Starting out in Bargoed's Bristol Terrace, this cycle path runs along abandoned rail track and under a number of historic bridges used to transport coal from nearby collieries dotted around the surrounding countryside. The former Bargoed Colliery was a record breaker in its hey-day: in one 10-hour shift in December 1908 grafting mine workers unearthed a world record 4,562 tons of coal.
Amid the outstanding beauty of this trail is evidence of the area's great industrial past - the former Groesfaen slag heaps are still dominant in the landscape. You eventually stumble on Deri, a small town on the fringes of unspoiled Parc Cwm Darran two miles north of Bargoed. The Park has a visitor centre open in the summer. Built on the former Ogilvie Colliery it features one of Wales' last remaining Powder Stores, a cafe as well as an interactive learning centre telling the story of the area's great industrial past.
The park also acts as a gateway to the wildlife havens of Cwmllydrew Meadows, three meadows and a shady oak tree wood. Green woodpeckers have been spotted at this nature reserve along with Yellow Meadow Ant anthills. The meadows are also a haven for rare butterflies.
A brand new section of the route travels onwards for just over a mile, past fields of horses and brooding forestry before reaching the community of Fochriw - a town with a huge mining history, which is also connected with Arthurian legend.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.