The Taff Trail:Pontsarn
Pontsarn Inn was built as a station Master`s house in the mid 19th century to serve the Brecon to Merthyr line. The building later served as a post office, shop and an inn, providing refreshment for miners and their families enjoying their Sunday School trips to the countryside. (From a plaque placed by the Merthyr Tydfil Heritage Trust)
Sadly the Inn has recently gone into disrepair.
The platform is still there on the Brecon and Merthyr Railway Line, where parties of sightseers and Sunday School outings used to arrive by train a hundred years ago.
The first through train came on 8th August 1868. Increasing to 21 trains a day by 1873. It was closed in 1963.
Pontsarn to Cefn Coed Viaduct
As we leave Pontsarn the trail runs along the NW side of the Taf Fechan (Little Taff) river. After crossing a wooden bridge the view across the valley towards Merthyr Tydfil in now largely obscured by trees.
After crossing the `Heads of the Valleys` main road on a bridge, we use a short narrow path at the side of St John`s Church. The trail runs to the bottom of Church St, across the main road, another path to the Station Hotel then onto the viaduct.
Pontsarn to Pontsticill
From the old railway platform, under the arch of a bridge we cross the Pontsarn Viaduct. This section becomes progressively more rural as we travel towards the Brecon Beacons.
An interesting tunnel entrance can be seen on the right. This took the railway in a loop through the hill to the Dowlais Iron Works.
The path ends abruptly at a sign declaring the next section to be on private land. We turn onto a tarmac lane downhill under a bridge to a junction, then turn right and climb past the water treatment works to the dam of the Ponsticill Reservoir.