The programme for outdoor meetings 2022.

IMPORTANT: It is essential to advise Keith Dumelow in advance of your intention to join this walk so that you can be contacted in the event of it being necessary to cancel or amend.

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





Tuesday 19th July - Port Talbot Railway: Bryn to Port Talbot

Due to hot weather and travel disruption the walk has been changed to 6th September



Saturday 20th August - Lynfi & Ogmore Railway: Blackmill to Hendreforgan

For our walk in August we venture off the beaten track and trace the track bed of the Lynfi & Ogmore Railway, which was absorbed by the GWR in 1873, between Blackmill and Hendreforgan. Expansion of traffic necessitated a better eastbound outlet and the L&O, through an Act of 1866, built the line which opened in 1875 to link with that of the Ely Valley Extension Railway from Gellirhiadd Jctn to Gilfach Goch. Thus, the line once projected in competition to the GWR was completed by that company. Until withdrawal in 1930, passenger services to Gilfach Goch were worked from Tondu via Blackmill and Hendreforgan where trains reversed. Goods and mineral traffic ceased in 1961.

As car parking is restricted at the start of our walk, I propose we meet up in the adjacent Isfryn Industrial Estate, Blackmill, (Grid Ref: 938869, OS Explorer Map 166 Rhondda & Merthyr Tydfil, postcode: CF35 6EQ) at 11:00.

For those wishing to travel by train, I can arrange a 10:30 pick up at Bridgend for up to 3 walkers to suit the 10:20 arrival from Manchester (Newport 09:41, Cardiff 10:00) and the 10:27 arrival from Fishguard (Swansea 09:54, Port Talbot 10:14).

The route consists of around 3.75 miles on footpaths and cycleways from which the track bed can be either walked or viewed as some of it is now in private hands. Adjacent to the site of Hendreforgan station is the Griffin Inn, described as one of the real heritage pubs of Wales, where we can rest and take refreshment. Unfortunately, the pub does not serve food but we have permission to consume our own sandwiches on the premises. To complete our walk we then have a fairly stiff climb to the main road through the village from where we catch our bus back.

We board our Stagecoach Route 172 service from Aberdare to Bridgend at the Ffordd Llanbad bus stop in Hendreforgan, which is scheduled at 13 minutes past each hour, and alight at the Isfyn Industrial Estate stop, Blackmill, a journey of 10 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 of a request for a lift from Bridgend to Blackmill.



Tuesday 6th September - Port Talbot Railway: Bryn to Port Talbot

In the closing years of the 19th century the restrictions imposed on coal export traffic by the inadequacies of the harbour at Porthcawl became intolerable to the mine owners of the Lynfi, Garw and Ogmore valleys. The Vale of Glamorgan Railway, incorporated in 1889, would have satisfied this need had it not taken eleven years to build. Long before completion, the mine owners sought another alternative and turned their eyes to Port Talbot.

The company formed was, like the Barry Railway, a combined railway and dock company. It was incorporated on 31st July 1894 to enlarge the existing tidal harbour at Port Talbot, dating from around 1837, and to build a railway via Maesteg to the Garw valley at Pontyrhyll, with running powers over the GWR to the head of the valley. The line was completed in 1898, two years ahead of the Vale of Glamorgan Railway. Our walk incorporates a section of the Port Talbot Railway main line from Bryn to Port Talbot.

We shall meet in the small parking area close to the Royal Oak pub in Bryn (Grid Ref: 819920, OS Explorer Map 165 Swansea, Neath & Port Talbot, postcode: SA13 2RW) at 11:15. Turn off the B4282 next to the pub and parking is available opposite Cwm Farteg at the start of the walk. Our route down the gradient over the well-formed footpath on the track bed is a distance of about 3.25 miles to Goytre after which there is the option for walkers to proceed a further mile into Port Talbot to take lunch at the Lord Caradoc, a Wetherspoon pub near the centre of Port Talbot which serves food all day.

For walkers travelling by train, I can arrange a 10:45 pick up at Port Talbot Parkway for up to 3 walkers to suit the 10:38 arrival from Manchester (Newport 09:39, Cardiff 10:06, Bridgend 10:26) and the 10:41 arrival from Swansea, departing at 10:23.

The plan is to return by bus using the First Cymru X3 service (Port Talbot to Maesteg) which departs Port Talbot bus station, close to the pub, at 02 minutes past each hour and drops off at the Royal Oak in Bryn 17 minutes later. Walkers preferring to walk only to Goytre can pick up this service at the Chapel of Ease bus stop in Tanygroes Street (A4107), at 06 minutes past each hour.

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 of a request for a lift from Port Talbot to Bryn.



Thursday 22nd September - South Wales Mineral Railway: Ynys-y-Maerdy Incline

To conclude our 2022 programme of walks we visit Briton Ferry to tackle Brunel's 1.5 mile Ynys-y-Maerdy incline, a rope worked section of the South Wales Mineral Railway with a gradient of 1 in 9.

The SWMR, which was the first railway into the Afan Valley, was a broad gauge railway promoted by colliery interests at Glyncorrwg to link the mining area to the South Wales Railway at Briton Ferry and the nearby harbour. The line was constructed between 1861 and 1863 but was costly to build and expensive to operate and the railway's dependence on a single source of traffic gave rise to a precarious existence. The Glyncorrwg Coal Company went bankrupt in 1878 and took the SWMR down with it. The railway remained in receivership for 29 years until being absorbed by the GWR in 1908. In 1898 the Port Talbot Railway linked with the SWMR at Tonmawr and a close working relationship grew between the two Companies. This resulted in the SWMR being able to divert traffic to the modern harbour at Port Talbot and thus avoid the expensive bottleneck of the incline which was abandoned in 1910. The section from the top of the incline to Tonmawr Jctn closed in 1950.

We shall meet at 11:15 in Briton Ferry Woods car park, which is free and located in Jersey Park at the bottom of Ynysymaerdy Road which is accessed off Neath Road (A474). Grid Ref: 748949 OS Explorer Map 165 Swansea, Neath & Port Talbot, postcode: SA11 2TS.

For walkers travelling by train, I can arrange a 10:45 pick up at Port Talbot Parkway for up to 3 walkers to suit the 10:38 arrival from Manchester (Newport 09:39, Cardiff 10:06, Bridgend 10:26) and the 10:41 arrival from Swansea, departing at 10:23. A Port Talbot pick up is a more convenient option than Briton Ferry where the train service is infrequent with arrival times unsuited to our walk start time.

The walk is substantially uphill and stout footwear is essential as the surface is rocky and uneven in parts and can be wet. Following our ascent of the incline, the track bed can be walked for a further half mile after which it is signed as private property.

After retracing our steps down the gradient, we can take refreshment at the Crown Inn, conveniently located on Neath Road next to the main entrance to Jersey Park, and although no food is served, we are invited to consume our own on the premises which includes a beer garden. Alternatively, walkers can enjoy a packed lunch in the beautiful surroundings of the park.

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 of a request for a lift from Port Talbot to Briton Ferry.



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.