I discovered this cycle route back in the fall of 2012 and had been encouraging anyone and everyone to give this surprisingly easy ride a try. So this past March, Tim and I met in Hengoed for a little jaunt. It was a cool and bright morning as we left the train station, but as we moved further north; the weather soon changed noticeably.
|Arctic bike porn at 1400 ft....|
|A selfie before we head back down the mountain...|
The cycle path leads you through the woods of the Darran Valley along an old rail line at a very mild incline. The river weaves back and forth under the trail and you pass many old remnants of the mining industry tucked amongst the trees... as well as disused train platforms wrapped in the underbrush.
Directions: Starting at the Hengoed Train Station, you drop down and under the viaduct and cycle along the high street through Fleur de Lis to Pengam where you join NCN Route 468 at ______* (park named needed!) to Bargoed. You then get onto NCN Route 469 which follows the old rail line into Parc Cwm Darran and eventually to the tiny village of Fochriw.
At Fochriw you leave the cycle path and move onto a fairly quiet road, up and out of town to a ridge that separates the Darran Valley and the Rhymney Valley. Once at the top, you merely turn back across the moors and slowly climb along the ridge looking back over Fochriw. It then rolls easily south along the ridges and hills before dropping you back into Pengam where you then return as you came, back to the train station in Hengoed. It's as especially nice ride because you can reach some outstanding vistas without having to climb the typically steep Welsh hills.
I was certain that I had some additional photos of the winter trip, but regardless; you get the general idea of the day. (It's a great little ride that will make for an excellent future addition to the "Train & Ride" section...) Meanwhile, here are two shots from an earlier expedition...