Eight of us set out from the Village Hall at 10am in two cars and made our way to the big carpark close to the top of Caerphilly Mountain, setting off just before 11am. The day was the sunniest and warmest day of the year to date and soon items of clothing were being shedded. The walk first took us steadily downhill until we reached the Caerphilly to Rudry road where we could see a lone chimney stack in a builder’s yard, close to where the Wern Ddu Colliery used to be.
”Wernddu brickworks was built some time after 1875 as part of the Black Vein Colliery. The Caerphilly Coal Co was subject to a winding-up order on 28th November 1895 and became the Wernddu Coal and Brick Co. Ltd, even though they stamped their bricks as ‘W B & C Co’ In February 1920 the brickworks were purchased by Powell Duffryn. The brickworks closed in 1951 but between 1952 and 1959 the site owners were describing themselves as the ‘Cardiff Brick Co Ltd’, Wernddu Brickworks.”
We now ascended slightly, passing a fenced off area where underground subsidence had taken place from old coal mine workings. We soon entered the Wern Ddu Conservation area famous for its 150 year old clay pits which were worked by opencast mining and provided clay for the aforesaid Brick Works via a tram line. These clay pits closed also in the 1950’s.
We had a coffee break sitting on a beautifully carved wooden bench close to a delightfully tranquil pond, originally constructed as a Header Pond for the little stream providing water to the brick factory.
We now began the long uphill stretch taking us past the big ventilation shafts for the Caerphilly to Cardiff railway tunnel and finally up onto the ridge providing lovely views northwards to Caerphilly and beyond. We sat having our lunch on a warm bank inside a large old disused limestone quarry. So nice to experience warmth once again on our bodies! The next stage of the walk took us through the ancient beech woodland carpeted with wild garlic until we reached the busy main Cardiff/Caerphilly road close to the Travellers Rest.
After crossing the road the path took us through the Ridgeway Golf course where Andrew was lucky to find a stray golf ball, and then up a steep hill on the other side, through woodland until we emerged into an open field and thence down a steep slightly muddy field, home to some wild ponies. Crossing the main road we ascended Caerphilly Mountain to the trig point and found a friendly passer-by to take the group photo with Caerphilly Castle in the background. The castle was built by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th century and is the largest castle in Wales.
After chatting to another very friendly man together with his two Red Setters we arrived back at the cars for an ice cream having walked 6.7 miles or 10.4 kms.
We arrived back in Wick at 4pm having had a most delightful walk.