The programme for outdoor meetings 2019.

IMPORTANT: It is essential that I am advised in advance of your intention to join any of these walks so that you can be contacted in the event of it being necessary for me to cancel or amend any walk.

Contact details: Keith Dumelow - e-mail: below or mobile & text 07800 630807.





Saturday 22nd June 2019 - Newport/Rhiwderyn Area Walk

Our first walk of 2019 traces the route of an active railway line, the ex Brecon and Merthyr line, from the suburbs of Newport to the WRRC's base at Rhiwderyn. The line carries the Ebbw Vale service in part and then the very rare ballast trains from Machen Quarry. The walk will be part urban and part rural and will see a large working signal box and the semaphore signals it controls, Lord Tredegar's Golden Mile, the oldest working railway viaduct in Britain and the site of two railway 'mishaps' together with a few other odds and ends!

We will meet at 10.15 at the junction of Cae Perllan Road and Melfort Road, Newport (postcode: NP20 3FT) where on road parking can be had in the vicinity. For those wishing to travel by train, arrangements can be made for a maximum of 4 people to be picked up/set down in the short stay car park adjacent to the main entrance to Newport station. Pick up will be at 10.00 by prior arrangement only.

Depending on the route chosen, which will be determined on the day, the walk will be 5 or 6 miles long. The terrain will be urban pavement, fields and woodland with one ascent (the Garth Hill in Bassaleg) but this will be taken at an easy pace. Please wear supportive footwear with good grip.

Lunch will be taken at the Rhiwderyn Inn and it may be possible to finish with a visit to the WRRC HQ at Rhiwderyn, which is close to the pub.

A frequent bus service operates to return us to Newport followed by a short downhill walk to reach our start point.

Historical notes and a selection of photographs, will be provided to accompany the walk.

Appropriate clothing and footwear is advised and this may include sun cream, sunglasses and a sun hat!

Please let me know if you intend to participate in this walk and provide a contact number on which you can be contacted on the day should the need arise. Please also advise whether you wish to be picked up/dropped off at Newport and whether you intend to eat at the pub.



Tuesday 30th July - The Ogmore Valley: Nantymoel to Blackmill

Coal export through Porthcawl was the objective of the Ogmore Valley Railway which was incorporated by an Act on 13th July 1863 authorising a standard gauge line from Nantymoel to Tondu, with running powers over the broad gauge Llynfi Valley Railway to Porthcawl via a specially laid third rail. Passenger and freight services from Nantymoel to Porthcawl commenced on 1st August 1865 and in 1866 the Ogmore and Llynfi companies amalgamated. The route prospered and attracted the interest of the GWR which eventually absorbed the Llynfi & Ogmore Railway in 1883.

Passenger services between Tondu and Nantymoel were withdrawn on 5th May 1958 with goods services being progressively closed between 1962 and 1965. After that, the line remained open to serve the combined Wyndham/Western Colliery at Nantymoel and the large washeries at Ogmore Vale. Final closure reflected the decline of the coal industry; the section from Nantymoel to Caedu closed on 21st October 1983 with the remainder from Caedu to Tondu following on 16th July 1986.

Our start point shall be the small car park which now occupies the site of Nantymoel station and is accessed off Commercial Street by a left turn once past Londis and the Ruchi takeaway where we shall foregather at 11:00. (Grid Ref: 933930 OS Explorer map 166 Rhondda & Merthyr Tydfil, postcode CF32 7RA).

For those wishing to travel by train, I would be happy to pick up/drop off a maximum of 4 people at Bridgend station. If rail users could kindly plan their journey to be in the car park at Bridgend by 10:30 then that would give plenty of time to get to Nantymoel for a prompt 11:00 start.

The walking is easy, the entire 4.5 mile route being a footpath/cycleway on a falling gradient. Lunch will be taken at the aptly named Ogmore Junction at Blackmill where food is served from 12:00. For those wishing to return to our start point by public transport, First Cymru routes 74/75 (Bridgend to Nantymoel) operate a service every 20 minutes which picks up outside the pub and takes around 18 minutes to reach Nantymoel.

Appropriate clothing and footwear is advised and this may include sun cream, sunglasses and a sun hat!

Please let me know if you intend to participate in this walk and provide a contact number on which you can be contacted on the day should the need arise. Please also advise whether you wish to be picked up/dropped off at Bridgend station and whether you intend to eat at the pub.



Thursday 5th September - Pontnewynydd to Garndiffaith

This walk takes us over the former GWR Talywain Branch and a section of the LNWR Abersychan Extension. The southern section of our route was opened in 1879 by the Monmouthshire Railway & Canal Company to serve local collieries and joined the branch from Brynmawr to Abersychan & Talywain which was built by the LNWR and was opened throughout on 1st May 1878. A sparse passenger service operated between Brynmawr and Pontypool or Newport over the branch between 13th July 1912 and 5th May 1941 and was worked by the GWR. Freight traffic ceased with the closure of Blaenavon Big Pit in 1980 and the track was lifted in 1983.

Our meeting point at 11:00 is a small car park on Merchant's Hill in Pontnewynydd. Take the A4043 out of Pontypool from its roundabout intersection with the A472 and after about a mile - and after passing over three further roundabouts - a Texaco service station is passed on the right. Take the next left turn up Merchant's Hill, a sharp double-back movement, pass over the former railway bridge and the car park is on the left hand side (Grid Ref: SO275016 OS Explorer Map 152 Newport & Pontypool, postcode NP4 6DS).

Lunch will be taken at the Rising Sun Inn which is located adjacent to the former GWR Blaenavon branch just to the north of the site of Cwmffrwd Halt. Lunch is served between 12:00 and 15:00.

For those wishing to travel by train, I would be happy to pick up/drop off a maximum of 4 people at Newport station. Would those for whom a lift is pre-arranged please be in the short stay car park adjacent to the front of the station by 10:30.

The walk is around 4 miles over established surfaces and participants may prefer to return to our start point by bus following lunch. Phil Anslow Travel operate from a stop close to the pub at 13:57, 15:07 or 15:57 (Route 30, Blaenavon to Cwmbran via Pontypool). The journey time back to Merchant's Hill takes 13 minutes.

Appropriate clothing and footwear is advised and this may include sun cream, sunglasses and a sun hat!

Please let me know if you intend to participate in this walk and provide a contact number on which you can be contacted on the day should the need arise. Please also advise whether you wish to be picked up/dropped off at Newport and whether you intend to eat at the pub.


IMPORTANT: It is essential that I am advised in advance of your intention to join any of these walks so that you can be contacted in the event of it being necessary for me to cancel or amend any walk.

Contact details: Keith Dumelow - e-mail: below or mobile & text 07800 630807.