This is a slight variation on the Fforest Fawr – Fforest Ganol walk, taking in a section of the Wenallt. You can expand that section as it is a good forest to explore, (and particularly pretty during bluebell season) so use this as a basis.
Time: 1.75 hours (walking)
Mid level strenuous (ascent and descent throughout the walk)
Teilo wag factor: 4.5 (Nearly all forest paths with lots of streams, although one mid section on road).
Starting at the school, head up the High Street, turn right by The Lewis Arms, and up Mill Road. Enter the Castell Coch gates, but don’t follow the road, instead take the path opposite the gates that goes up into the forest. This is a steady climb. There is a path to the right which crosses a stream, take this (in another Fforest Fawr walk you went straight on here instead).
Follow this broad path to the end of the forest, passing below the main car park and emerging by a smaller parking spot for about three cars. Go out of the gates and cross the road to a path almost directly opposite into Fforest Ganol. This path goes up a bit and then turns right. Follow this path, but unlike the Forest Ganol walk, you do not go to the end. Instead look for a broad path on your left that goes steeply uphill to the road.
You will emerge opposite some old cottages. Cross here into the path that runs alongside them, turning left. Almost immediately you will see a stile on the right. Go over this and follow the path down the hill, it goes first to the left and then cuts back to the right. At the bottom turn left and follow this path around to a stream crossing.
This brings you into Fforest Fach. Go up and the path bears to the right. Shortly along here you will see a path to the right, going down to the stream again. You can go straight on and explore the forest much further, but assume you come back to this point. Go down to the stream and cross using a little wooden bridge. This will lead up to a horse track, turn left here and continue up until you see a house on your right and you come out on to the road. There is no pavement here so tuck yourself in and turn right, heading up the hill.
At the top, cross the road and on your left you enter into the top of Fforest Ganol again. This path goes along by a field and then turns into the forest. Follow this down, ignoring the first path on your right (which is the one you come up on in the Fforest Ganol walk). Then follow it as it bears right and you descend downhill. This descends steadily, and at the end you turn left so you are running alongside the road, with a stream between you. At the end of this path is a small bridge over a stream. Cross this and then cross the road – take care as it is on a corner and cars sometimes travel too fast (there is a roadside shrine here to attest to this danger).
Take the gate slightly to your left and follow this up to the Forest Cafe. They do a nice selection of cakes and sandwiches here if you fancy a break. Otherwise, take the path that goes up behind it, and follow it around to the right. This goes across some streams with small waterfalls. A short climb brings you up the path you entered on. Turn left here and descend down to Castell Coch entrance, then retrace your steps to the start.
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