Walking in Glamorgan, South Wales. Guided walks, routes &
Webmaster, Angus McDonald
Last updated 4.2.03
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Llanharan and the wind turbines
A classic circular walk of 9 miles, 15.5 Kms, along footpaths, trackways and an ancient ridgeway with fine views. You pass Bronze Age burial chambers, the ruins of an old church, old colliery buildings and a modern wind farm. Both the walking and route-finding are moderate but parts of the ridgeway can be muddy in winter and after rain. Shops, pubs, toilets and payphones in Llanharan but nothing en route. There are several places to stop along the ridgeway, the best being the rocky outcrop and the windfarm. Grid references are given for key points along with distance travelled and elapsed time – ‘hasl’ refers to height above sea level in metres.
The Llanharan Hunt around 1840
For a map to get to the start, click here. If driving from the Talbot Green/Cardiff direction, enter Llanharan village, passing the High Corner House pub on your right. As soon as the road curves sharply to the left take the second right turning down Chapel Road where there is a small public car park on the left.
Most of the walk is on OS Explorer 151, but briefly entering 166.
Much of the walk is upland, around 247 metres, 800 feet above sea level.
Turn right out of the car park (SS 00167/83090, 62m. hasl) back down Chapel Road and cross the road carefully towards the High Corner House pub. Take the lane alongside the pub, passing the church on your left and after 50 yards turn right into Church Terrace. At the end of the street go through the kissing gate on the left, into a field. Head diagonally up the field following the line of telegraph poles. At the top corner of the field take the wooden stile by a metal barrier and then head along the right-hand edge of the field with the plantation on your right. As you pass some large concrete blocks you may get glimpses of Llanharan House through the trees to your right. The path curves slightly left and drops down to a wooden stile by a stream. Cross this and continue along the right-hand edge of the field. Cross a wooden stile by a metal gate and at the end of the field cross another wooden stile by a metal gate. Now keep along the left-hand edge of the field heading towards some power lines with a metal road appearing to your right. In the left-hand corner of the field, cross a wooden stile by a stream and some holly bushes and continue along the right-hand edge of the field with the forest on your right and climbing steadily. Cross a wooden stile by a Beech tree, then pass a crumbling stone wall with small metal gate. If you look along the line of the wall to your left you will see some mounds by the forest which mark the site of an old quarry. At the end of the field take the wooden stile with stone wall on left and follow the path ahead which takes you into the trees. After 300 yards you come to a wide trackway with, on your left, a marker post with yellow rabbit, a yellow arrow and disc saying Ffordd y Bryniau (SS 02099/83931, 1.49 miles, 32 mins, 247m. hasl)
Turn left along this track, heading gently uphill. After 350 yards look out for a mound just to the left of the track and another 50 yards beyond, which are the Beacons. The path now descends gently and in the distance ahead you should be able to see the wind turbines. When the main track curves sharply to the right keep ahead, following a waymark direction down a narrow path between trees. The path drops and then levels to emerge from the trees by a wooden stile set in stone walls. From the stile head diagonally right and as you crest the hill aim for the wooden stile some 30 yards to the left of a metal gate. Cross the stile and aim for the electricity pylon ahead with double wooden poles. Pass a mound of stones to the right eventually joining a grassy track which brings you to a dilapidated wooden gate with a stile. Cross this and head right with wire fence to your right and descend to reach a metal gate in stone wall with waymark signs. Go through the gate and take the clear track to the left although if you want a break at the rocky outcrop just ahead of you go straight ahead up the hillside to it. (SS 00812/85047, 2.72 miles, 56 mins, 247m. hasl).
Left, the rocky outcrop. Right, 'God is Love'.
From the outcrop, drop down to the track and continue to the right with wire fence on left. Keep ahead through a rusty metal gate and then descend to another gate by a stream now heading uphill, the wind turbines reappearing as the track levels. To your right is a trig point by a large pylon. Go through a rusty metal gate, immediately cross a track and go through the left-hand of the two metal gates ahead. Come to another metal gate which you go through and then head left down this track towards a large pylon ahead. After 30 yards the ridgeway heads to the right BUT we are continuing ahead through a metal gate towards the pylon. (NOTE: If you want to shorten the walk go down this track to the farm buildings and resume the walk where it says below “ turn left to head along a broad grassy track with the farm buildings on your left” which reduces the overall distance by several miles). When you reach the pylon follow the wire fence to your right until you get to a small wooden gate. Go through, passing a pile of stones, and continue along the left-hand edge of the field, heading gently uphill towards the wind turbines. Looking down into the valley to your left you will see the buildings of Llanbad which we return through later. Pass the remains of a stone wall and then to the right you will see the ruins of the old church of St Peters super Montem. From the church and with the wind turbines to your left, head towards the wire fence ahead just to the left of the hillock and curve round the base of the hillock through a damp, rushy area to reach a small wooden gate that brings you back onto the ridgeway. (SS 99400/85399, 4.29 miles, 1 hr. 23 mins, 245m. hasl).
St Peters super Montem
Turn left along the ridgeway; this stretch can be quite wet, and pass through a new metal gate and then a gap in a wall. Keep ahead towards the wind turbines following a path that becomes stony. Go through a wooden gate in a stone wall on the edge of the wind farm, passing metal gates on either side and keep ahead with wire fence both sides. Pass information boards about the wind farm. Go through a new metal gate with stone wall on left, then another new metal gate and then a third with the wall to the left now heading away from the trackway. At this point, pause and study the grassy, smooth hill ahead, the left-hand side of which is covered in bracken. Just below the top of the bracken you should be able to make out a path heading left which we shall be taking, not the lower but clearer path. Continue on the ridgeway which descends to a wooden gate in stone wall. Go through and after 30 yards follow the edge of the bracken on your left, heading uphill. Ignoring the first path to the left which descends, continue uphill to meet the narrow grassy track to the left which you were looking at earlier and which is about 30 yards from the top of the bracken. (SS 97535/85940, 6.05 miles, 1 hr 50 mins, 247m. hasl).
Head left along this path which ascends gently, skirting the hill and then starts to descend. The path joins another trackway coming from the right, keep going ahead. Pass four old wooden fence posts on the right and as soon as you can see the valley bottom ahead and just before the path drops more steeply, take a narrow, indistinct path to your left, which heads back in the direction of the right-hand wind turbine (SS 97308/85544, 206m. hasl). After 100 yards the path curves slightly left and you want to aim for the small clump of birch trees with the pale silvery bark in the valley bottom ahead. Pass some gorse bushes on your right. The path gets a bit boggy and descends to meet a stream where you will find a small wooden gate with birch trees either side. Now head diagonally right uphill (6.57 miles, 2 hrs).
Looking down to the birch trees towards the bottom left. Right, "Got any sheepcake?"
The track peters out after 20 yards but keep ahead with the clumps of rush to your right and hillside to the left. You should then see farm buildings ahead and a metal gate in front of you. Go through the gate and head down the track towards Ty’n-y-Cwm farm. Go through a metal gate on the edge of the farm, passing the farm buildings on your left and down a track. Pass a metal gate to leave the farm with stream on either side of you. Turn left to cross the stream over a slatted metal bridge and head up a track. After 30 yards when the main track curves to the left, keep straight ahead, ignoring another path which joins from the left shortly afterwards. Pass through a new metal gate, the track becoming more grassy and with telegraph poles along the route. Pass a point on your left where the soil is discoloured orange from underground workings and where the track forks, keep ahead, slightly uphill and continuing along the line of telegraph poles, whereas the track to the right heads downhill. You pass under electricity cables and then a large house to the right, part grey stone and part white. Just beyond the house take the right-hand lower path with the track then descending into Llanbad after crossing a stream and going through a metal gate. You pass a white house on the left, Llanbad Fach, and then various old buildings of the colliery. Take the left-hand track by the stables towards a metal gate, go through this and head along the path which curves right. (SS 99180/84865, 7.85 miles, 2 hrs 28 mins, 140 m. hasl).
Left, old colliery building. Centre, discoloured soil from underground workings. Right, looking back down to Llanbad - winding house in centre and stables bottom right.
The track ascends and passes under the electricity cables. After 50 yards and just past some gorse bushes on your left, turn sharp left along another track which ascends, following at first the direction of the electricity lines. On the hilltop to the left ahead you can make out the ruins of St Peters Church. The track ascends passing twice through gaps in fences and curving to the right, eventually running alongside a dilapidated stone wall. At the top and by a house and farm buildings, take the first metal gate on your left to reach a track. Turn right along this track for 10 yards to go through a metal gate and immediately turn left to head along a broad grassy track with the farm buildings on your left. (8.36 miles, 2hrs 39mins).
The sunken lane.
At the end of the farm buildings the clear track turns right and then starts to descend. Pass through a rusty metal gate to enter a sunken lane (SS 99815/84193, 191 m. hasl) which is stony underfoot. The track comes to a metal road which you continue down. The road bends left around a cream-coloured house, Llwyn y Brain, and later crosses a cattle grid. 50 yards after the road bends to the left again and before you get to the Ewenny River, take the concrete footpath to the right, marked by a rusty metal post, which heads between houses. Pass the war memorial to your left and then cross the road ahead before taking the path which continues behind the bus shelter opposite. Go down some steps, passing a modern metal toilet block on your left to emerge in Chapel Road. Turn right to the car park. (9.62 miles, 3hrs 3mins).
Map of walk