Michaelston-y-fedw - Pen-y-lan - Rhiwderin - Michaelston-y-fedw

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Michaelston-y-fedw – Pen-y-lan – Rhiwderin – Lower Machen – Michaelston-y-fedw

The walk begins outside the Cefn Mably Arms, a public house whose name derives from a former manor-house, now luxury apartments, a mile or so to the west. Next door to the pub, beneath the floor of St Michael's Church, is a vault containing the bodies of the house's former owners, the Kemys family. The decline of this family and their once grand home was the subject in 1930 of a sonnet by renowned Welsh-language poet and literary critic, W J Gruffydd.

From Michaelston-y-fedw the walk climbs gradually to Pen-y-lan, a ridgetop hamlet commanding extensive views across both the South Wales hills and the Bristol Channel. Fine views continue, before the walk descends steeply on a narrow tarmac lane to Rhiwderin.

Again climbing, the walk now heads towards Mynydd Machen along the Sirhowy Valley Walk. With some distance still to go to the summit, a descent is made to the tranquility of Lower Machen, a small village whose historic church is the venue each June for a festival of chamber music concerts (www.lowermachenfestival.co.uk).

Joining the Rhymney River Circular Walk, the walk now heads towards the medieval manor-house of Plas Machen (plas being the Welsh word for a manor-house), which was once home to one of the innumerable branches of the Morgan family. Following the renovation and expansion of Tredegar House in the Restoration period (the two estates had been united since 1580), Plas Machen was abandoned by the family and became a tenanted farmhouse. Since the break-up of the Morgan Estate after World War II the house has been privately owned.

Once past Plas Machen, the River Rhymney is quickly reached and a delightful stretch of riverside walking follows. The river is left behind at Michaelstone Bridge and a short climb through fields leads back to the Cefn Mably Arms.

Wales - South Wales - Gwent - Countryside


Church, Great Views, Pub, Public Transport, River, Woodland
2/24/2017 - Sue Dockerill

Hi, We've done this enjoyable walk several times parking at the Cefn Mably Arms. However today we found it was under new management with prominent "parking for patrons only" signs. The parking for the village hall and church had corresponding signs. We decided to drive to Rhiwderin and park in the residential area near WP 6. We then did the walk from WP6 to 12 and completed it from 1 to 6. This worked out fine. If you are after a break in a pub then there is still one at the start / finish and middle, its just that its the other one at each point.

5/27/2014 - Valerie Monaghan

Walk done on 25 May 2014, after a week's rain, so some of the fields were waterlogged and there was, of course, mud! An enjoyable walk, with a few steep sections. A few notes about navigation: Point 4: the stile is not at the very bottom of the field, but about 40 yards up from the end, in the right hand hedge. There was a rain-sodden crop in the next field, so we detoured around the right hand perimeter, as suggested (the route is diagonally across to the left), and exited the field by an open gate. We turned left down the lane, where we later passed the official footpath exit. Point 9: As noted in the walk details, traffic travels very fast on the main road you have to cross, but at least there is good visibility in both directions.

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