On this tramway, the Penydarren locomotive entered World history by becoming the first ever steam-powered railway locomotive to pull a load on rails. A 500 guinea bet was made by local iron masters that it couldn't haul 10 tonnes of iron. The stakes were high, but on the 21st of January 1804, after 4 hours and a broken track, Richard Trevithick's engine completed the 9 miles from Penydarren to Abercynon! Today you should be able to complete the 9 miles quite a bit faster but we promise you will find plenty to distract you along the way.
The trail is as true to the original alignment as over 200 years of development has permitted but you will find short hills and sections on quiet residential roads breaking up the journey. There are sweeping views of the mountains and valleys that will take your breath away. The Trevithick Trail project has placed pieces of original artwork all along the route and the area around Trevithick's Tunnels is especially well worth exploring.
If you need to come off the trail at Pentrebach - perhaps to access the local business park, or to stock up on picnic supplies at the nearby supermarket - you'll be greeted by the iconic Puddlers Bridge, named after the ironworkers who once lived in the area. Take five on the Portrait Bench, featuring life-sized models of Merthyr born fashions designers Julien Macdonald, Laura Ashley and the trail's namesake, Richard Trevithick.
At Pontygwaith Nature Reserve the Trevithick Trail joins National Cycle Network, Route 8 where you can return to Merthyr Tydfil on the Taff Trail without having to retrace your steps. Or else, stick to the Trevithick Trail south along National Cycle Network, Route 8 to Abercynon and you'll find yourself on an amazing piece of old tram road that runs parallel to the River Taff. Be sure to look down to catch a glimpse of the original sleepers - now over 200 years old!
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.