Tarquin's cycling pages

15 October 2009 - Caerphilly and Machen Loop

WhereCaerphilly and Machen Loop
(Brecon Beacons and South Wales)
Date15 October 2009
Duration2 hours 15 minutes
Distance11 miles (~18 km)
WeatherDry, night time
Trail conditionsDamp dirt track and roads
9 others Unknown Various
Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones 29 GT LTS 2000 (TWJ)
Peter Wilton-Jones 30 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp

Trip report

Description by Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones

This night ride was arranged by Castle Bikes in Caerphilly. Those of us who had not done much before could hire lights. The route is completely unfamiliar for me and it was night time, so I may make mistakes with directions. There are (obviously) no pictures.

Starting at Castle Bikes, right by the Caerphilly Railway Station. Go past the station to a little roundabout. Turn left, then right at the next one, to go past the business park. Follow the road out to the forest. As soon as you see a small gated parking area in the forest on the left, head into the forest there, and take the bridleway up on the right side of the parking area. Follow the bridleway (it becomes a single track soon enough), ignoring a fork on the right, then another on the left, then turn left at a T junction. It twists around then breaks out into the open, where you want to hang right to reach the parking and picnic area on Rudry Common.

Take the ugly dirt track heading down to the left, and stick with it as it becomes a great single track descent, twisting and turning before a short climb picks up the lanes at Garth Place. Watch out for the odd rocks (I failed, threw myself off the bike, and tore a muscle in my shoulder in the process - hurts, btw). Follow the lanes to a junction with a larger road. Turn right, and continue to another junction with a larger road at Rudry. Turn left to arrive at the Maenllwyd Inn.

Turn left, and continue to a junction with a track on the right. Take that, and continue most of the way to Penhow Farm. At the last left bend, hop into some forestry tracks on the right. From here on, there are a million different ways through the forest, some on forestry track, some on single track. We took a single track on the left early on, to cut off a junction in the forestry track. We then followed the forestry track as it swung down to the edge of the forestry (look on the OS 1:25'000 map), then took the single track footpath just after that, that stays within the forest. This is perhaps the best downhill of the route. At a junction of several paths, we turned left, then right to break out of the main forest, skirting the edge of some houses to arrive at a lane. On the way, apart from the usual odd crash, someone managed to break their light, and it was - literally - bandaged in place to allow them to finish the ride. A few went back to look for them, adding some waiting time at the end of the lane, at the bridge to Machen.

Cross the bridge, turn left, then follow the cycle route to the right between houses. Cross the main road and climb up the lane on the other side, pass under the bridges, and take a left to join the old dismantled railway line.

At Trethomas (signified by a massive sculpture made from railway signals), turn left and head back down to the main road. Pick up a path down into the Rhymney Valley walk on the other side, and stick by the river, heading to the right. When the walk reaches the main road again, cross a small bridge over the river to the left, and head back down the opposite bank through some houses. Turn right when you reach the road by Mornington Meadows, left at the junction with a larger road, and then right at the school. Take paths that reach the Porset Brook, head through the supermarket car park, and pick up the main Market Street running in front of the castle. Turn left, then take a road to the right to arrive back by the bike shop.

Given that this trip report is definitely incomplete, I'd suggest you go on one of the rides arranged by the bike shop instead of following this.

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