The coast path works well but there is a high-level inland route which we walked in 2005. You could make a circuit — out one way, back the other.
From Capel Mair, follow the metalled road up to Crugwyllt Farm. The road becomes a hollow track which bears right to follow the ridge.
At SS 80689 88080 go through a gate into the forest. At SS 81101 88608 turn right on a forest road then bear left.
At the next crossroads, SS 81414 88768, go straight on. At SS 82285 89035 a track joins from the left. Continue on the forest road round the head of a little valley, Cwm Nant-y-glo (the valley of the coal stream).
At the T junction half a mile further on, SS 82869 89568, turn left on another wide and well-surfaced forest road. You are now on the Heol y Moch, the prehistoric trackway which begins at Blaen-y-cwm on the Llangynwyd-Margam track. The section you are on now is also the line of the Coed Morgannwg Way, a long-distance path through the mountains and forests of Glamorgan.
Near the junction, a memorial stone to your right commemorates, in Welsh and English, W. H. (Billy) Vaughan, C.B.E., D.L., J.P., of Croeswen Canol, Taibach, Port Talbot, 1894-1959. Forestry Commissioner 1947-1959. He devoted his life and exceptional gifts to the welfare of others. Beloved of all men. Cysegrodd ei fyw a’i ddoniau nodedig er lles eraill. Cu iawn fu gan pawb.
At SS 82285 89035 the Coed Morgannwg Way turns right and swings through the forest. At SS 82285 89035 (T junction) turn left following waymarks. At SS 83316 91161 turn right and continue down towards open farmland. At SS 83452 91201 the forest road bends back to the left to go back into the trees. Go straight on over a cattle grid and down a farm track under a line of pylons following waymarks for the Coed Morgannwg Way and the St Illtyd's Walk. This track, too, eventually bends round to the left. You are now above Maesteg golf course.
At SS 83452 91201 turn right with the stony track, leaving the Coed Morgannwg Way, and walk downhill to cross the golf course. (The Coed Morgannwg Way goes straight on along a more roughly surfaced track, back into the woods as far as the mining village of Bryn and back through the woods on the other side of the valley. This is a pleasant walk but adds at least an hour to the day’s walking. The track through the golf course is is a public right of way and quite safe if you keep an eye on players teeing off.)
At SS 83697 91866, cross the main road and take the waymarked track ahead of you, signposted to Cymmer. The track goes along the forest edge then bears left to go uphill and into the forest. At SS 83911 92535, go straight on at the crossroads (the Coed Morgannwg Way rejoins you here) and up a steep slope. At SS 83684 92768, near the top of the climb, where the track begins to bend to the left, the Coed Morgannwg Way makes another of its inexplicable diversions to the right. It is probably simpler to stick to the main track, which is still the line of the Heol y Moch.
At SS 83981 93428, as you leave the forest, the Coed Morgannwg Way rejoins you from the right. At SS 83786 93425 turn right, at SS 83161 93708 go straight on, at SS 82796 93758 turn right, at SS 82204 94403 bear left and walk down to the Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre.
The Visitor Centre is based around a mining museum. It has a café, information centre and bike hire as well as car parking and excellent toilets. More information on the Neath-Port Talbot web site.There is a guest house nearby - Llynfi House, 200 yards from the Countryside Centre, tel. 01639.851692. Alternative accommodation is three miles up the valley at Cymmer: Brynteg House, 9 Craig y Fan, tel. 01639.851820. You could continue on the line of the Heol y Moch from Rhiw Tor Cymru down to Cymmer then walk back along the cycle track to Afan Argoed the next day.
|Inland route through Afan Argoed|