Derek Brockway and Kerry Rees out walking

Page Two

As an experiment, this walk was done using a GPS device. I've included key GPS marker points should you wish to follow them.

7. Crossing the Rhondda River

Bridge over the Rhondda River

At approximately 51.70215° N, -3.56172° W
Head across a fairly new looking metal footbridge and turn left at the faded waymarker. Take care on the bridge as it can be slippery underfoot when wet.

Head up the valley via a narrow grassy track, clambering over rocks and heather whilst keeping river on your left - passing large boulders (which wouldn't look out of place in a western) on your right.

This section of the walk is incredibly scenic and makes a nice change from all the conifer forests you'll have passed earlier. Old stone walls, over hanging trees and a fast flowing river are a visual treat but what lies ahead is even more spectacular.

Pass through the old iron gateway

Heading through the old iron gate

A little further up you'll come to a river crossing in the shape of narrow concrete walkway with water flowing underneath, so tread carefully. Once you've crossed over - follow the track down to an ornate, rusty iron fence and gateway.

51.70328° N, -3.56612° W
Head through the gate and down towards a footbridge which takes you over the river, near a large stone weir. You'll now be on the opposite side of the river bank.

8. Pool & waterfalls

Nant Melyn waterfall and the pond

A little further on and you'll arrive at a pond that the stunning Nant Melyn waterfall flows into. In summer time this pond is full of frogs.

To your right is another waterfall that cuts down through a narrow valley, just below a conifer woodland which apparently can also be accessed but there is no direct trail to it.

If you're feeling daring, you can cross the weir via a concrete walkway but don't slip off. Once across you can get a closer view of the crystal clear pond and waterfall and it's a nice spot to eat lunch.

Retrace your footsteps back to the iron gateway. We passed through a gap where the iron fencing had collapsed and went north up the valley following the natural flow of Nant Garreg Lwyd.

The terrain here can be tricky with long grasses, soft ground and rocky boulders of all shapes and sizes. The river to your left also helps keep the ground a bit damp in places. There are no obvious walking markers here but you can see where others have been before you.

9. Rocky steps

Stone pathway leading up the hillside

Eventually you'll come to a walking post at the end of the track near to a rocky hillside with stone steps cut into it. We turned right and began the ascent up the hillside.

The walk up is fairly steep and overgrown, so take your time and follow the zig-zag trail up through the heather. You'll see another walking post halfway up and this is a great spot to stop and look back at the views.

Kissing gate

51.706676° N, -3.561068° W
You then have a steep climb up through grassland towards the A4061 - Rhigos Road. Derek and Kerry have a peck at the kissing gate If you're feeling tired, you could in theory end your walk here - as there is a car park opposite where you could leave a car or arrange to be picked up from.

Just walk through the kissing gate and cross the road carefully as there's a nasty bend nearby.

10. Iron Age settlement

51.70580° N, -3.56001°W
We carried on, so walk past the gate and down the hill - following a grassy track passing the Iron Age settlement known as Hen Dre'r Mynydd.

Hen Dre'r Mynyd

The settlement is now in ruins but you can clearly see where the round stone buildings once stood - although quite why anyone would want to farm here is anyone's guess, as the sloping ground is barren and rocky.

The walk opens up drastically now as the valley widens - offering stunning views over the sites of two old coal mines - Blaenrhondda Colliery (North Dunraven Pit) and Fernhill Colliery.

51.69766° N, -3.55616° W
The flatter, greener area in the middle used to be the location of a Wild West theme park in the 1980's - hard to imagine now but there are a few sheep still scattered about.

Car wrecks

An old car wreck

You'll quickly dip down below road level, following a gentle, stone track across the occasional mountain stream. Along the way you'll pass rusting, old car wrecks which have been pushed over from above - insurance scams apparently.

Every once in a while, a clean up team complete with helicopter come and remove them but some of the more inaccessible ones have been left and now provide shelter for local wildlife.

You'll find signs of the old coal industry all along here and it wasn't long before we found an old slag heap, littered with real-life Rhondda coal.

Rhondda waterfall views

Views looking back over towards the Rhondda River and waterfall

There's a great view from up here of some of the walk you've just covered. You can make out the River Rhondda below along with a waterfall that you couldn't previously see from above.

51.70275° N, -3.55504° W
Our guide, Kerry informed us that you can actually walk behind this waterfall via a different route and that there is also an old steam train boiler down there - left behind after the mines closed.

Rocks strewn either side of the track

The track now heads leads up a slight incline and you'll find yourself walking through what resembles a quarry with rocks strewn either side of the track.

Whether this is man made or natural rock fall is unclear but despite the areas scarred terrain - nature does flourish here.

We spotted a lone kestrel hovering below us in the wind as well as feral goats, buzzards and the occasional raven. You'll also find plenty of wild flowers and butterflies here in summer.

11. Rhigos Road watchman's hut

51.70059° N, -3.55323° W
The main road is just above you now and we had a quick look at an old brick hut on the opposite side of the road.

Watchman's hut & art installation

A watchman was once employed to clear rocks from the road here after landslides.

Nowadays the cliffs are lined with metal gauze that prevents loose rocks from falling onto the road but the hut remains.

The watchman also collected rubbish and created a garden of colourful trees and flowers made from discarded plastic, behind his hut. Local school children have continued his work adding to the display.

51.69508 °N, -3.55037 °W
The track now splits into two with a trail following the road and other heading down to the right. Take the track that hugs the road and head down the hill crossing over a stream as you go.

12. Coldra Road

The Coldra Road track down

The trail leads onto a dirt road marked as Coldra Road on maps which snakes its way down towards the nearby town of Treherbert - lying in the shadow of Penpych.

51.691050° N, -3.55151° W
Along the road, another track appears ahead of you. Ignore this and keep left, around the bend and down towards the houses.

At 51.69002° N, 3.55247° W
At this point we turned left and walked down the concrete steps that are marked with way marker points. Follow these down a grassy trail and onto Cross Brooke Street and civilisation.

Concrete steps leading back down into the town

51.689062° N, -3.553242° W
Our walk finished here but to complete the circular walk back to your car (at Blaencwm woodland car park) walk straight down Brook Street in a southerly direction and onto Blaenrhondda Road for approximately half a mile.

End of the circular walk

51.68091° N, -3.55264° W Turn right and walk behind the nearby houses of Graig Y Ddelw.

The terraced streets in Treherbert

Follow a grassy trail back to 51.68015° N, 3.55762° W and take a right into the car park where we began.

When we visited - the car park shut at 6.30pm so bear that in mind and check closing times before setting off.

Article written by Martin Aaron, Interactive Producer on Weatherman Walking Series 4, BBC One Wales, January 2011.

BBC Disclaimer: The Weatherman Walking routes and maps are intended as a guide to the TV programme only. Routes and conditions may have changed since the programme was made. The BBC takes no responsibility for any accident or injury that may occur while following the route. Always wear appropriate clothing and footwear and check weather conditions before heading out.

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