A tranquil Welsh hills pub walk roaming the beautiful Rhyd-y-gwern Woods
This lovely 3¾ mile pub walk near Caerphilly takes you along tranquil woodland paths. The way is generally flat, except for a slope just before waymark 3. Because it passes through land not used for livestock, dogs are welcome too.Download PDF Guide
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As you come out of the pub, head along the main road towards Draethen for about 400 yards. When you reach the ‘Llwyn Fir’ forestry car park on your left, turn into it and pass the barrier. About 50 yards further on, take the left turn leading uphill. Stay on this path and, just after it levels out, turn right at the crossing. You’ll soon reach a forest road opposite a gate to a disused quarry – turn left and follow it as it bears to the right.
When you reach a wide area, take the footpath directly ahead until it reaches a slope. Turn right here with a fence to your left. At the corner of the fence you’ll see a gnarled beech tree – turn left here and follow this path as it climbs steeply past a stile.
“During Spring, this area of woods is sprinkled with violets, primroses, wood anemones and bluebells”
Butterflies attracted to these types of flowers include fritillaries, brimstones and orange-tips.
Just after the top of the ridge, turn right then – after about 10 yards – left, heading downhill. The well-worn path crosses two small streams and continues through the woods, with fine views across to the hills above Caerphilly. At a stile on your left, bear to the right, crossing the forest track and continuing to the crossroads. Turn right here and cross another forest track as you drop down into the woods.
At some fallen trees you’ll bear to the right and cross a stream before reaching a fork. Bear left here, cross another path and continue uphill, almost to the top. Take the path that leads between two fenced pits and, after about 200 yards, bear left. After crossing another forest track, go straight on before turning left at a junction. Pass a large yew tree before turning right when you join the wide track. Go straight on and when waymark 2 comes into sight, bear to the left and follow the track to the start. From there, it’s a short stroll back to the pub where refreshment awaits!
During the walk you may spot uneven patches in the surrounding woodland – these are likely to be the remains of mines where silver, tin and coal were once dug for.
Point of Interest
Rudry was once renowned for its mineral springs, and Oliver Cromwell is reputed to have taken shelter in the village church. Today, the modest village is fast building a reputation as a music destination with its annual European folk festival in October, Pentreffest.
The name Maenllywd means ‘grey stone’ – the material used to construct the pub’s reassuringly thick walls.
The Maenllwyd Inn is ideally positioned for stunning views across the rolling fields and dotted white farmsteads that make up the Rhymney Valley. This 400-year-old former farmhouse with walls of weathered grey stone is a wonderful venue for a relaxing pub restaurant meal. Diners can enjoy the pleasant scenery throughout the year, either out on the sun-drenched terrace during the summer or in the bright and spacious conservatory over the winter.
Crackling fires welcome guests in those colder months, providing a cosy end to a day spent wandering the woods and fields around the picturesque village of Rudry and Draethen, visiting the haunting Ruperra Castle which once played host to Charles I, or visiting historic Caerphilly with its magnificent medieval castle. Another local attraction is the 28-mile Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk that passes close to The Maenllwyd Inn – on clear days, the path offers panoramic views south across the Bristol Channel and north to the Brecon Beacons.
Nestled amid the rugged beauty of the Rhymney Valley, The Maenllwyd Inn always has a warm welcome for tourists and ramblers alike. With its rustic ambience, it's the perfect way to savour traditional pub meals and leisurely Sunday lunches – all accompanied by cask ales and an excellent selection of wines.
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