Tarquin's cycling pages

19 November 2005 - Tongwynlais forest

WhereTongwynlais forest
(Brecon Beacons and South Wales)
Date19 November 2005
Duration2 hours
Distance8.5 miles (~14 km)
WeatherWarm sunshine, cold air
Trail conditionsWet ground, muddy in places
Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones 25 GT LTS 2000 (TWJ)

Trip report

Description by Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones

This was more of a scouting exercise than a bike ride. I had been looking at some arial photographs of the area, and noticed some paths right behind our house. So I pointed my bike towards them.

The paths led into the area inside the motorway junction. As if the motorway junction itself was not complicated enough, the paths weaved in and out of it, sometimes splitting into several routes, and rejoining later. I circled around inside it for a while, making sure I learned all of the paths, and in doing, discovered a quicker way to get on and off the Taff Trail, avoiding a long uphill.

Rejoining normality at Tongwynlais, I turned right, up the slope to the hotel development. I discovered the footpath behind it, and remembering that a "footpath" is actually a "public right of way", I hoisted my bike over the stile, and into the fields beyond. A buzzard appeared overhead, but flew away as soon as I got out my camera (three times...).

See pictureSee pictureI passed through two fields of horses before the ground became too soft. Not wishing to damage someone else's field, I walked the bike to the next section of path, which quickly joined civilisation, and a road. Some locals informed me that I had reached Rhiwbina, and if I had carried on along the path, I would have probably seen several vipers. I would have to return to photograph them.

See pictureSee pictureRetreating back to the hotel, I found the path continued above it, into a forest. A fox barked at me from behind a gate then ran as soon as it realised I was not another fox. The path descended gently, then branched. I took the branch heading up into the forest. A gully developed beside the path, deep enough to hurt, then suddenly ended. Above it, the path continued upwards in a drainage ditch, weaving like a bobsleigh run. At the top, it flattened out, with several different routes available, including one heading out towards Fforest Fawr, and several with branches laid acrss the path for training horses in jumping. I would return here.

See pictureI turned around, and sped back down the bobsleigh run. The occasional patches of mud and stones made it difficult to keep control, but that's all part of the fun. Sadly the run ended too soon. I rejoined the main path, and took the other branch. This passed the end of the gully, before emerging in Tongwynlais. I returned home, passing the buzzard (and failing to photograph it) one last time.

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