Pant Wilkin Stables of racehorse trainer Tim Vaughan and then The Clump, possible site of the Cowbridge gallows, before descending into St Hilary for a pub lunch, taken in the garden.

The March 2015 walk commenced in the village of St Fagans. Steve and Val Monaghan led the eight-strong party on a route to Radyr, via parts of St Fagans new to most, through Radyr Woods and then along Junction Terrace, which became the first street in the village when houses were built for railway workers.

Into Radyr Woods A view in Radyr Woods Another view in Radyr Woods Still in Radyr Woods

A coffee break was made in the Italian restaurant/café/deli in Radyr; this type of stop appears to becoming a feature of Long Walks of late! The route then took the group onto Radyr Golf Course, before the A4119 road had to be crossed at a hazardous section - the footpath obviously pre-dated fast motor traffic. The rural view that the walkers shortly encountered, across the valley to the route of a dismantled railway, made all the effort worthwhile: the deep mud on a farm track near the end of the walk didn't!

The view on the return leg The view again

The total distance of the circuit was 6 miles. Lunch was enjoyed at the Grade II listed Plymouth Arms at the end of the walk.

Keith Morgan was forced to change the February 2015 walk from the one he had spent so much time reconnoîtring, because of widespread deep mud on the paths. Instead, the group of eight met at the Toby Carvery (known locally as the "Cwm Ciddy Motel") on the edge of Barry for a walk of nearly 9 miles. The route followed the Cwm Cidy ("Valley of the Black Dog"), with a detour to view a house platform en-route, and passed under the imposing Porthkerry railway viaduct to enter Porthkerry Country Park, where coffee was taken at the café.

Porthkerry railway viaduct In front of the railway viaduct coffee stop in Porthkerry Park café

The route then took the party onto the pebble beach at low water - impressive, but difficult walking! - to trek to The Knap, then across Watch Tower Bay to Friars Point, eventually reaching Barry Island, once known as "the Riviera of the South Wales Coast".

The pebble beach Walking towards The Knap Lunch at Marcos cafe Chalets and a fountain

Lunch was taken, in sunshine, on the Promenade at Marco's Café of "Gavin and Stacey" fame. The return leg was via Jackson's Bay, Redbrick Terrace, the now-deserted Barry Docks and residential streets (here Keith pointed out the locations where the families of both he and the Australian ex-Prime Minister Julia Gillard had once lived) to re-enter Porthkerry Park. A convivial drink at our start point rounded off a pleasant day.

Jim Bostock was the Leader for the January 2015 walk, which started at Kenfig Pool Visitor Centre. There was an excellent turn-out of eleven members for a 6 mile trek, which began in a cold wind, necessitating hats, warm coats and gloves. By the time we reached the ruins of Kenfig Castle, the wind had dropped and the sun was shining.

View over Kenfig dunes John inside Kenfig Castle Some of the group at Kenfig Castle Inside the ruins of Kenfig Castle

The party took a route through Kenfig dunes to the beach (where a game called bando was once played), where we set off for the distant Sker Point, around 1.5 miles away. A path bordering the golf course returned the group to the Visitor Centre. Lunch was taken at the nearby, historic "Prince of Wales" Inn (formerly the medieval Town Hall); the forecast rain arrived just before we left the pub for home.

There was a cold wind for the December 2014 walk and it was muddy underfoot, but six well-wrapped walkers met in Magor, near the ruins of the 14th Century Procurator's House, for a 7 mile walk led by Steve and Val Monaghan.

Pencoed Castle in the distance A view of Pencoed Castle Pencoed Castle

The group passed by the abandoned (but still in a good state, despite nearly 100 years of neglect) Pencoed Castle on the way to Penhow Castle and the adjacent 13th Century church of St John the Baptist, where lunch was taken in the porch.

On the Magor Walk Nearing Pencoed Castle Penhow Castle

The return route was via St Bridget's Church and the nearby abandoned mediaeval village of St Bride's Netherwent, now only visible as lumps and bumps in a field. One source claims the village was abandoned because of the Black Death in the 14th Century, but another states that it was not vacated until the 18th Century. The rain arrived in the afternoon, but by then the party was safely ensconded in the café in Magor, enjoying a well-deserved coffee and cake.

One of the standing stones on Gray Hill The view from Gray Hill The first steep climb onto Gray Hill

The November 2014 was led by Elaine Booth from the Woodlands Tavern in Llanvair Discoed, near Caerwent. We were blessed with good weather once again this year. The seven-strong group followed country lanes, including one called The Cwm (with its eponymous house), before the ascent of Gray Hill began with a steep climb. A flattish stretch through fields allowed us to recover our breathe, before a long, steady pull took us to the the woodland edge just below the ridge; both of the Severn Bridges could be seen from this viewpoint. The stone circle and the two standing stones, which line up with the rising sun on the winter solstice, were then visited before we descended from the hill, to follow a very muddy bridleway back to the pub, where an excellent lunch was taken.

At the AGM and lunch in November 2014 it was agreed that Steve Monaghan would continue as Group Leader.
The membership fee remains unchanged at £1.00, but is now levied per person, rather than per household as previously.
One walk attracted 11 attendees and another 10 participants. No walks were lost to the weather. Five members attended 7 out of the 12 walks, with the longest being 9.3 miles. Congratulations (and prizes) went to John Andrew, Keith Kennett, Marian East, Sue Collier and Bob Collier.
Finally, a prize was awarded to Bob Bevington for leading the walk with the longest stop (2 hours and 5 minutes).

The weather proved kind yet again for the October 2014 walk, which Bob Bevington led from the Portobello House car park, near Ogmore-by Sea. The route took the group past the Mari Flanders's Well, onto Ogmore Down and eventually down to the Watermill Inn for lunch. The afternoon section of the walk was a looping circuit to Merthyr Mawr, via the historic New Inn Bridge, to cross the river by the stepping stones near Ogmore Castle(where one of the party decided to have an impromptu dip in 3 feet of water!). Eleven members participated in the walk.

On Rudry Common At the edge of a disused quarry

With overnight rain, thunder and lightning, the prospects for the September 2014 walk looked poor, especially as the early morning dreariness seemed to herald a wet day. How wrong can you be? Within 30 minutes of setting off from the snack bar at Caerphilly Mountain, the four walkers were taking off coats and the leaders, Steve and Val Monaghan, were regretting the decision to wear overtrousers; by the end of the 6 mile walk shirt sleeves were on show. The route went to Rudry Common via The Warren and Parc-y-Fan woods, followed by a climb onto the Ridgeway for a high level return with views over Caerphilly. Lunch was taken afterwards at the Black Cock.

The view over Barry The weather was again kind for the August 2014 walk, which was led by Penny Jarvis and Marian East. The party of 9 (which included one guest) started from the Star Inn at Dinas Powys and followed tracks and fields to Wenvoe, being treated to panoramic views over Barry en route.

Penny, Marian and two of the "girls" A field near Wenvoe One of the Salmon Leaps

After crossing the A4050 by a footbridge, the group made its way to the small village of Michaelston-le-Pit, where we passed the picturesque Salmon Leaps (a series of weirs on the small Wrinstone Brook). One tall walker did try to knock himself out by failing to spot a low, substantial branch overhanging the path as we neared Dinas Powys, but he recovered sufficiently to enjoy lunch in the Star.

Previous walks

Dates for your Diary
Thu Oct 8 Walk to be led by Judith Nunn and Claire Fawcett
Fri Nov 20 Walk to be led by John Andrew
Thu Dec 10 Walk to be led by Bob and Sue Collier

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