Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes &
Webmaster, Angus McDonald
Last updated 9.07.04
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Parc Slip Walks
Park Slip is a large nature reserve, not far from Bridgend. There are three short walks around the reserve and one longer one of just over 10 miles.There are toilets at the Visitor Centre but no other facilities. To get to Parc Slip if coming from the M4, leave at junction 36 heading towards Aberkenfig. As you pass the Fountain restaurant turn right across a level crossing and the buildings and car park of Parc Slip nature reserve are a short way up the road on the left. Road map to start, noting the circle is North of the actual location.
For route-finding Explorer 151 with the long walk going briefly into 166.
Short Circular Walk
A babbling brook in the reserve
This circular route, mostly on level trackways, gives you a chance to see the main features of the reserve.
Go through the brown gate to the left of the buildings to enter the wetland area, the path continuing with a waterway on right. After a few minutes you come to a pond on the right, at which point take the stony track to the left. When you meet a main track turn right along it, passing one path junction off to the left. When you come to a ‘layby’ on the left you will find a bird hide in the trees from which there can be good views of waders and other birds. After visiting the hide carry on along the track, passing a metal gate on left and a junction to the right. The track crosses a stream. Immediately after this turn left by the wooden post through a little wooden gate, the path descending with stream to the left. Pass a wooden bridge on left, your path eventually crossing a bridge with pond to the right. Turn left down the tarmac track and then left at the bottom to cross a wooden bridge. You can either carry on along the tarmac track or 40 yards after the bridge take the footpath to the left via a wooden stile. The path rises then levels. After a few hundred yards turn right between wooden posts where the sign reads ‘Butterfly Ride’. The path descends to rejoin the tarmac track. Continue left along it. As the path curves to the left note the memorial to the miners who perished in the Parc Slip disaster. The path eventually meets a wide stony track. Pass a metal gate and head right along the track which brings you back to the car park. (1.88 miles, 40 mins).
Bee Orchid seen on this walk.
Short Walk to Tondu Ironworks
A there-and-back walk to visit Tondu Ironworks, now a Heritage Site.
Leave the car park and cross the road to take the tarmac track opposite. Stay on the track as it immediately curves left. After a little under 5 minutes stay on the tarmac track as it curves left, two other tracks to the right. The track descends through woodland, zig-zags and becomes a boardwalk. Later the track becomes tarmac again. Just under 15 minutes after setting off you will see a prominent metal sign on the right of the path pointing left to Tondu Heritage Park. Follow this direction and after 20 yards take the right fork towards a building. Pass to the left of this building across a bricked area and take the zig-zag path down which brings you to the entrance to the old ironworks. There is a visitor entrance. Retrace your steps to the Parc Slip car park. Total walking time around 35 minutes.
Another Short Circular Walk
View of pond from the bench
A gentle circuit in a different part of the reserve to the first circular walk.
Leave the car park and cross the road to take the tarmac track opposite. Stay on the track as it immediately curves left. After a little under 5 minutes, just after passing a narrow stony track to the right and as the tarmac track curves left, keep straight ahead and follow the wide but rougher track, later curving steadily to the right. You pass a bench with fine views down over a pond to the left. After passing a huge boulder you come to a double wooden gate by a road and information board. Turn right along a narrow path with wire fence on left, the road beyond. At a metal footpath sign by a stile, turn right, crossing a wooden bridge and follow the path as it winds up through the trees. When you meet a stony track turn right and this brings you back onto the wide tarmac track from earlier. Turn left along this to return to the car park. Total walking time around 25 minutes.
From Parc Slip this circuit takes you up onto the ridgeway and then returning via Bedford Park and through the Parc Slip nature reserve. The going is fair but there may be some muddy patches after rain.
Leave the car park (SS 88148/84169) onto the road and turn left, walking along the grass verge to a road junction. Cross the road and head up the lane opposite signposted Cwm Risca, ascending steadily. Pass a footpath off to the right and just before the lane curves left take the stony track on the right. After 30 yards turn right following the sign marked Ridgeway Walk. Go through a metal gate and head up a track. After 100 yards turn left across the grass towards a small wooden gate, the first gap in the hedge. Go through this and head slightly left towards another wooden gate. After this keep ahead to a stile set in a wire fence with a sign saying ‘please keep to edge of field’. The right of way goes across the field but turn left round the edge of the field, passing a metal gate and heading up the field towards the top left-hand corner where you cross two stiles close together. Head left along a broad grassy track for 50 yards, then where it meets a rough track turn right uphill to pass through the left-hand of two metal gates. (22 mins, SS 87877/85306)
On the ridgeway
Turn left immediately after the gate to head along the left-hand edge of a field towards a ladder stile. Cross this and turn right along the right-hand edge of the field towards a barn and another ladder stile. Cross this and turn left down a broad track passing a plantation on the left. When the track curves right, head left passing a metal gate on right towards a transmitter. At the top turn right across a stile following the Ogwr Ridgeway walk sign. Keep ahead with wire fence on left. As the route starts to descend, cross a wooden stile with wire fence now on right which brings you to another stile by a road. The last field contains the wildflower, Yellow Rattle, indicating untreated meadow. (42 mins, 1.83 miles).
The woods in bluebell time
Head right along this road for around 15 minutes until you reach conifer plantations on either side - you will have passed the highest point of the walk at 242 metres. Just after reaching the plantation on the left, take a track to the left through the trees – this point is often marked by illegally dumped household items (1 hr, SS 85492/86863). The clear path through the trees descends initially then curves right and levels – this next section can be muddy after rain. The track curves left, gradually descending – ignore side paths to the right – bringing you to a junction with a wide stony track and quarried stone ahead. Turn left for 30 yards but before crossing the stream turn right to continue along the lower path for 5 minutes with the stream just to your left. At a junction of paths (1 hr 28 mins, 4.42 miles, SS 85098/86111) take the right fork which heads uphill. At the top, on the edge of the woods, turn left along a path which soon starts to descend gently and brings you to a wooden gate by some farm buildings. (1 hr 42 mins, 5.11 miles, SS 85089/85256).
Go through the gate and keep ahead between buildings to follow a tarmac lane which brings you to a road. Cross this to pick up the footpath opposite which goes along a drive into a farm passing a wooden gate and then a bungalow on left. At the far end take the stile by a metal gate to enter a field. Cross another stile after 100 yards by a metal gate the path descending to a stile to the left of an electricity pylon and alongside another gate. Continue in the same direction downhill but after 200 yards and before you enter a grassy field, the track curving away to the right, turn left into another field and then keep to the right-hand edge of it – an old hedgerow on your right. After 40 yards turn right into the trees and then left following the remains of an old sunken track in the middle of the trees. Although it can get quite overgrown, you should be able to make out a route, passing old stone walls, and with the stream to your left. Cross a wooden stile and then a second one, then going slightly left, then right. through a boggy stretch. Keep going between the hedgerows until you reach a lane. (5.79 miles, 2 hrs, SS 84097/85259)
Turn left down the lane. Pass a house on the left, the road curving to the right and crossing a stream. 30 yards after the stream, take the footpath to the left via steps and a wooden stile and keep straight ahead across the field. As you get to the first farm building on your left, cross the stile by a metal gate and turn right down the drive to reach a road. Turn left but after 30 yards cross the road to take the footpath to the right along a cinder and stony track between fields. The track eventually comes to a stile by two metal gates. Cross the stile and keep ahead across the field towards a gap by a railway line. Go up some steps, through a kissing gate to cross the line with care – this is still a working line – then slightly left on the far side to drop down via a gate by a kissing gate and along a path through trees to reach a road. (2 hrs 22 mins, 6.89 miles, SS 84150/83583).
Cefn Cribwr Ironworks
Turn right up the lane into an area of housing. Just before the yellow house on the left, turn left down Little Station Road. Ahead of you are signs for Cycle Track Number 4 and to the left a footpath. You can take either route as these run parallel for most of the rest of the walk, the cycle track providing a flatter tarmac surface, the footpath more varied but occasionally muddier underfoot. The route described is the footpath which brings you into Bedford Park – keep ahead along this path. An opencast mine is to your left, clearly visible further on along the path. Shortly after this you will see a stream to your right and then the old buildings of the Cefn Cribwr ironworks. Cross the stream via a bridge and then follow the path to the right initially alongside railings and ascending steadily. At the top there is a more open area with picnic tables. Turn left along a stony track which winds through the trees passing an information board on coppicing, then a wooden stile to a junction of paths. Turn left into a car parking area, which also has toilets, to reach a road. Turn left down the road, passing a building on the left. Go under a railway bridge. (8.15 miles, 2 hrs 45 mins, SS 85468/83624).
The pond in the reserve
Turn right, again with the choice of tarmac cycleway or footpath for about 15 minutes. Eventually you reach a wooden gate by a metal gate. Cross the road and head along the cycleway, you are now back in Parc Slip nature reserve. Pass a pond on the left, the track curving right and then left, the railway line on your right. After 40 yards take the stile on the left, following the path through gorse, and turn right at a sign ‘Butterfly Ride’. Descend back onto the cycleway and continue left. As the track curves left note the Parc Slip memorial on left. The path eventually curves right passing a metal gate to meet a stony track. Head right along this to return to the car park at the Visitor Centre. (10.33 miles, 3 hrs 30 mins).
Parc Slip miners' memorial
Map of Long Walk