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 March 2015 walk commenced in the village of at 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.

Keith in the Tresilian Bay cave entrance The weather didn't force the cancellation of the July 2014 walk, but it did cause it to be shortened to 5.5 miles. It was so hot that the leader, Keith Kennett, decided that his proposed route plan would risk dehydration and so the group took the bus from Llantwit Major to Marcross, not St Brides Major, the original destination. The party of 6 (plus one guest) followed the coastal path back to Llantwit, via the Nash Point lighthouses, Atlantic College at St Donats and Tresilian Bay, where a large cave was investigated as the tide was out. There was also time for a short history of St Illtyd's Church from one of the greeters there, who happened to be another Cowbridge U3A member, Denise Worsfold.

Previous walks

Dates for your Diary
Fri May 8 Walk to be led by Jo Ilsley
Sat Jun 6 Saturday 6 - Tuesday 9 June 2015: Weekend away break with Wednesday Walking Group
Fri Jun 19 Walk to be led by Rhys and June Morgan
Fri Jul 24 Walk to be led by Keith Kennett
Thu Aug 27 Walk to be led by Bob Bevington
Fri Sep 18 Walk to be led by Bob and Sue Collier
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 Steve and Val Monaghan
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