Ridgeway footpath above Brynna and Llanharan, 11th May

This weekend’s walk was to the Ridgeway footpath and hillsides above Brynna and Llanharan, and unlike last time, the weather forecast for the day was very good, nice and warm and sunny.

The first part of the walk leading from Brynna is a fairly steep climb along a track. We then turned left, and followed the side of the valley toward the farmhouses of Llanbad Fach and Llanbad Fawr, an area that has a number of mine buildings that were still in good condition considering their age. John and Marie have researched this area, and sent me a very good link explaining that this site was once Llanbad Colliery and later became South Rhondda Colliery. The website has interesting information about the colliery and some great photos as well.


After leaving the farmhouses, we started the steep climb toward the Ridgeway footpath and the wind turbines that can be seen from Wick, and soon got to the top of the mountain, with wonderful views toward the Bristol Channel, and we could easily make out various landmarks, and the valley that leads from Bridgend toward St. Brides Major in the distance.

We were now on the Ridgeway footpath and it was time to stop for coffee and biscuits before continuing to St Peter’s Church (Capel Llanbad). The church was first built in the late 12th century, rebuilt in the late 17th century, and was still in regular use in the 18th century. However, the opening of the coal mines led to the building of a new church in Brynna, and the transfer of the chalice, bells and register in 1812. The Church has since fallen into disrepair.

It was now time for our good turn for the day, and with a display of great team work, we re-united a very distressed sheep with its two lambs.

We then continued down through a lovely valley and across a stream, the Ewenni Fach, and soon reached the rocks with the words ‘Dduw Cariad Yw’ – ‘God is love’ carved into them. The story of the rocks is that in the 1920’s, a Collier from Thomastown (near Tonyrefail) carried his daughter to this spot daily to sit with him while he carved. She was suffering from Tuberculosis and as he carved, she enjoyed the views and breathed in the fresh air. This carried on until he had finished his carving and his daughter was cured.

With the weather now near perfect it was time for lunch. The views are very good from here, as well as the surrounding valley, so lunch was all the more enjoyable, the rocks protecting us from the southerly breeze. I think this may have been one of the longest lunch breaks on record as we enjoyed the late spring sunshine, and also included a few Billy Connelly and Jasper Carrott jokes!!

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All good things come to an end they say, so time to head back along the Ridgeway, but not before the team photo provided by Graham.