Distance: 24.8 miles
Travel Time: 3 - 3.5 hours
Ride Level: Advanced
This ride begins at the Hengoed Train Station and ends and the Caerphilly Visitor Centre. Approximately 90% of the route is on traffic-free walking & cycling paths including; NCN Route 47, NCN Route 8 (The Taff Trail), and NCN Route 4 (The Celtic Trail). It's a great little adventure ride for those with a bit more experience and offers a wide assortment of scenic terrain.
Follow NCN Route 47 across the front of the Hengoed Community Centre and through the A-frame on the other side of the yard. The first mile will take you through the woods on a traffic-free route into Parc Penalta where you will cycle for three miles (traffic-free) through the length of the park to Treharris. Turn right across the suspension bridge and continue down a series of zig-zags into Quakers Yard. Travel carefully down the narrow lane, through the village, and join the Taff Trail (NCN Route 8) on the other side of A4054.
This next short section travels just over a mile down a quiet lane to the village of Abercynon. In Abercynon you will again enter onto a traffic-free path for three miles to Pontypridd. Here you will leave the traffic-free path and enter onto the streets of an housing estate. You will need to take special precaution of the many parked cars and pedestrian traffic as you snake along through the neighborhood roads to Ynysangharad Memorial Park in the heart of Pontypridd.
Enter Ynysangharad Memorial Park across the very busy Bridge Road (use caution and the pelican crossing). You will cycle through and to the rear of the park where you will continue alongside the Taff River to exit the woods just under the A470. Turn left under the road, cycle up and around toward the University of South Wales car park, through the roundabout, and enter again onto the traffic-free path through the A-frames. It's smooth sailing now for the next four miles as you can pedal easily along the re-purposed traffic-free rail line down to Nantgarw.
At Nantgarw you will encounter a very busy dual carriageway that will require special attention through two pelican crossings. Pay particular caution as you will most probably be required to wait in the center median. Once on the other side, you will re-enter the cycle/walking path and head into the woods, down another zig-zag to reach the junction of the Taff Trail (NCN Route 8) and NCN Route 4 just under a large abandoned stone bridge.
Turn left on NCN Route 4 (leaving the Taff Trail) and head up toward Caerphilly. This next mile is not terribly steep, but it is a steady climb up to the A469. This road too can be quite busy depending on the time of day, so you will need to use care crossing into the housing estate on the other side. Follow along the dual-use pavement past the roundabout a short distance turning left at the pond onto the walking/cycle path.
This is now the last section of the route which utilizes a combination of dual-use pavements and quiet roads for the remaining mile and a half to the center of town. The route should be well marked (NCN Route 4) but will involve many little turns to reach the Caerphilly Castle and visitor centre.
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|ROUTE COLOUR KEY:||Traffic-free||Shared Use||Quiet Road||Steep Hill|
|Middle Valley Tour|
|Location:||Hengoed to Caerphilly|
|Approx. Time:||3 - 3.5 hrs.|
|Elevation:||+922 / -1100 ft.|