Hiking in Wales: Taff Trail from Cardiff to Pontypridd
A couple of weekends ago I was invited for a friend’s birthday party in Wales. He lives in Pontypridd and instead of taking the train to his place I decided to walk the Taff Trail from Cardiff. My recommendation of the following route is or to cycle the Taff Trail and maybe go even further then Pontypridd. Or to walk till Taffs Well and take the train back from here. After Taffs Well the walking part isn’t that interesting anymore.
This is the first time that I upload a route with an interactive map with interesting points. Hopefully you guys will like this idea!
The Taff Trail
The Taff Trail is a popular hiking and cycling route in Wales. It is named after the river Taff that you will follow during your hike. The hike starts in lovely Cardiff at the Bay side. However I started at Cardiff Castle because I didn’t have much time and this is the place where my coach stopped.
Cardiff Castle and Gardens
Cardiff Castle is the first and maybe also the most beautiful point of the trail. This Castle is from Victorian time and very well maintained. Unfortunately I didn’t visit the castle itself. However the Castle together with the parks around it, is wonderful place. Just walk around and get lost in the gardens.
Follow the Taff
From the park around the Castle, you can follow the Taff up north. This is the trail that you have to follow. During your way you will see some interesting spots. There is a nice concrete area where you can picnic, next to the bridge and the Taff. If you decide only to walk to Taffs Well you can make a detour to Llandaff Cathedral. Just enjoy this peaceful area till you reach a water pump.
Melingriffith Water Pump
You will spot this amazing water pump at the moment the trail will reach the main road again. Technically this is a water pump engine. The water pump is build in the 1790s. It lifted water from the tail-race exiting the Melingriffith Ironworks, into the Glamorganshire canal. Since 2010 this water pump is restored in its original glory.
Radyr Weir Hydroelectric Scheme
I was very lucky when I reached this hydroelectric scheme. At the moment I arrived a man was standing in the doorpost of the building. After I kindly asked him if I was able to have a look inside, he agreed on it! Only unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take pictures. So great that you are walking around in a non-touristy area.
This hydroelectric scheme creates enough energy throughout the year to power 550 homes. It is fully automatic and when it the water level in the Taff is too low the machine will switch off automatically.
If you are doing this trail all by foot, just as me. I would recommend you to visit Castell Coch and then take the train from Taffs Well back to Cardiff. However if you are by bike you can cycle much further. Castell Coch looks like an old castle from the Middle Ages. However this castle isn’t that old. The castle was finished in 1891 and was build in order of William Burges who was fascinated by the castles from the Middle Ages.
Finish your hike
This hike was for me quite a challenge. I walked all the way to Pontypridd and that is around 25 km. To walk that in a bit more than 5 hours was quite an achievement. However I wouldn’t recommend you to do that and stop half way. Only if you have a bike you can cycle maybe the whole trail or cycle all the way to Pontypridd. Especially with such a nice weather as I had, this hike will be really lovely. Be aware that you get easily sun burned with sunny weather, so don’t forget the sun cream.