In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

  • Location: Trefil
  • Distance: 8 miles
  • Description of this walk: Grab a pint at Nye Bevan's favourite watering hole before moving on to explore the dark tunnels of the Chartist's cave.
  • BBC Disclaimer: The Weatherman Walking 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.
  • Download the map of this walk: Print off and follow in Derek's footsteps (PDF 1.2MB)

Tafarn Ty Uchaf - Top House pub

Trefil used to be a two pub village with an inn either end of the tram road that ran through the community - now there's just one, this one, the Top House (it's at the top of the village).

Here's where the walk starts and ends and it makes for as nice spot for pint and a pub lunch to finish the day off properly.

Be warned it's not always open during the week but if you can get inside, check out the old photographs and paintings that lay out Trefil's history.

It was also a favourite watering hole of Nye Bevan's too and his picture hangs in pride of place at the bar.

The Duke's Table

A weird one this, it's a circular green mound with an outer stone ring.

Locals believe that it was once a picnic table for the Duke of Beaufort who owns much of the land here and regularly brought down shooting parties to the area to hunt the local Grouse.

Next to the table is a clear water spring that's never been known to run dry - even in the harshest summer drought.

Nye Bevan Memorial Stone

Take a right here and head for the mountains to do a shorter (but still very rewarding circular route) or head for the trees (like we did) and follow the old Bryn Ore tram road to find Nye Bevan's favourite Welsh view.

It's a cracker and shows why some claim that Blaenau Gwent is the real gateway to the Brecon Beacons Park!

Bronze Age Burial Cairn

A monster of a burial cairn (one of the biggest in Wales), watch your step as you clamber up the sides for an awesome panoramic view of the mountain's and the stunning bare headed tops of the famous valleys.

On a summer's day it's a vibrant patchwork of lush green, bleached limestone and big blue skies while in autumn and winter it's beauty is bleaker and the mists make for a stranger, more timeless atmosphere.

This cairn is the best place to on a day like that when the weather strips the few remnants of the 21st century away from the hills and transports you back through time. It's eerie but in a good way!

The Chartists' Cave

Arguably one of Wales' most important historic monuments, this cave is where workers hid, met in secret and plotted the Chartist Uprising - the beginning of democracy for all in Britain.

The movement was eventually snuffed out (with extreme brutality) after it flourished into an armed uprising in Newport in 1839.

The cave has a small memorial sign outside and you can go inside it - just watch your step.

The main chamber can accommodate 20 or more people quite comfortably but there are smaller, narrower tunnels that lead off from it - and they should be avoided at all costs. These are for serious, professional cavers only.

In fact one team of explorers found human remains down (three mutilated skeletons) in the tunnels but opinion is divided over who they were.

Some believe they were the bodies of informers, executed and hidden in the cave by the Chartists.

Others think that they could've have been actual Chartists, shot by the soldiers in Newport during the armed struggle and brought back to Trefil by their co-conspirators.

Whatever the truth it's a very evocative place and is yet another treat on this packed route, which is a real walk through time.

Trefil Quarry

Fittingly for a walk packed with history we finish it with a wander through Wales' largest scheduled ancient monument.

This is a wild and abandoned canyon of a place with a "Wild West" feel to it. You can still see the old marks of the tram line sleepers in the path and it's a great place to explore and soak up more of that rugged and eerie Trefil atmosphere.

First opened in 1819 the quarry had a lifespan of exactly 100 years, closing in 1919 although the industry is still part of the villages everyday life.

As you exit the site you'll see the perimeter fence of a current working private quarry - although obviously this is private property and definitely not open to walkers.

From here, you drop down to the main road and then it's an easy amble all the way back and should take you no more than ten minutes to stroll back to the Top House pub.

Article written by Julian Carey - Producer on Weatherman Walking.

This walk featured in Weatherman Walking, Series 3 on BBC One Wales in February, 2010.

Weatherman walking map

BBC Wales Nature - walking map

Explore Wales

Follow in Derek's footsteps as he walks through stunning locations in Wales.


Trefil quarry

Trefil photos

Take a look at the photo gallery which accompanies this walk.

Nature and outdoors blog

Discover all sorts of things to see and do around Wales' great outdoors, with wildlife and walks to the latest weather updates.

Derek Brockway

A taste of summer

Last week most of Wales enjoyed a taste of summer. At the ...

By: Derek Brockway

Your current UK location is Cardiff

Multiple locations have been found.

Please refine your location by choosing a place name from the list.

Sorry, no results were found. Please try again.

Weather for Cardiff
Sunday Monday Tuesday
Conditions sunny




sunny intervals

sunny intervals

Max Temperature Max: 16°C Max: 13°C Max: 13°C
Min Temparature Min: 10°C Min: 8°C Min: 6°C

Five-day forecast

Breathing Places

Find breathing places near you:

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.