Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The Glamorgan Ridgeway and extensions East and West

The carboniferous rocks of South Wales are folded in the shape of a basin. Along the southern edge this results in a harder limestone and sandstone standing out as a long ridge behind the the city of Cardiff, extending to the east and west, cut by valleys through which rivers, roads, railway lines and the remains of canals pass. The Glamorgan Ridgeway is a footpath that follows this ridge, however it starts not at its beginning of the ridge but some way along at the town of Caerphilly and heading west. The Rhymney Valley Ridgeway walk continues east along the ridge and joins the Sirhowy Valley walk, which starts in the town of Newport. Consequently, to walk the length of the ridge I started in Newport.

South Wales is blessed with good transport links, although the Welsh Coal mining industry is now part of history, it helped protect the rail network when passenger services were being cut in the 1960's, and is now actively growing in extent (although there are plenty of abandoned industrial lines that now make good walking and cycling routes). These railways mean I can base myself in Cardiff and access the sections of the Glamorgan ridgeway using train and bus connections.

Being a ridgeway the path offers some fine views to the south across the Vale of Glamorgan and Bristol Channel, it also passes a number of historic castles in various states of preservation. There are several pubs and tea shops on route.

For this blog I covered the route in three days covered by the posts below. Four days is a lot more realistic and I normally add an additional stop at Llantrisant. The route can be shortened further by changing where you join and leave the path. Each blog describes the maps needed and a link to the Wikiloc site where a gpx file can be downloaded for a gps.

Newport to Caerphilly

Caerphilly to Tondu

Tondu to Port Talbot

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