Capital Walk – Graig to St Brides

So this walk with Alec marks the end of our mini-project. Taken-up last year after we’d finished walking from Chepstow to Mumbles on the Wales Coastal Path (of which, hopefully, more later). If you read the account of the last walk you’ll have noted that we did it in the “wrong” direction.

This time we reverted to the walk as described on the Cardiff Rambers website and picked-up the walk on the top of The Graig (again after a helpful lift from Jenny) and headed along The Ridgeway towards Ruperra Castle. Once again however we didn’t exactly take the described path – failing to go through Coedcae Woods and ending up at Rudry by the Maen Llywyd. For once we actually passed a pub by, it being a bit early – even for us!

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Ruperra Castle is somewhere we’d visited last year as well, but we hadn’t seen this view of it taken looking back as we headed towards Michaelstone-y-Fedw. It would be really great to think that it could be restored but in practice it would take an awful lot of money.

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Just down from the castle at Home Farm we came across some sheep shearing …

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… and a little further on a field of young cattle …

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… who were very interested in us! The view looks across to Mynydd Machen which we’d walked across last year when we walked from Risca to Pontprennau.

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We stopped for mid-morning pork pies on the lane that led down to the Draethen – Michaelstone road. On a bit further across Michaelstone Bridge and then across the fields towards the M4, A48(M) and A48. We followed the Rights of Way very carefully, even at times risking getting lost in the fields we walked through.

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With the M4 crossed by a footbridge …

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… and then the A48(M) by way of a subway …

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… we arrived in Castleton where we crossed the A48 and headed south across the Wentlooge Levels towards St Brides after a break for lunch when I produced a couple of bottles of Brains’ Barry Island Ale. I’d suspected that we might be caught “out in the open” on this walk!

It was here that we encountered some of the grand houses and estates that you find just east of Marshfield. This one caught our eye. Not just for the G (for Gelli ber) that was on every gate, but also for the “thoughtful” demarcation of where the Public Footpath crossed the driveway. You’ve got to laugh!

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The last stretch took us besides the Reens that drain the Levels, and across the main Cardiff to Paddington railway line …

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… until we reached our destination. The coastline at Outfall Cottage from where we strolled back up the Coastal Path to reach the Lighthouse Inn – a place we’d visited last year.

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Just to finish off this series of descriptions of the Capital Walk which we did in 5 easy stages … a short video of the Paddington train. We’d only just remarked on how quiet it was, and how we hadn’t heard or seen any trains. We reached the bridge over the main line just in time for this …

The route we took …

Capital Walk – Graig to Taffs Well

Resuming our walking after Alec’s trip to NZ, we picked-up the Capital walk where we left off … or rather we didn’t. We decided to reverse the first stage of the walk and aim to end up where we’d finished last time – at Fagin’s Ale and Chop House at Taff Well. Graig2Tongwynlais (1 of 7)I can’t think why we did this way round, other than it ensured we finished at one of Alec’s favourite pubs!

It certainly made the navigation from the printed instructions on the Cardiff Ramblers website a little bit more difficult to follow and it’s fair to say we did this leg of the walk rather more to the spirit, rather than to the letter, of the walk – taking in two diversions along the way. OK – we got lost once!

Graig2Tongwynlais (2 of 7)So we persuaded Jenny to take us up The Graig, past the Ty Mawr, and drop us off at the top – neat move eh!

The walk then took us west along the Ridgeway for a couple of miles and through lovely woodland before we dropped down towards Caerphilly and The Warren.

Graig2Tongwynlais (3 of 7)It was here we missed the path, but we navigated ourselves up through the nature reserve to the A469 where we crossed over onto Ridgeway Golf Course and then back along The Ridgeway over towards Rhiwbina Hill.

It being about lunchtime, it would have been criminal not to have looked in on The Black Cock – just to see what they were serving and to check whether their beer was up to scratch, so to speak. So we did!

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We then decided to not follow the printed route but to continue north-west and on to Craig-yr-Allt. Neither of us had been on this hill and so it seemed an excellent choice as an alternative to walking through Fforest-fawr which we both knew reasonably well. It also afforded the opportunity of some views over towards The Garth, Tongwynlais and Taffs Well.

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By this time the morning sun had given way to hazy light and so we didn’t spend too much time enjoying the view – we just plodded on to reach Fagins. A c.11km walk – a good stretching of the legs after a few months of inactivity. I manged to delete the GPS track, so have re-created it here – it might not be a totally accurate record of our walk.

Needless to say the refreshments at the end (although we were too early for food) were worth the walk and after checking on the bus timetables [we’d missed the bus the last time we were in Taffs Well which had meant we’d HAD to go back for another pint, or was it two] and catching the bus, we returned to Cardiff with me picking up some f&c from Birchgrove on the way home.