We started the Bargoed walk in the Pengam area. Soon after starting, we came across a very tall sculpture in a small public garden. The 40ft statue, which is called the Lady of the Stream, was erected in 2009. It stands on a former ash-tip, which was reclaimed as a playground and then became rundown. The statue depicts a woman watching over children in the area, supposedly in reference to Pengam folklore of youngsters drowning in a stream.
Moving away from the town we crossed Gelli-Gaer Common with the usual grazing horses. It was a grey day and the environment quite bleak. Within the Capel Gwladys area, there are regular shaped mounds, which are variously described as marching camps or Roman Practice camps. The Roman army was in the area from 47AD – 113AD and used these camps regularly to practice making temporary fortified camps by digging ditches and making ramparts.
We continued in a generally northerly direction towards Pen-y-garreg farm and then Deri where we turned southeast. In Parc Cwm Darren we came upon a memorial stone ‘In memory of those whose lives were touched by the tragic events at the Darren Colliery on October 29th 1909’, below are listed the 27 names of those who died.
As we came down the valley, we followed a fast flowing stream; a bridge we crossed had a sign nearby ‘Caradoc’s bridge’. Caradoc was a Silurian leader who fought against the Roman occupation in Wales, but was eventually captured and taken to Rome. It is believed that this bridge near Deri has been called Caradoc’s bridge in his memory. The valley was steep sided and had layers of stone beside the watercourse. One area had some lovely Gorse bushes in full bloom.
Approaching the built up area of Bargoed, a large viaduct towered over us with many arches, some people scrambled down a steep slope to reach its base while most of us detoured through the local streets to come down more gradually.
Our route now took us through a recently created woodland park – The Bargoed Woodland Park, which covers Bargoed, Britannia and Gilfach collieries. The country park has been created from barren waste ground left after the closure of the last mine in 1985. 90,000 new trees, 6500 bulbs and 8000 wild flowers have been planted. This was once part of the largest colliery tip in Europe. LS Lowry immortalised it in his 1965 painting ‘Bargoed’. The Rhymney River flows through the park and after the winter rains it was in full flow, there were rapids in places and a dipper was spotted flitting across the rocks midstream.
Coming closer to the town again a pretty stream ran next to the path and we passed under a modern road bridge with a stylish profile. Our final stretch took us alongside the river Rhymney through a quiet wooded valley to return to the cars.
Total distance covered was 8.75miles and the climb was 950ft.
this walk was our first since meteorological spring began and it was certainly a lovely day, lots of sunshine with some cloud and not too cold. Basically it was a lovely gentle country walk with swathes of wild primroses in places.
The route took us south from Penperlleni towards Little Mill and almost immediately we saw our first lambs of the season. Next we approached Cwm Hir, we wondered what awaited us (given its English pronunciation) but we walked through it without spotting anything of note.
Later there was an old metal, elaborate structure which carried a water course over a railway. From here we made our way to Glascoed and then towards Monkswood. We were now approaching the River Usk and as we passed through a field with a large flock of sheep an oldfashioned windmill could be seen in the distance. Lunch on the banks of the Usk was delightful in the sunshine with the fast flowing river very close.
Unfortunately we had to climb uphill straight after eating (always a challenge) but definitely worth it. Towards the end we passed a lane with a sign ‘No Parking Entrance in use DAY and NIGHT’ – pretty impressive since the lane was blocked by a fallen tree.
We reached the cars and as we took off boots, the weather changed and we had a short flurry of sleet/hail, we had covered 7.25 miles and 900ft.