Grid reference: around SS 974 984
As you climb the ridge above Penrhys, look down to your right. Maerdy, Little Moscow, home of Margaret Thatcher’s Enemy Within, the last pit in the Rhondda Fach. None of us who saw it will forget the return of the miners to their doomed pit after the end of the 1984 miners’ strike. They marched back in the dark of a winter morning, led by the local brass band, union banners aloft. There is nothing left of the pit now: it was being dismantled as the last shift checked out.
In the forest to the east of Maerdy is all that remains of a medieval Welsh castle. Castell Nos was probably built by the Welsh lords of Meisgyn, descendants of Iestyn ap Gwrgant, the last Welsh king of Glamorgan. These hills remained in Welsh control long after the Norman marcher lords had conquered the richer land to the south.