Distance: 14 km
Grade: a long walk but moderate difficulty, mainly good paths
Transport: Caerphilly is on bus services from Cardiff, Pontypridd and Blackwood and train services from Cardiff and Rhymney. Pontypridd bus station is ¾ km S of the end point of the route: buses from Cardiff, Rhondda, Merthyr, long distance and local services. The railway station is 1.5 km from the end point: trains to Cardiff, Merthyr, Aberdare and the Rhondda. See http://www.traveline.cymru/ for details.
From Caerphilly Castle, follow the waymarked Sustrans Route 4 (the ‘Three Castles’ route). The cycle route goes through the park to the left of the castle moat, crosses Crescent Road, through the car park, up a ramp and under the railway line. There’s a rather awkward wiggle through the housing estates and across a main road, then round the backs of more houses, through the park and more back streets to the road up Caerphilly Mountain.
At ST 13808 86046 cross the road and turn right then left to keep on the cycle path
At ST 13744 86051 the cycle path turns left. Go straight on, rejoin the main road and walk up to the Penrhos roundabout. There is a VERY difficult road crossing to the left of the roundabout.
At ST 13528 86319 take the waymarked path ahead: you are back on the line of the Ridgeway. The path rejoins the Groeswen road. (Ths is a very unsatisfactory bit of the route but there isn’t a viable alternative – and it does take you past the cafe at the garden centre.)
At ST 13324 86350 turn right up Gypsy Lane. (The Ridgeway is waymarked through a kissing gate and across the fields in the angle between Gypsy Lane and the Groeswen road but it is impassable in wet weather – knee-deep mud across the access to one of the gates. You can try it in dry weather; otherwise, keep to the road.) At the top of Gypsy Lane turn left and walk along a slightly bigger road to Groeswen.
At ST 12746 87003 (opposite the entrance to the car park of the White Cross pub) go up steps to a kissing gate. Walk diagonally to your right across two fields.
At ST 12884 87464 cross the stile in the top corner of the field. Turn right and follow the hedge around the field.
At ST 12773 87702 cross the gate into the open moorland. Follow the edge of the field to your right then bear left with the track to walk over Mynydd Meio. Walk under a line of pylons.
At ST 12037 88074 you meet the great Senghenydd Dike, the boundary of the deer park belonging to Caerphilly Castle. Medieval peasants would not have walked through the park! Keep the boundary to your left.
At ST 11581 88316 bear left towards the trig point (magnificent views from here). Continue on the same line past the trig point and down a steep slope to rejoin the road.
At ST 11085 88341 turn right and walk along the road to Eglwysilan.
There is a footpath from Eglwysilan down towards the top end of Pontypridd but there are several problems with stiles and waymarks, and part is currently so heavily overgrown that it really isn’t walkable at the moment. There are alternatives – one going SW from Ffynnon Rhingyll, one going straight down hill just before the pub in Eglwysilan and through the quad bike track to the cycle path. Both involve a lot more road walking. The other alternative is to stick to the road past Eglwysilan and turn left at Penheol Ely: this is as far as we can see the medieval route but it’s all road.
For the route as we’ve walked it in the past: go past the church and churchyard.
At ST 10635 89081 take the waymarked footpath to the right. Follow the churchyard wall then bear slightly to the right to cross the fence (there has been a stile but the step has gone; it’s waymarked but only in the other direction). Keep on the same line and walk across a very marshy field and down the bank (very wet and uneven underfoot).
At ST 10368 89080 cross the footbridge. Turn left and follow the path which gradually climbs the bank. When you reach the top, follow the fence.
|Caerphilly to Pontypridd|