Tarquin's cycling pages

22 June 2013 - Taff Trail from Cardiff to Abercynon

WhereTaff Trail from Cardiff to Abercynon
(Brecon Beacons and South Wales)
Date22 June 2013
Duration3 hours
Distance25.5 miles (~41 km)
WeatherOvercast with occasional light rain and strong winds
Trail conditionsDamp tarmac
Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones 33 GT LTS 2000 (TWJ)
Nicola Brankley 34 Scott Aspect 60

Trip report

Description by Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones

Most of this route has already been covered in the Taff Trail from Cardiff to Brecon and back ride, but as a few sections have since been improved, these were picked up to see the progress of the route improvements.

From Cardiff, we took a route past Forest Farm to pick up the Taff Trail. From there, we followed it up the valley, via Tongwynlais, Taffs Well, Nantgarw and Rhydyfelin, to the Glyntaff Cemetery. At this point, there is the first improvement; where the route once went down a very narrow alleyway, it now uses a proper path along what was once a car park, to lead directly onto the cemetery road.

From this point, it follows the roads as before (cyclists can use a dedicated crossing to cross the main road if it is too busy to join it directly, but still need to cycle on the road after crossing it). At Pontypridd, it still follows the double cul-de-sac road to reach the horrendous A470 roundabout, but there is a minor change here that makes a massive difference. Cyclists are no longer expected to compete with cars for the right to use the roundabout; instead, they now follow the pedestrian crossings to the left, nearly heading into Pontypridd centre before crossing that road and heading back into the Trallwn estate's one-way system. The crossings are all marked up as pedestrian crossings only, but the Sustrans stickers show that cyclists are allowed to use them too.

The Trallwn estate section ends back on the old path, running along the banks of the river, ending at the Albion Industrial Estate. From here, the route used to head to the right, out of the estate and left onto the A4054, beside the speeding cars, to turn left into Abercynon. There is a big change for the better, however. At the industrial estate, a path on the opposite side of the estate lane runs along the edge of some playing fields, then turns left to pick up a path between the industrial estate and a rather smelly sewage works. This ends at some houses in Abercynon, and the old Taff Trail route is then met at the B4275.

This is where we turned around, following the old Taff Trail route to the right, and along the frighteningly fast A4054, with at least one car whistling past at over 70 MPH (in a 60 zone, of course). At Trallwn, after following the weird figure-of-8 route through the one-way system, there is a minor change near the end, where a lane to the right leads out directly to the first pedestrian crossing on the Pontypridd road.

Back at Tongwynlais, we used some of the many paths inside the M4 junction 32 to get back into the city, and the start of our route, bypassing Forest Farm.

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