This is an easy and mainly flat walk along the lower stages of the Taf Fechan River. The trail is well-surfaced and mainly level, and the scenery is wonderful, with great views over a wooded valley.
1. Directly opposite the bus stop are two thoroughfares that drop down into the Taf Valley. Take the left hand of these (to the right is a series of zigzags that eventually bear right and go beneath the main road) and follow it down to join the well-surfaced Taff Trail, which is actually the old Taff Fechan Mineral Railway at this point. It later became the Brecon to Merthyr railway.
Look out for
Towering above the village of Ponsticill is the imposing 110ft high dam of the Pontsticill Reservoir. This was completed in 1927 but actually encompassed the earlier Dol-y-gaer Reservoir, which had proved inefficient due to leaks caused by a geological fault. It is a popular leisure spot used by fishermen and sailors alike.
2. Turn left onto this and follow it easily along, shortly leaving the village behind and starting to feel a little more remote. After about a mile, the path crosses a road on a wooden bridge and shortly after this it passes the old Pont Sarn Station and crosses the Pont Sarn Viaduct, to put you on the opposite bank of the river.
3. Continue easily along with mixed deciduous woodland to your left and right – at its most spectacular in autumn – and eventually your way ahead will be blocked by a gate and you need to swing right to join the road.
Did you know?
The Pont Sarn railway station opened in 1868 and at its busiest, in the late 1800s, received a staggering 21 trains a day. It went out of service when the Brecon to Merthyr Railway closed in 1963. The Pont Sarn Inn, which is close to the viaduct, was once the Station Master’s house. It has since been a shop and a post office and, more recently, a public house. Sadly it is currently closed.
4. Bear left onto the road and follow it immediately beneath the continuation of the old railway and then around to the right, where it continues easily towards the village of Pontsticill. Ignore a left turn almost immediately and continue easily for another ½ mile to a fork with a narrow lane.
5. Fork left onto this and cross a bridge over the Afon Taf Fechan before climbing steeply uphill to a junction with the main road close to the Red Cow PH. The bus does stop here, or you can turn right and then fork right at the next junction to drop to the main bus terminus.
6.OPTIONAL ROUTE Rather than turning left at point 5, it is possible to continue along the road and to cross the dam of the Pontsticill Reservoir.
View looking southwest from Cwmdu Evidence suggests that…