Pontyclun, 11th December

Lead: Graham

The snow of yesterday had mostly cleared but it was bitterly cold as four warmly dressed individuals assembled under pale winter skies for the short drive to Pontyclun.  We soon left the High Street heading northwest to cross the River Ely on an ancient Bailey Bridge into a light-industrial estate enclosed within high metal fencing, exiting via a rather cryptically signed footpath.  A short walk through a new housing development led us into Coed Trecastell where we followed a level forestry trail which shadowed the main railway line along Nant Melyn.  The track terminated at a stile which was situated on the precipitous edge of a deep gully with a stream at its base.  The way barred we retraced our steps for a few yards before turning south west into the heart of the woods along a rising path carpeted with the large leaves of red oak.  Having experienced identical leaf litter at Park Slip on reclaimed land we surmised that the ground here had also been reclaimed and replanted after the extraction of coal and iron ore.

11 december

Continuing upwards the trail became very wet and muddy in places but the worst was avoided through forays into the trees where the under-foot conditions were better – fallen leaves and pine needles.  Emerging at the top of the hill into more open scrub we halted for a coffee break at a fenced enclosure containing a disused and capped mine shaft. Frank was the only one with said beverage and his kind offers to share were declined in anticipation of later fulfilment.  After a team photograph we descended past new solar farms to the left and right before exchanging pleasantries with men painting high up on an electrical grid tower.  Joining a quiet road, we soon found ourselves back at the industrial area and thence to the coffee shop.

Thanks for turning out in spite of the previous day’s weather.

Monday’s walks are a stimulating start to the week and I enjoyed today’s jaunt and hope my companions did too.