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 …

Wentlooge – the sea wall and the levels

This 12.0 mile walk started, with our bus passes at the ready, at the Central Bus Station where we got onto a bus that took us through parts of Splott and Tremorfa I’d never seen before, before letting us off at Pengam Green. As we walked past the Waste Collection Centre on Lamby Way, I think we both wondered what we’d let ourselves in for on this stage of the Wales Coastal Path.

We of course, had another wonderful walk, meeting a threesome who were walking the Path in similar fashion but using a car at one end and then a bus to the other. Indeed one of them told us he was a curator at the Sambrook Village Museum and offered to make us a cup of tea if we should visit on a Friday (see reference to this here).

The Wentlooge Levels are a twitchers dream. Loads of wading birds, some kestrels and loads of goldfinches. The saltmarshes have these creeks and there’s evidence of an age-old method of fishing.

You walk past the golf-course and see this lake before you arrive at The Lighthouse Inn, near St Brides, which was our planned lunch-time stop. Let’s just say we enjoyed our lunch. The friendliness of the bar maid was just great.

All along the walk you came across inlets such as these where the drained marshes have a controlled flow out to the estuary.

Finally, a really pleasant surprise of the walk were the wildflowers we saw along the way …

… and here’s the Google Map of the walk …