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.

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

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Symonds Yat East was the starting point for the June 2016 Long Walk, led by Steve and Val Monaghan, but, as in September 2015, there was a twist to the usual custom, as coffee was taken before the walk. Just as the group of five were setting off, one walker's vehicle was found to have a flat tyre, so departure was delayed until the spare had been fitted.

The offending tyre! Ferry across the Wye The group crossing the Wye

Half an hour later, the party crossed the Wye on the hand-pulled rope ferry, operated by the nearby public house, to Symonds Yat West. The route followed the river downstream, passing the site of the New Weir ironworks, and then climbed gradually through woodland, via an old limekiln, to reach the Little Doward Iron Age hill fort.

At Little Doward limekiln Studying the limekiln info panel White Park cattle in the hill fort Picnic in the Little Doward hill fort

Lunch was taken here in the company of a group of White Park cattle, who were peacefully chewing the cud. The prehistoric Cave of King Arthur was visited on the return leg of the walk, before the river was recrossed using the Biblins pedestrian suspension bridge (a deer was spotted near here).

White Park bullocks prehistoric Cave of King Arthur At the cave entrance Crossing the suspension bridge

The old railway line was then followed back to Symonds Yat East to complete the 7.0 mile circular walk. As it had been a hot, sultry day, some of the party partook of tea and cake at a local hotel before returning home.

There was indifferent weather (gloves worn by some) for the May 2016 walk, which started from Dyffryn Gardens (now under National Trust stewardship). The route took the group of eight, led by Rhys Morgan (June had gone to Cambridge for the day), firstly to the impressive Tinkinswood burial chamber and then on to the one at St Lythans, with its fine cromlech, over 6000 years old. It was distinctly warmer by now and coats were removed by most of the party.

The group at Tinkinswood burial site At the Tinkinswood burial Chamber The group at St Lythans burial chamber
Part of Wenvoe Wood Returning to Dyffryn Gardens

Wenvoe Golf Course was skirted by the group as they made their way to the "Horse and Jockey" pub in Twyn-yr-Odyn for lunch. There is a memorial to quarrymen here, but this was by-passed through ignorance of its existence! A return to the starting point from the pub, through pleasant countryside, completed a 7.1 mile walk.

The April 2016 walk took place on a day when the weather forecast promised a lot of rain, but it proved to be better than feared, with only light precipitation at times. The group of four, with leader Jim Bostock, set off from the Navigation Hotel in Abercynon and followed the historic Trevithick Trail, the route between the Penydarren Ironworks and the Glamorganshire Canal, where, in 1804, Richard Trevithick's experimental locomotive hauled the first train to carry a load (of 10 tons of iron and 70 passengers).

Tramway track stone in use as a gatepost View up Taff valley from tramway The tramway crosses the Taff valley

At the notable Pontygwaith bridge, the decision was made to continue, despite the showers, to Merthyr Vale (this town proved to be the most litter-strewn part of South Wales some of us had ever seen; fly-tipping seemed be be norm).

Mature tree The Pontygwaith bridge
A canal bridge - but no canal in sight! The "Giants Bite"

The return leg of the walk followed the course of the Glamorganshire Canal, although little remains of the waterway now. The total length of the walk was 9.5 miles.

Penny Jarvis and Marian East had proposed to follow the St Hilary NE Circular route as their Long Walk in March 2016, but, because of all the rain in the previous weeks, they decided to check beforehand that there was no flooding, what the mud was like, etc. Bad move! Conditions were such that Marian broke a thumb in a fall and was not, therefore, able to lead the walk on the day. Important information had been obtained however. The fields around Tim Vaughan’s Pant Wilkin Stables were now so muddy that an alternative route was needed – fortunately, permission to walk through the stable yard was sought and granted.
The whole party of 9
On the day, the group of 9 walkers met, in fine weather, at the “Bush Inn” in St Hilary, with Penny the sole leader now. The walkers thought themselves lucky to find that the field they had to cross, which had a large “Beware of the Bull” sign, was in fact empty of both cows and bull!

Rest stop at Pysgodlyn Mawr Lake At Welsh St Donats Church

A short drinks stop was taken at Pysgodlyn Mawr Lake in Hensol Forest before the group continued on their way, spotting a nuthatch in the trees as they emerged from the forest, before following the road to Welsh St Donats. The Pant Wilkin stable yard was traversed as planned and they rejoined the intended route up the hilly valley side and on through Hollybush Farm. Next came the crossing of the A48 and then the party headed over St. Hilary Down to arrive back at the starting point. The walk was 8.5 miles and took about 4 hours.

The well-known Captain Scott memorial in Roath Park was the starting point for the February 2016 walk, which was led by Judith and Colin Nunn on a day that proved to be dry, sunny and warm.

Setting off from the Roath Park memorial Walking through Nant Fawr Woods The lookout over Llanishen Reservoir Lisvane Church

The route took the party of 9 from the popular park to the Llanishen and Lisvane Reservoirs site, via the 100 acre Nant Fawr woodlands, which provide a wildlife corridor between these two open areas. A coffee stop was made at the "Black Griffin" pub, which is directly opposite the 13C Lisvane church - fortunately, stone and wooden flooring in the hostelry meant very muddy boots weren't a problem!

At Llanishen Reservoir - in the sunshine The return leg

The return was designed to ensure the group made circuits of both the reservoirs and Roath Park on the 6.6 mile walk. A late lunch was taken at the "Three Arches" in Llanishen.

There was an excellent turn-out of 13 (trying to use up calories after Christmas over-indulgences?) in early January for the first walk of 2016, which was led by Claire Fawcett and Keith Morgan. The group started in Llanharry and the 7.5 mile circuit included City, Penllyn and Llansannor, with snow being seen on the hills on a cold day.

The Group about to set off Between City and Craig Penlline Another January 2016 view

A welcome lunch was taken at the end of the walk in the "Fox and Hounds" in Llanharry.
extended January 2016 Report

The weather forecast was for very heavy rain all day, so it was with some foreboding that an intrepid group of seven met at the "Bryn Owain" near Cowbridge for the December 2015 walk. Fortunately, the precipitation was not nearly as bad as predicted.
Trerhyngyll and Maendy Halt 1959 & 2015
Bob and Sue Collier led the party past The Clump, down the "Roman road", then along a lane to Aberthin and onward to Maendy, where there was a welcome refreshment stop for sherry, coffee and cake.

Walking down the Roman road Refreshments on the walk! The way to do a Long Walk! In Aberthin

The route then took the group to Welsh St Donats and, from there, back to Aberthin. The last section of the walk was across the edge of Stalling Down through Llanquian Wood to return to the starting point, where lunch was taken - some of the men partaking of pints of "Rocking Rudolph" after their 7.6 miles trek.

After a few weeks with substantial rainfall (meaning very muddy fields!), it was at least dry, if overcast, on the day that John Andrew led a walk of 8 miles anticlockwise around Cardiff Bay in November 2015.

"Love me or leave me alone" sculpture "People like us" sculpture seagull.jpg
Scott Antarctic Memorial sculpture The group at Cardiff Bay

As well a viewing some of the sculptures en-route, the group of 9 saw great-crested grebe and a heron, as well as a variety of seagulls. Thanks to one walker's local knowledge, there was time for a coffee stop part of the way round in the pleasant Deck coffee house, which is hidden down a side street near Cardiff Bay police station.

At the AGM and lunch in November 2015 it was agreed that Steve Monaghan would continue as Group Leader.
The membership fee remains unchanged at £1.00 per person.
One walk attracted 11 attendees and another 9 participants. Only one walk was lost to the weather. Three members attended 5 out of the 11 walks, with the longest trek being 10.0 miles. Congratulations (and prizes) went to Jim Bostock, Keith Morgan, Marian East, Penny Jarvis, Claire Fawcett and Judith Nunn.

There was excellent weather for the October 2015 walk; it could hardly have been better. The meeting place was the car park of the Green Dragon Inn (unfortunately, yet another closed Vale hostelry) in Llancadle. The leaders, Claire Fawcett and Judith Nunn, took the party of 9 down into the marshy valley, across the River Kenson and then over the fields used for the Vale of Glamorgan Show; Fonmon Castle was glimpsed through the trees. The group descended through woodland to Fonmon Pool, before skirting Cardiff Airport to reach Rhoose.

Crossing a stile near Fonmon Castle The group at Fonmon Pool Fonmon Pool

A café provided a welcome coffee stop here. The walkers then went south to join the coastal path, passing the impressive ruins of a lime kiln at East Aberthaw and traversing the woodland of the Nature Reserve, en-route to the ancient Blue Anchor Inn, where lunch was taken.

The old lime kilns At the Blue Anchor Inn Also at the Blue Anchor Inn

The walk along the coastal path was then resumed, to skirt the Power Station and cross the River Thaw, before turning inland towards Gileston. The derelict Boys Village was seen to the right, as lanes and fields were used to reach the busy B4265, which was followed for a short distance before turning off to return to Llancadle. The total length of the walk was 10 miles.
Additional information for October 2015

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.

Ogmore in the rain Ogmore in sunshine watching choughs

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.

Previous walks 2014

Previous walks 2013 and earlier

Dates for your Diary
Fri Aug 19th Walk to be led by Keith Kennett
Fri Sep 9th Walk to be led by John Andrew
Fri Oct 14th Walk to be led by Steve and Val Monaghan
Fri Nov 11th Walk to be led by Penny Jarvis and Marian East
Fri Dec 9th Walk to be led by Linda Cox

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