Tarquin's cycling pages

11 October 2013 - Taff's Well and Gawelod-y-garth Loop

WhereTaff's Well and Gawelod-y-garth Loop
(Brecon Beacons and South Wales)
Date11 October 2013
Duration1 hours 20 minutes
Distance10.5 miles (~17 km)
WeatherOvercast and windy
Trail conditionsDry tarmac and track
Chris Poole 41 GT LTS 2000 (CP3)
Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones 33 GT LTS 2000 (TWJ)

Trip report

Description by Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones

See pictureSee pictureThis is intentionally only a short ride, just north of Cardiff. It started in Whitchurch, heading along the same basic route as the Cardiff to Nantgarw route. Starting in Whitchurch, we used the cycleways through the M4 Junction 32 to get into Tongwynlais, and pick up the Taff Trail. We took the lower route through Tongwynlais, using the cycleways to get around the A470 roundabout and onto the A4054 into Taff's Well. We then took the second right, still following the Taff Trail, to reach Taff's Well station, nestled between the Garth Hill and Craig yr Allt.

See pictureSee pictureAt the station, we left the Taff Trail, which heads up a dismantled railway line on the right. Instead, we turned left at the first roundabout, and then continued ahead at the next roundabout. Just before the road ends at a T-junction, we took a cycleway on the left, which swings right to reach a road. At the other end, the cycleway continues past some playing fields, eventually ending at the Nantgarw roundabout.

See pictureHere we took the road to the left, using the pavement on the right at first, and switching to the left as soon as possible. The road soon becomes a dual carriageway through an industrial estate. After some distance, the road bends right. Just before this, we took the last industrial road on the left, which soon ends at a bridge over the Taff. Crossing the bridge, we took the first path immediately afterwards on the left, ascending some steps to a small lane.

See pictureWe turned left on the lane, passing the Treforest Estate train station. The lane eventually passes under the railway to reach a junction. We turned left, climbing up to reach some houses. Opposite the houses, we turned right onto a forestry track.

See pictureSee pictureThe track climbs steadily in a zig-zag with some good views of Cefn Eglwysilan and Mynydd Meio. After cresting it becomes a good downhill, which ends at another rise, turning into more of a path than a track. At the next crest, we continued ahead through a gate, to reach the road.

See pictureSee pictureAt the road, we turned left, down the hill to a junction. Turning right here, we then took a footpath on the left. This descends stupidly steeply, zig-zagging very tightly down to some steps leading down into a subway. The subway ends at a bridge over the Taff, followed by some further steps. Continuing ahead when it reached a lane, took us out to the main road, where we turned right. Although we would end up taking the first road almost immediately on the left, we first took a detour down the first road on the right. A park and small building here contain Taff's Well, the only thermal spring in Wales, which maintains a temperature normally above 20 C, about 10 C above regular groundwater.

Back to that road that had been on the left. It ends at a footbridge over the railway. On the other side, we turned right down a dirt track, which became a tight path running along the edge of the railway. At the end of this, we had reached the second roundabout near Taff's Well station. From there, we took roughly the same route back to the start of the ride as we had used on the way out, but using some different cycleways through Junction 32.

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