The programme for outdoor meetings 2018.

I have selected three walks, with dates, for our programme of Outdoor Meetings for 2018 which are set out below. Hopefully there is something there for everyone with varied walks and a geographical spread across South Wales.

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 14th July 2018 - Sirhowy Valley (Nine Mile Point to Tredegar Lower Jctn)

This walk covers the former London & North Western Railway's (LNWR) route through the southern section of the Sirhowy Valley. The walking is easy, the entire 4.5 mile route being a footpath/cycleway. For those wishing to return to our start point by public transport, the Stagecoach Route 56 service (Tredegar to Newport) operates down the Sirhowy Valley along the B4251 every 30 minutes.

The Sirhowy Tramroad was incorporated in 1802 to run from the Tredegar Iron Company's works at Sirhowy to Nine Mile Point where it joined the Monmouthshire Canal Company's tramway to Newport. Conversion to railways was slow, starting in the 1850s but taking over a decade to complete. The financial strain of conversion rendered the Sirhowy Railway vulnerable to takeover and the LNWR seized its opportunity to acquire the Railway in 1876 thus enabling the LNWR to achieve its ambition of independent entry to South Wales' rich mining valleys and access to a Bristol Channel port.

We shall meet at 11:15 in the car park of the Sirhowy Valley Country Park which can be accessed off the roundabout close to Crosskeys at the point where the A467 (Newport to Brynmawr road) and the B4251 converge (Grid Ref: 213914 OS Explorer map 152 - Newport & Pontypool).

For those wishing to travel by train, Crosskeys station is less than a mile from the Country Park and I would be happy to pick up/set down a maximum of 4 people. An hourly service operates between Cardiff Central and Crosskeys (dpt Cardiff 10:34, arr Crosskeys 11:05. Services in the reverse direction depart at 2 mins past each hour).

Lunch will be taken at the Halfway House in Gelligroes which is close to the series of junctions which provided connections between the Sirhowy line and the Pontypool to Neath route.

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

Please let Keith 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 Crosskeys station and whether you intend to eat at the pub.


Wednesday 8th August 2018 - Cefn Coed to Pontsticill

This walk will take us over the scenic Brecon & Merthyr (B&M) route from Cefn Coed to Pontsticill. The B&M's branch to Merthyr opened in 1869 and used the GWR's High Street station as its terminus. In 1879 the LNWR's "Heads of the Valleys" route from Abergavenny joined the B&M at Morlais Jctn by way of a 1,040yd tunnel, the line from this point to Merthyr being in joint B&M/LNWR ownership which caused the LNWR to abandon its proposed independent branch. The route closed to passenger traffic in 1961 and through freight ceased in 1964 although Vaynor Quarry continued to be serviced from the south until 1966.

The round trip is around 7 miles of mostly easy walking, the exception being a fairly steep climb of about half a mile from the valley floor to the village of Pontsticill for lunch at the Red Cow Inn. However, the climb is worth the effort as the Red Cow offers a warm welcome and serves a fine selection of food and cask ales and the pub is listed in the Good Beer Guide.

We will meet at 11:00 in the free car park in Cefn Coed which is situated in High Street (A4054) and is accessed off New Church Street (Grid Ref: SO031080, OS Explorer map OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park, West & Central areas). The car park is opposite Sammy's Fish Bar and is next to the Drovers Arms. As I will be driving from Caerphilly, I can offer train travellers lifts to a maximum of 4 people between Aber station and Cefn Coed. The 10:01 off Cardiff Central, arriving Aber at 10:23, is the most conveniently timed train for an 11:00 meet at Cefn Coed.

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

Please let Keith 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 Crosskeys station and whether you intend to eat at the pub.


Thursday 27th September 2018 - Afan Valley (Cynonville to Cymmer)

Our September walk is along the Afan Valley which runs north-east from Port Talbot and although peaceful and secluded today this belies the area's rich industrial heritage which caused railways to be constructed down each side of the Valley. The first line opened between 1861 and 1863 was the broad gauge South Wales Mineral Railway followed in 1890 by the Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway having tunnelled from the Rhondda Valley in order to divert to Swansea a share of the lucrative coal export trade. Our walk will take us from Cynonville along the trackbed of the R&SBR to Cymmer, where there was once no fewer than three railway stations, returning on the opposite side of the Valley via the SWML route. The walk totals around 6 miles of easy walking on established routes.

Our meet point shall be the car park of the Afan Argoed Country Park which is situated to the west of Cynonville and is a right turn off the A4107 when travelling up the Valley (Grid Ref: SN823952, OS Explorer Map 166 Rhondda & Merthyr Tydfil). We shall convene at 11:00 and please note that new car parking charges are applicable from 11 June such that the charge for parking in excess of 4 hours, which shall be necessary for our visit, is £3.50.

The historical railway theme extends to lunch as this will be taken in "The Refreshment Rooms" of the R&SBR's Cymmer Afan station which is now a pub and restaurant and is happily still serving the purpose for which it was built in 1888. Lunch is served until 15:00 each weekday.

For those walkers wishing to travel by train, I can offer a lift from Port Talbot station for a maximum of 4 people. Would those for whom a lift is pre-arranged please be in the station car park by 10:30.

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

Please let Keith 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 Crosskeys station and whether you intend to eat at the pub.