Home Town and Huw Tom

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Weatherman Walking, Series 5 Episode 3 of 4

Duration: 30 minutes

Weatherman Derek Brockway heads off on two contrasting walks at opposite ends of the country.

First, he goes back to his roots with a walk that starts in his home town of Barry and takes him from the old docks along the coast road to end at Rhoose Point, the most southerly point on mainland Wales.

Starting from Penmaenmawr on the North Wales coast, Derek then takes the Huw Tom Trail through the foothills of Snowdonia's Carneddau Mountains to the picturesque village of Rowen above the Conway Valley. But just who was this Huw Tom character?

  • Barry Docks to Rhoose Point walk

    Barry Docks to Rhoose Point walk

    In this walk Derek returns to his roots with a walk that starts in his home town of Barry and takes him from the old docks along the coast to Rhoose Point, the most southerly point on mainland Wales.

    This 8 mile walk begins at Barry Docks train station.

    Head towards the old Barry Docks Offices, passing a statue of David Davies - a Welsh industrialist and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1874 and 1886.

    He was also responsible for the construction of the docks at Barry which in turn led to Barry becoming an island in the 1880s

    The next stop on this walk was St Baruc's Chapel, which sits in a shady wooded area above Jackon's Bay.

    He drowned returning from Flat Holm Island by boat and his body is buried here. Pilgrims subsequently began visiting in large numbers during Medieval times.

    The route then takes you down to the quiet sandy beach of Jackson's Bay, passing the yacht club as you make you way towards Nell's Point where a large Butlin's holiday camp once stood.

    Beyond is the long sandy beach at Barry Barry Island fun fair, renowned in Wales for its kiss-me-quick-atmosphere, fair rides, cafes and arcades.

    Derek couldn't resist calling in at Marco's Café which featured regularly in the BBC One comedy series, Gavin and Stacey.

    The route then takes you past Friar's Point - an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and one of the best examples of calcareous, cowslip dominated hay meadow in South East Wales and around past the old harbour.

    After crossing the causeway you'll turn left and head down to the old watch tower and onto Cold Knap beach.

    Head right and up onto the headland towards the Golden Steps and Porthkerry Country Park with its wonderful viaduct - built in the 1890s to carry coal to Barry Docks.

    Arriving at the park you'll turn right and walk along the pebbled beach towards an Iron Age settlement known as the Bulwarks Camp.

    From here turn left into Porthkerry Caravan Park which also featured in the BBC One Comedy, Gavin Stacey and walk towards the entrance to 'Lower Quarry'.

    A coastal track to your right now takes you along the rugged limestone cliffs to Rhoose Point, marked with a upright four metre obelisk and stone circle.

    If you walk up past the stone circle onto the cliff top, you'll get nice views along the coast to Aberthaw and it's also worth taking time to explore the lagoon here which is surrounded by wild orchids and other rare plants.

    Continue along the coastal path for a few hundred metres then turn right, uphill along a field boundary to a railway crossing besides Rhoose railway station, off Torbay Terrace to return to Barry and Cardiff.

    Find out more about this walk
  • Penmaenmawr to Rowen walk

    Penmaenmawr to Rowen walk

    This 6 mile linear walk starts in Penmaenmawr near Conwy and heads up into the hills following the Huw Tom Upland Walk before dropping down into Rowen village.

    Penmaenmawr lies between Conwy and Bangor on the North Wales coast.

    It's renowned for its spectacular mountain and coastal walks as well as the nearby Bwlch Sychnant (Sychnant Pass) and Mynydd y Dref, and the town also lies partly within the Snowdonia National Park.

    The walk begins a few hundred yards west of the town centre where you'll find some old terraced houses known locally as the New York Cottages on the main Bangor Road.

    These houses were built for local quarrymen at a time when many were leaving the area in search of better working prospects in America.

    Heading down past old quarrymen's terraced housing you'll pass under an old quarry conveyor and move onto higher ground overlooking the sea, east towards the Great Orme and west to Anglesey and Puffin Island.

    Passing Graiglwyd Springs Fishery you'll arrive in open countryside and after a short walk, passing Plas-Uchaf farmhouse - arrive at a kissing gate leading to Mountain Lane.

    From here the walk steepens as you make you way up to the Jubilee Pillars below Foel Lus.

    The pillars mark the start of the Jubilee Path which opened in 1887 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

    Continue straight up a steep track hugging the side of Foel Lus towards a marker stone and Huw Tom's Upland walk.

    From here it's an upland walk through some stunning Welsh landscape, passing abandoned old settlements, intricate stone sheep pens and ancient tracks taking you through the heart of Druid country.

    Passing through a shallow stream, you'll emerge below the Iron Age hill fort of Caer Bach.

    A little further on and you'll arrive at the house where Huw Tom once lived as a boy and walked from each day to his job at the local quarry.

    Huw became an important, influential figure in Welsh public life from the period of the Attlee government and became the first chairman of the Council of Wales and Monmouthshire in 1949, producing important reports on devolution.

    He famously declined an invitation to be knighted at the Investiture of the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle in July 1969.

    The walk now leads downhill towards the idyllic village of Rowen but not before passing Maen y Bardd - an impressive Neolithic burial chamber set back from a Roman track leading down into the village.

    Rowen village stands on an old drovers' route which once took cattle from Anglesey all the way to the cattle markets in England.

    Follow the road down the hill and at the junction in the village, turn left and walk down past the Ty Gwyn pub.

    A little further on, next to a small footbridge spanning the river is a slate plaque commemorating Huw Tom's life - 'Hewn from the rock, Welsh Patriot, Trade Unionist, Socialist, Author'.

    The bus stop and car park taking you back to your car are situated a little further down the road on the left hand side.

    Find out more about this walk

Credits

Presenter
Derek Brockway
Producer
Gareth Rees-Rowlands
Executive Producer
Christina Macaulay

Broadcasts

Maps and route information

Weatherman Walking map

Print off a walking map and route description for the walks featured in the series.

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