A 9 mile walk starting from the visitor centre, taking in historic features, stunning woodlands and fantastic views. There are some steep climbs and descents with this walk, but the views are well worth the effort.
|Approximate Time:||5 hours|
|Difficulty:||Moderate to Strenuous|
|Start Point:||Visitor Centre (GR: ST229936)|
|Finish Point:||Visitor Centre (GR: ST229936)|
|Publication:||Leaflet available from the Visitor Centre|
- From the main entrance of the visitor centre, go down the steps and turn left past the interpretation panel, and turn right on to the path. Stay on this path until you reach the entrance of the main car park. Directly opposite you will see a wooden chicane. Go through this chicane and you are now on the Ash Path.
- Continue along the Ash Path, ignoring the kissing gate and continue on to the red dust path down to the main road.
- Turn L at the main road and continue until you reach Halls Road Terrace (passing the Pontywaun Stones), where you can pick up the canal and head towards Risca, (passed Spiritualist Church).
- Stay on this path and follow the signs, you will cross over the road at Pontywaun and shall see your first pieces of community art, which celebrates the history of the canal.
- Continue along the path, past Pontywaun Bridge and take a moment to take a slight detour to look at the memorial dedicated to the lives lost in the Blackvein Colliery disaster. Once you are ready, continue along the path until you reach the 2nd stone bridge (Darren Road Bridge) you can take advantage of an early refreshment stop at Whysoms Wharf tea rooms! An excellent place to sit and relax and enjoy the views of the local heronry.
- On leaving the Tea rooms, go past the houses on your left until you reach the main road (Darren Road), cross over and continue along the canal path.
- Pass under a 3rd stone bridge (Pen-y-Rhiw), continuing past a 4th bridge (Moriah Chapel Bridge), crossing over the road at Gelli Avenue. Continue on crossing over the road at Thistle Way, staying on the path, where you will pass a distance way marker (Newport 6 miles), until you reach the 5th Stone Bridge
- Go across the bridge and take the wooded path to your right until you reach a metal gate and stile, which leads to an open field. (Dogs must be kept on a lead)
- Head up the incline towards the pylons, keeping the fence line on your right, going through the gap, and heading towards the 7 bar gate between the 2 pylons.
- Once through the gate walk uphill, keeping the hedgerow to your right and head for en stile at the top right of the field.
- Climb over the stile (Not dog friendly), and cross over the road heading for Risca Leisure Centre. At this point you will catch your 1st views of the Bristol Channel.
- Stay on the road towards the leisure centre and follow the signs for Upper Grippath Farm (passing the leisure Centre on your right). Do not take the left turn to mountside, continue forward passing the houses on your right.
- At the T-Junction, turn left uphill and take the track on the right (keeping the house on your left hand side).
- Stay on this road and take the 1st right up hill on a narrow stone track (look behind you for great views!) continuing along it as the track levels out. Continue along this path (passing the woodland trust Coed Cadw) on your left, and continuing through the woodland, crossing a small stream, and ignoring any tracks to either side. Stay on this footpath and you will come to a finger post pointing to Risca the way you have just come. Ignore the track to your right and carry straight on.
- As you continue on you will be able to see your 1st glimpse of Pant yr Eos Reservoir. You will eventually come across a metal gate and stile which opens up onto farmland. Dogs must be kept on a lead whilst on this land. This is a good spot to stop for lunch and a cuppa and enjoy the views.
- Once in the field, continue forward keeping the fence line on your left, until you reach the gate and stile on to the road. Cross onto the road and turn right, you now have a good view of Twmbarlwm and the reservoir.
- Continue on the road, pass the cattle grid uphill and take the next track to your left. Cross over the forest track (ignoring the barrier to your left) and continue straight on up the hill. Follow the left hand track up the hill keeping the forestry block to your left.
- Follow the steep climb up, over the stile until you reach the summit of Twmbarlwm (the Iron Age hill fort steeped in folklore and legend). Enjoy the views!
- Head towards the trig point(which is to the left of where you have just come), staying on the path making your steep descent towards the kissing gate at the bottom of the mound towards the tarmac road. You are now at old Car Park 7 of the Forest Drive.
- Follow the road as it sweeps around (downhill) to a kissing gate and track on your L. Follow this track down until you reach the tarmac road..
- Turn R at the road and follow it gently uphill for approx. 50yards until you reach the track on your L (easily visible from the road) and continue until you reach the road again. Turn R then take immediate L (small grass path) off road and continue down this path until the 2nd path on R (downhill).. (Do not take the Twrch path, this is the bike track).
- Continue straight down the path passing 2 interpretation signs and through the gate.
- Continue on the tarmac road, following the stream down to the lake. Keep the lake on your left and follow the little footpath between the stream and campsite back down to the centre!