A fairly straightforward walk that starts with an incline, takes in Castell Coch, then heads out towards the Taff Trail, returning along this. It’s a decent running route as once you get that initial climb out of the way, it’s a pleasant out and back on a good surface.
Distance: 5.3 miles
Time: 1.5 – 2 hours (walking)
Mid level strenuous (because of early ascent, then it’s mostly downhill)
Teilo wag factor: 3.5 – fun to explore the forest but the Taff trail on the way back can be busy with bikes
Starting at the usual point of the school in Tongwynlais, head into the village and turn right by The Lewis Arms (perhaps grab yourself a coffee from the lovely folk at Plan2 Ride cafe). Head up the road and then into the entrance for Castell Coch. Walk up the entrance road (it’s a bit of a slog!) so you are in front of the Castell (you can go in if you feel like it and have a look around this lovely faux medieval castle, but you’ll probably want an hour or so for that, so be warned there’s about 1hour 30 of the walk remaining). If you’re looking at the castle, there is a path to the right, heading up into the forest.
This a steepish slope, follow it to the top and then turn left. The good news is that it’s (mostly) downhill or flat from here. Follow this broad path down through the forest with views over the top of the castle and down to the river Taff to your left. The path jinks to the right and you go through some green cycle gates. Follow this path for about 1.5 miles, passing under an old bridge.
At the end of this, there is a good view up the valley, and over to the Garth Hill. The path turns right here and you pass through a stile and turn left. To your right is a path that goes up over Craig Yr Allt, but that is a route for a different day. Follow the path under a bridge and down past some houses on your left. Here it meets the Taff Trail, where you turn left and head back towards Tongwynlais.
Follow this tarmac path back towards Tongwynlais for about a mile. You will come to a gate where you can continue straight on, but I prefer to turn right. This goes past what was a cafe, and the Taffs Well football club is in front of you. Turn left here over a small bridge and take the path next to the allotments.
At the end of the allotments, the path joins a small road which goes under a bridge. This section of the walk is not particularly pleasant for about half a mile. You pass next to a timber company, and then at the top of the road turn right. This goes over the busy A470, then turn left. The old viaduct with the Jubilee message on it is on your right. Walk along the pavement up to the roundabout, and turn left. Cross the road and then go right, heading back into Tongwynlais. You go up a slight incline, pass the sign entering the village and then past some houses. The Lewis Arms is now on your left and you can pop in for a deserved drink if you like, or straight on through the village back to the starting point of the school.