Capital Walk – Wenvoe to Llantrisant Road

A short walk this week, constrained by builders (on my part) and family commitments (on Alec’s). Still we managed to clock off another 9.7 miles of the walk around the boundaries of Cardiff, moving at a pace (on average) of 2.6 mph.

As is our way, Alec and I met at the Central Bus Station to catch the bus out to Wenvoe to pick-up where we’d left off a couple of weeks previously. Weather was great – forecasted to be the best of the week, as it indeed turned out to be – and we were looking forward to an interesting walk across land neither of us had trod previously.

We were following the walk description on Cardiff Ramblers website, which it has to be said was going to be difficult for this stretch because, even before we’d walked a single step, I’d identified a couple of pieces of the walk that I’d found hard to translate on to the OS Explorer Map.

We started in Wenvoe Village, just by the Church walking up Wallstone Road to its end. A footpath on the left then takes you up beside a disused quarry and then by way of good broad tracks until you get to the Wenvoe Transmitter mast. This dominates the Cardiff skyline – you can see it from everywhere – but I’d never been so close to it before.

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Just past the mast the metalled road becomes an undulating and swampy green track – it was not to be the only test of both of our new boots today.

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Crossing the A48 we walked across the field to a stone stile, and then (as directed by the waymarked post) along the crest of the ridge through the Natural Burial Meadow and towards a stile at the westernmost part of the field, dropping down the slope a little as we walked.

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Crossing this stile, we walked across the next field heading north and ignoring two other exits to our left, for another stile at the bottom of the field, to enter a copse which it soon became apparent is used for providing refuge for game birds. The path then leads clearly through the woods, gradually losing elevation until you enter another field. It was here that we lost the described track completely. Somehow managing to walk across the fields to Drope Farm, rather than cut the corner and go straight to St Georges-super-Ely.

Reaching St Georges (the Greendown Inn is now closed), we initially missed the stile on the right of the road opposite the Inn, we headed for the bridge across the Ely and under the Cardiff-Swansea mainline.

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Here, we turned left after we’d crossed the river, but a turn right might have better to have avoided a marshy field and a really swampy disused railway track. The disused railway track took us back to meet the mainline where we dipped under the M4 link-road from Culverhouse Cross and then climbed back up to start our walk across another really muddy field towards St Fagans. We reflected after about 10 mins that it might have been better to have walked up a slight rise to a gate on our left to exit the field on to the Museum entrance road, rather than struggle through the mud.

Still a visit to The Plymouth Arms for lunch was the incentive to press on, and this was achieved without too much pain. Taking my boots off and drinking a couple of pints of Tribute and eating a Chicken and Leak pie certainly revived me!

Leaving St Fagans to the north we took a footpath on the left to rejoin the Walk skirting the boundary walls and then the fences of the National History Museum as we did so. A walk along a splendid avenue of beech trees (yes Alec they WERE beech trees, and no Alec I can’t find another word to better describe them than “avenue”) took us out on to splendid parkland.

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A walk across a field past a solitary oak (and Alec, can you see the white sheep?) took us on to St Brides Road where we were impressed by the hedge trimming along the side of the road, not realising we were about to meet the person responsible for the work when we left the road and started the walk across more muddy fields towards the Stockland Farms.

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The end of the walk was near. We followed the metalled tracks up to the Llantrisant Road and waited for the 122 bus to pick us up and take us back to Cardiff. Great walk. Great company. Lovely weather. Muddy boots and trousers (mine at least, Alec had tucked his inside his socks). Next time it’s gaiters before I start!

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A slideshow of the whole Capital Walk can be seen on Google+ Photos (Picasaweb) here. and the OS map of our walk is shown below.

Capital Walk – Swanbridge to Wenvoe

Having completed the first stage of our Wales Coastal Path walk, Alec and I had to decide what to do for the next few weeks. We calculated that it would be possible to do The Gower legs using public transport from Cardiff as day trips, but were persuaded that a more realistic option would be a local stay for three nights, and four days walking – this would also be good preparation for the Pembrokeshire and mid and North Wales stages, as well as Alec’s proposed attempt at the Offa’s Dyke long-distance walk. But not just now …

So this is what we came up with. The Capital Walk is a walk around the boundaries of Cardiff – a collection of Cardiff Ramblers walks connected together to make a semi-circular walk of c.38 miles. How many legs/stages we do it in rather depends on our respective fitness. Currently Alec is suffering issues with his foot; whilst my ankle is much better at the moment. Such is life! This walk allows multiple bailing-out places so is well suited to our respective difficulties.

So after meeting-up at the Central Bus Station it was the 08:59 Bus 94 that took us through Penarth and Cosmeston to drop us at Swanbridge X-roads. A short walk down to the coast saw us arrive at high tide – I’d never seen the causeway completely covered, and of course it was a very high tide indeed.

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Turning our back on the Captains Wife (we’d had unfortunate memories of stopping there before on our WCP walk, we headed off for St Mary’s Well Bay and Cosmeston Park.

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The weather was to stay fine throughout the walk and we quickly walked past the Medieval Village, the Lakes and on to the long track that leads up to Old Cogan Hall Farm. It was then a short walk through Murch to get to Dinas Powys where we headed for Mill Lane and the track past the castle and Woodland Trust plantation which took us to a newly harvested field of maize (surprising how many cobs are missed by the equipment) and on towards Michaelstone-le-Pit.

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We now walked up past the fish ponds which are locally known as the Salmon Leaps and into the woods which climbed slowly towards Wrinstone Farm.


Capital Walk - 1 (5 of 6).jpgIt was during this stretch that Alec’s foot (and ankle) was beginning to seriously trouble him, and all thoughts of trying to get to St Fagans, or further, were put on hold. The target destination was Wenvoe, the distance walked – about 8 miles.

Capital Walk - 1 (5 of 5).jpgThis we achieved and so we sat down in the Wenvoe Arms for a few beers to recover and while the time away – after all we didn’t need to be back for a little while :-). A very happy and pleasant afternoon was had putting the world to rights and chatting with the new landlord who’d only taken up the tenancy at the beginning of the week. It would be interesting to go back in 6 months and see what changes might have happened. There’s a very regular bus service back to Cardiff from Wenvoe, so we didn’t have long to wait for a bus home.

So on to next week and again a short walk from Wenvoe heading towards Llanilltern and the A4119 I suspect will be our destination, possibly Pentyrch – we’ll see. It would be nice to think we could get up and over The Garth and get to the Gwaelod, but I suspect that’s not on.

The Google Map of the walk is shown below – just use the sliders to navigate and zoom in on parts of the walk.