The Taff Trail:Tongwynlais
Tongwynlais is a small village on the on the edge of the Valleys and on the Cardiff end of the narrow Taff Gorge. It attracts visitors from outside the area because of the unusual Castell Coch which towers on the hillside above. From the cross roads outside the Lewis Arms: to the north-west is Taff's Well; to the north-east is Castell Coch; whilst to the South is the route to Cardiff.
Tongwynlais has provisions, Fish & Chip shop, pubs and a cycle shop.
Although there is a 20 mph speed limit in the Tongwynlais, the "traffic calming measures" are particularly difficult for a cyclist to negotiate safely. Some motorist give way to bicycles others don't. Speed bumps are very high and need to be cycled around or out of your saddle. Also 2 of the road narrowings have vehicles approaching from 3 directions at once. Going North, the Trail divides here with the older, more strenuous route via Castell Coch. The sign post now shows this as Taff Trail - High Level.
Going South to Cardiff, with minor exceptions the trail stays close to the River Taff.
Tongwynlais to Hailey Park
Start in Tongwynlais at the cross roads outside the Lewis Arms. To the north is Taff's Well. To the left is the road leading to Castell Coch. Cycle along the main road for 100 metres or so past the school, turn right along a lane to the old Iron Bridge to Morganstown which spans the river and was originally built to carry a tramway to Pentyrch.
Left through the cycle gate, then under the M4 motorway then right, into a tree-lined path alongside the river.
Next stop is Radyr Weir and fish pass where there are picnic tables. Watch out for stunt cyclists emerging from the trees in this area. This is where the water was taken for the Melingriffiths water pump via three large sluices and a one-mile feeder all of which can still be seen. You can also see a mock up of a section of Melingriffiths and Pentyrch Tramway track.
Continue past the footbridge across the river to Radyr Station, Forest Farm conservation centre and the Cardiff High School Old Boys Rugby Club, then turn right through a cycle gate to follow the river. Left just after a cycle gate takes you between the houses emerging into Ty-Mawr Road by the Melingriffiths Water Pump.
The influence of the now defunct Glamorgan Canal can be seen both in the pump and this mooring bollard. You can see signs of rope wear from the horse drawn boats. The grooves were worn into the steel post by ropes being continually dragged around the post.
Tongwynlais to Taffs Well
This is the low level route which was completed in 2001. As we leave Tongwynlais, take the extra wide pavement to the right of the main road. This safely follows around the edge of the busy interchange avoiding much of the traffic. Care is needed when crossing the slip road (Clearly marked). Continue to the next junction on the pavement which is clearly marked for cycling. The road to the right is to Ty-Rhiw and an alternative way up to the high level trail, but ignore this for now. Cross over the road (following the pavement which is not marked for cycling) to the traffic lights.
Turn Right towards the Taffs Well Station.
Tongwynlais to Castell Coch
Going North from Tongwynlais, the Trail divides the route via Castell Coch is sign posted as the High Level route which was theoriginal and more strenuous route.
From the Lewis Arms go up the steady gradient of Mill Road past the Castle Coch Golf Club to the gateway of Castell Coch. The steep driveway to the castle is short but strenuous.