Peterston Super Ely


Peterston Super Ely

We parked in St Nicholas, within our 5-mile limit, to do a walk based on Valeways walk no. 37 Peterston super Ely (A ridge and valley walk). The main walk is 2 loops of 3 miles and 4 miles centred on Peterston Super Ely.

From St Nicholas head north past the school where attempts have been made to keep rabbits off the play area with wiring under the fence, but they were running across the grass.

A profusion of brambles edged the path to Cottrell Park golf course, where there are views towards the south. We crossed the 7th tee and headed into the woodland opposite.

We met some people, with colourful bicycles, foraging in the lanes. They were collecting ramson seeds which were to be pickled and then scattered over salads etc. I tasted one, they have a strong garlic taste, much stronger than the leaves in spring. Later we spotted water hemlock growing alongside the road – very poisonous.

Outside Peterston Super Ely is chapel Croes y Parc (1777). We spent some time exploring the churchyard which has some fascinating tombstones; one so high it towered over us, another crenelated like a castle wall. Care was needed as there was evidence of subsidence.

Arriving at Peterston Super Ely we had a quick look at the river from Llanbedr bridge and then walked generally north along the western side of the river Ely.

A large house The Mill was for sale but cannot be seen from the gates; the front garden is large. It is behind the National Trust Lanlay meadows – an SSSI with rich wildlife. This is an area of hay meadow virtually untouched by modern farming methods. There is a Community Orchard which was very tidy with many clumps of comfrey growing and a living willow shelter.

Continuing north a succession of stiles leads over the flat open fields of the river’s flood plain. Understandably the ground can be very wet here, but it was a beautiful summer’s day, and, after all the dry, spring weather, footpaths were firm underfoot. We had an especially early lunch (before noon) so that we could sit beside the river.

At the road running east-west near Dyffryn Mawr farm, we were disappointed to find that we were still in Peterston Super Ely after all our walking. We crossed the river and later the railway where you must phone before crossing as it is so busy.

This section had some interesting wildlife including monkshood (another poisonous plant) and innumerable butterflies, we spotted speckled woods, gatekeepers, tortoiseshell and burnet moths.

Arriving back in Peterston we enjoyed a coffee by the river. Then we crossed the pedestrian bridge to Wyndham Park, a Garden Village development begun in 1909. The Main Avenue is lined with both horse and sweet chestnut trees. It is interesting to walk around this area, we spotted several Polish emergency vehicles parked up. Some of the earliest built houses are the so-called Moroccan houses with tiled frontages and flat roofs.

At the top of Main Avenue, the footpath is to the right, a narrow path leads to open fields and there are soon expansive views to the north from the wind farm in Llanharran to the Garth mountain. At Homri farm you join a track and after a short walk the valley opens to the east. Now the panorama behind includes Castell Coch (which looks tiny from this distance) and Cardiff.

Another day we took a short but enjoyable diversion, east along this valley. It was a delightful and peaceful place no doubt enhanced by the glorious summer’s day. We crossed farmland dotted with sheep and ponds, witnessing idylls such as horses grazing beside a pond. At one point we had to cross a very narrow road (an access road for St Georges and St Bride’s Super Ely) – careful and speedy walking required here. Arriving at the Natural Burial ground, we explored their footpaths admiring the wildflower meadow, with lots of chicory. The arboretum has many interesting trees and once again when we emerged into open space, we had superb views. We ate lunch in a large field with a herd of cows in the distance who edged towards us all the time we were there. Three small aircraft flew above us in formation as we sat. We had great views almost the whole time we were walking, extensive to the north as described above and from the Natural Burial Ground we could even see parts of Cardiff Bay.

Continuing we arrived back in St Nicholas, took a brief diversion to the churchyard to see a grave marked by an anvil and then walked past the war memorial and pump to the cars (in line with Government advice just 2 households participated in this walk).

Walk 7.5 miles( plus extra for the diversion).