Walking The Garth HillMonday January 23, 2017
Walks in South Wales 1 from Ty'n-y-Coed Car Park to top of Garth Hill
South Wales has beautiful countryside as well as a rich industrial heritage. And walking is the best way to see and photograph it.
My wife and I love walking and on Saturday 21st January 2017, we drove to the Ty'n-y-Coed car park near Caesars Arms Restaurant on the way to Creigiau. Despite the blue skies, it was cold, but the walk up to the top of the highest mountain in the area was sure to warm us up.
This is part of the 27 mile long Glamorgan Ridgeway Walk in South Wales. A selection of photographs taken on the walk can be seen in the Mountains Photographs section on my website.
From the car park, the walk starts gently through the old woods. The trees were leafless and the colours of the leaf coloured track were beautiful. The light disappears as you walk up a steep climb lined with evergreens (Craig Gwilym). There is a sense of foreboding in the dark shadows and it is a great relief when you finally break back out into the sunshine.
From the edge of the wood, you look across at an open field leading towards the Garth Hill. As you walk along the ridge, it is possible to look left and down towards Church Village and the surrounding towns. Due to the cold weather, there was a band of thin mist hovering above the buildings that just reduced the visibility. Sadly, I think this was trapped pollution, caught up in the still cold air of the winter's day.
Whilst walking along the fields and watching the sheep, houses could be seen tucked away behind the trees. What a fabulous place to live.
At the end of the field, we turned right onto the road that runs up the mountain between Efail Isaf and Pentyrch. After following the road for around 100m, we turned left to start the climb up to the top of the Garth Hill.
The steep tarmac road quickly turns into an off road track. The track was muddy although the cold weather meant that some was still hard and iced. As you climbed, so the views became increasingly spectacular.
The highest point on the Garth Hill is the Tumuli at 307 metres above sea level. At the top yu have an amazing panoramic view that takes in Cardiff to the south and the Brecon Beacons to the north. You can see the A470 disappearing north up the Taff Valley alongside the Taff River.
We then turned north-east and headed towards the edge of the Garth Hill. As we got closer, we could see a paraglider soaring in the air.
The Taff River facing side of the Garth Hill is not for the faint hearted. It is an almost vertical drop of over 250 metres down to Gwaelod-y-Garth. The view is breath-taking. Looking south, the River Taff meanders towards Cardiff and the coast. In the distance you can see iconic buildings like the Wales Millennium Centre and the Principality Stadium. Below, the River Taff follows the A470 through Taffs Well and then onto Pontypridd.
By now the temperature had dropped and you could feel the cold biting through our cold-weather clothing. We stopped and watched the paraglider before making the return journey down the mountain. By now the sun was dropping and as we walked back towards the Tumuli at the top, we saw and photographed the silhouettes of four cyclists as they climbed to the top.
It was a wonderful walk which took around 2 hours. Highly recommended.
A selection of photographs taken on the walk can be seen in the Mountain Photographs section on this website.
Paul Fears is a commercial and industrial photographer based in South Wales and covering the whole of the UK. For further information or to discuss a specific photography project, please contact Paul on:
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