With lockdown restrictions lifted, we’re now able to get further afield to explore our wonderful countryside – hooray!
But unless you pack a smidge o’ imagination in your kitbag, you’ll find yourself crawling along the same motorway-like paths to those well-trodden honeypots as the rest of the world and his dog. Boo!
There are so many beautiful trails to discover – often surprisingly close to home, as many found out during lockdown – where you may see only a soul or two for miles. Next up in my ‘Quiet Walks’ series is Caerau Hillfort at Rhiwsaeson, a gorgeous spot just a stone’s throw from the busy A473 bypass between Pontypridd and Llantrisant that most locals have simply, er, bypassed without realising it’s there. Here’s what you need to know!
Start: ST 0654 8388 / Brynteg Green, Beddau, Pontypridd
OS Map: OS Landranger 170
Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: One hour+
1. Park at Brynteg Green, just off the B4595, and follow the road west (away from the B road). The houses thin out and the road bears away from the estate; don’t follow the blue signs marking the cycle path but stay on the road, walking alongside the metal barriers on the bridge over the Church Village bypass.
2. Follow the road left, towards Rhiwbrwdwal Farm. The road climbs uphill before petering out and becoming a footpath leading to the woods. Take care to stick to the path to the right of the farm – it’s easy to walk through the farm gates by mistake!
3. At the top of the footpath, pass through the gate into the woods and bear left, with the trail climbing gently uphill. You’re now on a section of the Taff Ely Ridgeway Walk and the woodland is spectacular in May and autumn!
4. Before long, another gate leads onto open land. Look right – that’s where we’re heading! This section is extremely steep, but very short and well worth the effort. At the top, walk anti-clockwise around the perimeter of the hillfort, taking in the views over Llantrisant and, on a clear day, across the Bristol Channel. You can see why this spot was ideal for spying the enemy approach!
5. Before quite completing a full loop of the hilltop, follow a rough footpath dropping downhill between a few trees, heading eastwards (the larger Garth hill, ahead, is a good marker). Keeping to the edge of the field out of courtesy, follow the field downhill until you can again pick up the marked Ridgeway footpath, which bears south east towards a lane and a farm.
6. Go through the kissing gate and follow the lane left. It climbs briefly uphill before levelling out and descending again. Continue north past another farm and through an underpass below the Church Village bypass.
7. Shortly after the underpass, a cycle path heads left, away from the lane. Follow this a few hundred metres back to the B4595. There’s no pedestrian crossing, so keep children and dogs safe until you can cross safely and return to Brynteg Green.
You can find the full route on Ordnance Survey’s OS Maps here. Let me know how you get on!
This trail goes through working farmland and deviates from the marked footpath, so it’s essential to keep dogs on leads. Please take all rubbish home with you, leaving this beautiful place as you find it for others to enjoy as much as I do!
To find a quiet walk of your own, check out Ordnance Survey’s Greenspaces, a fabulous guide to the lesser-known fields, parks and nature reserves near you.