History of The Maenllwyd Inn, Rudry and the Rhymney Valley
The Maenllwyd Inn started life 400 years ago as a family farmhouse, when most of the population of Rudry were involved in agriculture or worked on the nearby great estate of Ruperra Castle, home of the Morgan family. The name Maenllwyd comes from the material used to build the inn, meaning ‘grey stone’. It was used as a village bakery for a number of years before becoming an inn 200 years ago. Rudry is one of several tiny villages and hamlets that dot the high hills and slopes of the rural Rhymney Valley, just four miles east of Caerphilly and eight miles north of Cardiff.
In past times the valley has been home to tin and coal mines and there is evidence of Roman lead mining in nearby Draethen, but today the area is once again a quiet and sedate landscape of isolated farmsteads, where many come to escape the city and enjoy the scenery. The Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk, a 28-mile circular loop that passes close to The Maenllywd Inn, takes in quiet country lanes and paths through beech woodlands and panoramic ridges, with the highest point at Mynydd Machen.
Nearby Grade II listed Ruperra Castle, built in 1626 by Sir Thomas Morgan, steward to the Earl of Pembroke, played host to Charles I after his defeat in the Battle of Naseby in 1645, and the main entrance to the house is still known as King’s Drive. Sadly, the house was badly damaged by fire in World War II and remains derelict, an atmospheric landmark on a walk through the estate woods of Coed Craig Ruperra, an ancient woodland with remains of a Norman motte and bailey fort at the summit.
Caerphilly lies just 4 miles to the west of The Maenllwyd Inn, dominated by the spectacular Caerphilly Castle, one of the largest medieval fortresses in Britain. Building began in 1268 and was ordered by Anglo-Norman marcher lord, Gilbert de Clare. The castle had formidable defences, surrounded by artificial lakes and dams, and has often been used for film and TV, including episodes of Doctor Who and Merlin. The town is world-famous for its crumbly white Caerphilly Cheese, celebrated annually at the Big Cheese Festival in July.
Rudry has its own festival, Pentreffest, in October, a celebration of European folk music and dance based at Rudry Parish Hall. Every year, groups and artists converge from Belgium, France, Sweden and all over Europe and the Rhymney Valley is filled with the sound of bagpipes, melodeons and hurdy-gurdies.
Whatever the reason for a visit, The Maenllwyd Inn offers guests a warm welcome and the chance to enjoy a delicious pub lunch or one of the seasonal specials with family and friends in the lovely Rhymney Valley. Relaxing Sunday lunches and a fine selection of wines and cask ales, together with a welcoming ambience, are always on offer.
You’ll find The Maenllwyd Inn 4 miles east of Caerphilly at Rudry, in Mid-Glamorgan. Just key CF83 3EB into your satnav.