A favourite walk is to Dyffryn as there are several routes that can be taken. Hopefully before long Dyffryn Gardens will open and refreshment can be taken there before returning home. The photo below is of the mid-week walkers a couple of years ago, everyone with a smile on their faces despite a thorough drenching.
The first and most straight-forward route is to walk along the road to Dyffryn via St Lythans, though the road is a bit busy for this to be truly relaxing. From the village you can go along Pound Lane and into Wenvoe woods, which emerges onto a track running from Burdon’s Hill to the St Lythans Rd. From here there is a footpath to 12th C St Lythans Church where you can explore the churchyard and spot the vent at the top of the tower which was an outlet for the oven where bread was baked.
Walking along the St Lythans – Dyffryn road you reach Dyffryn Gardens in about 1 mile. Returning along this road follow the brown tourist sign for the footpath to the St Lythans burial chamber, a megalithic dolmen built in the Neolithic period around 4000 BC. The dolmen has three upright stones and a capstone which is 3 metres wide and 4 metres long; all the stones are mudstone.
From the dolmen you travel to Maesyfelin (the mill field) farmhouse. The footpath passes between the house and some outbuildings and through a gate. Over a couple of stiles straight ahead (east), you will often encounter a herd of cows. Across a couple of fields with the Goldsland woods (private) on your right and you emerge onto a stony track. Remains from seven Neolithic humans have been excavated from a cave in these woods. It is thought the corpses had been placed there to decompose before being removed to sites such as Tinkinswood or St Lythans burial chambers. This seems to be the sole site in Britain where corpses were left to rot prior to placement in communal tombs.
On an open piece of land is the Bee Loud Glade with a noticeboard giving information about the ongoing work to attract pollinators. The rest of the open area had a good display of flowers last summer, including one of my favourites the tiny but gorgeous blue flax which can be used to produce linen or flax oil. The footpath runs along the southern edge of this area and into a small woodland, along the northern boundary of Wenvoe golf course, and back to Burdon’s Hill. Going south here leads to the Port Rd or turn left going up the track, almost always with some mud, and take the stile on the right back into Wenvoe woods, to retrace your steps to Walston Rd.
For a longer walk you can continue past Dyffryn Gardens along the road and take the footpath to 6000 -year-old, Tinkinswood burial chamber (through a field and over a stream to reach the chamber from the road). A larger dolmen than the one at St Lythans, the Tinkinswood site contained human remains and pottery dating to the early Bronze Age. It is a good place to stop for a while. Instead of returning to the road you can cross a field and a small holding. There is a large open field, with Dyffryn Gardens to the left which seems to have a sense of quiet peace. Eventually the path emerges beside the Nant river and you can walk through Dyffryn village, with a stream either side of the road and some lovely houses.
At the end of the village there is a footpath around a small farm, where there are llamas, sheep and other animals. This leads into Dyffryn Springs fishery where you skirt a lake and can spot waterfowl and heron. After this are Old Wallace and New Wallace farms, where you walk through the stable yard and can look across the valley towards Barry and the airport. After New Wallace the track becomes a road, leading to Goldsland farm and the golf course and eventually the Port Rd south of Wenvoe
Other variations allow diversions through the Wild Orchard and Coed Nant Bran, even taking in St Nicholas and/or the Downs. Whichever path you take you can rely on mud somewhere, the possibility of having to wade through an inch or so of water (or 3inches this winter) and the vagaries of the British weather. But you will also see some beautiful countryside, lots of history beneath your feet and around you, and plants and animals aplenty if you keep your eyes and ears open. Many of these paths cross farmland and it is important to keep to the footpaths, keep any dogs on a lead and leave nothing but footsteps. I hope you enjoy your rambling as much as I do.
Walk 5-8.5 miles depending on which route is taken. Map 151