Radyr - Whitchurch - Tongwynlais - Radyr

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Our walk begins from Radyr Railway Station. After crossing to the River Taff's east bank, we head across Forest Farm Country Park to join a path alongside the Melingriffith Feeder. This short section of waterway was used to power the Melingriffith Tin Plate Works further down the valley and also to transport the iron required for tinplate production. The land to our left now provides an important wetland habitat attracting a variety of bird and insect life.

Before long we reach a junction with the Glamorganshire Canal and turn left along its former towpath. Built between 1790 and 1798, the canal was an ambitious project to enable the iron industries of Merthyr Tydfil to transport finished iron 40km (25 miles) down the Taff Valley to Cardiff Docks. Today, only limited traces of the canal remain, most of its former route being covered by the A470 trunk road. This section, between the Melingriffith Water Pump and Tongwynlais, is one of the few to have been retained in water and is now a nature reserve.

The towpath comes to an abrupt end where the canal enters a tunnel. Bearing left, we follow a pleasant woodland path back towards the River Taff and join the Taff Trail near the M4 Motorway (watch out for bikes). Just north of the motorway, the river is spanned by a distinctive structure known as the Iron Bridge. This now leads to Gelynis Farm, but formerly carried the railway connecting Pentyrch Iron Works with Melingriffith Tin Plate Works.

Passing the bridge, our route continues north along a riverside path to Tongwynlais. As we emerge in the village, there are good views ahead towards Castell Coch ('red castle'). The brainchild of Victorian architect William Burges, this is both a splendid example of nineteenth-century Gothic Revival architecture and every child's fantasy of a fairy-tale castle.

A short detour in Tongwynlais leads to the main street and a choice of shops and pubs. South of the village, another stretch of canal towpath takes us back towards the M4 and the Taff Trail underpass. Continuing south along the river, we follow the Taff Trail for a further 1.5km before recrossing the bridge to Radyr Railway Station. On the way we pass Radyr Weir, which was renewed and strengthened in 1774 to provide a secure supply of water for the Melingriffith Feeder (which begins just upstream of the weir).

Wales - South Wales - Cardiff - Countryside

Features

Birds, Good for Kids, Good for Wheelchairs, Industrial Archaeology, Mostly Flat, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, River, Tea Shop, Wildlife, Woodland

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