Tarquin's cycling pages

25 September 2013 - Taff Trail Deviations

WhereTaff Trail Deviations
(Brecon Beacons and South Wales)
Date25 September 2013
Duration2 hours 40 minutes
Distance22 miles (~35 km)
WeatherBecoming cloudy
Trail conditionsDry single trail and tarmac
Chris Poole 41 GT LTS 2000 (CP3)
Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones 33 GT LTS 2000 (TWJ)

Trip report

Description by Mark 'Tarquin' Wilton-Jones

Although this ride largely followed parts of the Taff Trail, we managed to add enough extra points of interest, and even some challenging single trail, to make it feel like a proper ride.

Starting in Whitchurch, in north Cardiff, we located some challenging single trail routes near the Glamorganshire Canal nature reserve and Forest Farm sites. With the daylight already failing, it would have been sensible for both of us to have some powerful lights, but as we are generally daylight riders, we made do with a single set of borrowed lights. The single trails eventually spat us out onto Longwood Drive, where we picked up the Taff Trail to pass under the M4.

Now on the Taff Trail, we headed into Tongwynlais. The Taff Trail has old and new routes from here, so we took the old route, up to Castell Coch. The driveway up to the castle is steep, but we both stayed on the bikes to the top car park. From there, a footpath climbs up to the forests above, where Chris outshone me on his new LTS 2000, by remaining in the saddle all the way up. At the forest track above, we left the Taff Trail, heading to the right through Fforest Fawr. After finishing the climbs, and nearly at the far car park, we turned around, and began enjoying the lengthy downhill. The daylight had almost disappeared, and the lights were on, for me at least. Chris continued to follow, trying to keep the red glow from my light in sight.

Passing the path down to Castell Coch, we remained on the main track, and sped down the steepest path of the day, avoiding the odd walkers who loomed out of the dark with their dogs. Now with the thrill of the speed, we tried to keep the pace up on the railway line that followed, using my lights to see the way, skirting Craig yr Allt, then dropping down to join the new Taff Trail. We followed this to the right, away from Cardiff, forking left and crossing over the A468 at Nantgarw, then curving right through the housing estate to regain the main trail.

Several miles of old railway line later, passing many others, including a Polish woman cycling in the dark (she did not want to rely on the lights of strangers, perhaps wisely), we reached Glyntaff, where the route joins and follows the A4054. With only one set of lights, we used pavements to avoid the road, until the Taff Trail heads down a side street to the left, to reach the A470 Pontypridd roundabout.

After a quick look at the revised roundabout layout for cyclists, we paid a visit to the nearby supermarket, where Chris decided to go shopping. On his bike. Riding up the long travellator onto the shop floor in direct view of the supermarket security guard, who didn't even bat an eyelid. Business as usual in the South Wales Valleys, eh?

Our route then returned the same way to Nantgarw, but from there it follwed the new (lower) Taff Trail all the way down to Taff's Well, as lengthy downhill. With lights only on my bike, Chris did most of this in the darkness, following my silhouette to try to keep on track. He'd had plenty of practice by now.

At Taff's Well Station, we took the road towards Cardiff, but then turned right almost immediately, back into Taff's Well. A footbridge on the left then took us into Gwaelod-y-garth. At the Pentyrch road, we turned left, using pavements to avoid the roads, and headed into Morganstown. At Pugh's Garden Centre, we took the road through the centre towards the Old Station House, then right into the playing fields. On the diagonally opposite corner of the fields, a small path took us onto the Gelynis Farm road. We followed it left and over the railway, then over the iron bridge to reach the Taff Trail. Here we turned right to pass back under the M4, then ahead-left back onto Longwood Drive. We took this up the long hill to the left, then took the footpath to the left of the supermarket, to reach the top end of Whitchurch, and the end of our route.

Home page
Trip list
11 October 2013
02 October 2013
25 September 2013
18 September 2013
22 June 2013
08 September 2012
02 June 2011
12 March 2011
23 January 2011
12 June 2010
08 November 2009
15 October 2009
10 October 2009
19 August 2009 No. 2
19 August 2009
16 August 2009
17 July 2009
25 October 2008
30 July 2008
29 July 2008
13 July 2008
22 March 2008
02 February 2008
10 November 2007
28 April 2007
16 December 2006
12 November 2006
05 November 2006
29 July 2006
23 July 2006
15 July 2006
01 July 2006
22 June 2006
10 June 2006
04 June 2006
01 June 2006
20 November 2005
19 November 2005
13 November 2005
05 September 2004
21 August 2004
16 August 2004
27 June 2004
20 June 2004
21 March 2004
14 March 2004
08 February 2004
17 January 2004
20 July 2003
Rider list
Bike list
Contact me
See my caving site

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict, CSS, JavaScript and DOM!