National cycle network route 47 (Maesycwmer to Trelewis)
What isn’t there to enjoy about the freedom of cycling along a leafy, sun dappled, safe cycle track?
Well, the section between Maesycwmer and Trelewis is just that.
From Gellihaf House, you can safely cycle along a quiet section of pavement until you reach the Bryn Meadow roundabout where you join the National Cycle Network route 47. This route covers an area of South Wales between Newport and Fishguard and is 128 miles in total. https://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/route-47
The little bit of it I cycled one summer evening is mostly covered by trees giving a dappled shade, with some areas of open space. It’s perfect for a sultry summer evening.
The route takes you through some industrial heritage, starting with the Maesycwmer viaduct where you can stop and take in the wonderful views up and down the Rhymney Valley. You can just about see Gellihaf House from the northern side of the viaduct.
At the end of the viaduct, heading west is Hengoed railway station. Here you will find little clues that Gren, the famous Welsh cartoonist was born here. If you haven’t seen his artwork, make sure you seek out some examples. He managed to capture welsh life perfectly.
You’ll see some fine examples of houses along the next part of the route demonstrating how wealthy this area was at the height of the coal industry.
Before too long you’ll be crossing a road, just watch the traffic! However, you’ll be back on the track quickly and before you know it after a little ‘up, down and under and back up’ you’ll find yourself in Penallta Parc. This really is quite a wonderful area of parkland, with open spaces, gladed areas, fishing ponds (which you cycle past) and the amazing land sculpture of ‘Sultan’ the pit pony. You’ll have to take a detour off the route to look at this land sculpture, but there are plenty of maps dotted around to keep you orientated. You will get some great views at the top.
Back on route 47 and continuing to head west, you cycle in parallel to the railway. It’s pretty flat, so if you’re not used to cycling, you’ll manage this easily.
There are a few twists and turns but soon you’re nearing Trelewis. Around this area, you’ll begin to see more of the coal-mining legacy. An iron archway leads downwards where coal seams have been defined by brick paths across the track and a marker showing the name of the seam and its depth. You will then reach a bridge spanning a tributary of the Taff. I headed back home at this point but you can carry on a short way and join another cycle network, which takes you south to Cardiff. This is the famous Taff Trail. So for the fittest of you, maybe a spot of lunch in Cardiff Bay if you’re feeling up to it.
My round trip was 18km. Just about enough for an evening ride.
Your hosts, Catherine & Howard