Margam Country Park offers a truly wonderful array of walks and is just a 30 minute drive from Cardiff. The 800 acres of Margam Park provide a perfect backdrop for a wander in the countryside, whether it be a stroll after Sunday lunch or a hike along the Coed Morgannwg Way to Afan Forest Park Country Park, the sister country park in the Afan Valley. If you prefer to follow a self guided trail, the park offers some plans that are available to purchase from entrance cabin. Each is colour coded and begins just up the track from the visitor centre. There are half a dozen different hikes available, all with varying difficulties and lengths, meaning you can come back to this idyllic location more than just once.
The iconic Penpych Mountain towers over the Rhondda Valley and is a landmark in Treherbert and Treorchy. The walk does require a decent level of exertion, however, it is well worth it. The trail makes its way over the valley, under waterfalls and through stunning scenery – including Tolkien-esque forestry. Hikers can see up to the heads of the valleys where South Wales begins to spill into the Brecon Beacons, and also down into the Rhondda Valleys, the real Welsh heartlands. This walk is a must do on a dry, cold winter day. Pack a lunch because it will take up to five hours.
At just 3.3 miles, the Iron Bridge Circular Walk is one of Newport Council’s shortest promoted walks, although it remains incredibly picturesque. It was created to celebrate the restoration of a 16 metre cast iron footbridge over the River Rhymney. The bridge was constructed in 1829 and was part of the estate of Lord Tredegar, who commissioned it to provide access for horse drawn vehicles and pedestrians from Ruperra Castle to and from the church at Lower Machen. The route follows paths and public footpaths which can become quite muddy during bad weather so make sure you’re wearing suitable footwear.
One for the children, the Forest Fawr sculpture trail, located near Castell Coch, is woodland area just a short drive outside of Cardiff. It is roughly 1.5 miles long and designed to take children on a magical journey through the forest, with many trails for walking and cycling. It is based on the idea of a giant creature who lives in the woods and has discarded different objects – like a watch, a treasure chest and a dragon. The woodland itself has an industrial history and there are some impressive deep holes left by iron mining here. If you are thinking about spending your time here in the autumn or winter, remember to pack wellies.
A green oasis nestled amidst the capital’s cityscape, Bute Park and the conveniently attached Llandaff Fields provide a wonderful walk that take you along the banks of the River Taff. It is an area that is truly brought to life in autumn when the forest it lit up by the colours of deep brown and mahogany. It is a gem within the Cardiff capital area. There is also a wealth of flora and fauna in the park itself to be enjoyed, all of which looks exceptional when coming into bloom. There’s nothing quite like seeing hundreds of daffodils sprouting here in the Welsh capital. This is one of the more leisurely walks you will find around the Cardiff area.