Machen - Draethen - Ruperra Castle - Cefn Onn - Thornhill - Caerphilly Common - Mynydd Rudry - Garth Place - Waterloo - Machen

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From Machen the route follows the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk towards Draethen and the melancholy ruins of Ruperra Castle. Built by Sir Thomas Morgan in 1626, this was one of the first 'mock' castles to be built in Wales. After passing into the hands of the Morgans of Tredegar, it became customary for the heir to the Tredegar Estate to make his home at the castle prior to assuming his title. Unfortunately, this once splendid building has been a ruin since 1941, when it was gutted by fire, and in recent years has been the subject of a contentious planning dispute. At the time of writing, the building had been put up for sale for £1½ million.

From Ruperra the walk continues to follow the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk as far as Caerphilly Common. The most delightful part of this stretch of the walk is Cefn Onn, a wooded ridge offering extensive views towards the Bristol Channel and Cardiff.

On Caerphilly Common you may wish to take the short detour to Caerphilly Mountain and the viewpoint overlooking the town, but the main route continues through woodland towards the next hill-top summit, Mynydd Rudry, where there are more fine views to be had. Descending off the common, the walk passes through the villages of Garth Place and Waterloo before joining a path along a former railway - part of the waymarked Machen Forge Trail - to return to Machen.

Wales - South Wales - Cardiff - Countryside

5/27/2014 - Valerie Monaghan

Overall, this is an excellent walk, with fine views - and a number of steep climbs! We have done this walk twice now and each time the GPS has indicated a total length of ~13.5 miles, without any significant departures from the route. A few notes on navigation; Point 4: we missed the kissing gate here, as it was hidden in the undergrowth. It was only after ~100 yards that we realised that we must have gone past it and retraced our steps. Point 6: you can no longer follow the line of the telegraph poles, as there is now a fence, which the path now follows, initially to the left and then upwards. There were a few problems here; the path adjacent to the fence is becoming overgrown, and a tree had fallen lengthways along the path as it enters the wood. The only way around the tree is through brambles and hidden logs, tree stumps and old branches (very scratch-full on the legs if you are wearing shorts, as we were!). There was another fallen tree soon afterwards, but this was across the route and easy to go round. Point 9: the gate leading into the woodland is on the right hand of the second line of trees, where the fence line then turns a corner. Point 15: actually found our way through the golf course OK; a lot of the route here can be boggy. Point 24: As you descend from Rudry common on the bridleway, ignore a couple of paths that lead off left - keep choosing 'right'.

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