Valleys 100 Section 1 - Pontypool to Cwmcarn

Section 1 of The Valleys Hundred sees the route leave the start at West Monmouth School and walk via Mynydd Maen and Twmbarlwm to Cwmcarn.

The route leaves the school, and utilises a minor road that climbs to the rural hamlet of Penyrheol. On arriving at Penyrheol, views to the east will begin to open up, and you will be able to see as far as The Cotswolds, The Second Severn Crossing and north Somerset.

The route leaves the minor road and starts to climb to the summit of Mynydd Maen. Mynydd Maen is a ‘relative hill’ which means that it has a drop on all sides of at least 150m. The going is now easy and soon views to the north and west will also open up. As the route approaches the summit of Mynydd Maen, the hills and valleys that much of the rest of the route will walk over become visible. On a really good day, the Central Brecon Beacons and even the Black Mountain will be visible beyond the Rhondda hills.

From the summit, the walk turns south and the next 3.5 miles will pass very easily, particularly as the path gently descends and then gently climbs to the rounded summit of the ancient hill fort of Twmbarlwm. Twmbarlwm dominates the skyline when viewed from the south, and as a result, you will enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city of Newport below to the south east. You will also enjoy views of the principality’s capital, and the eagle eyed amongst you will spy the home of Welsh rugby, the Millennium Stadium.

From Twmbarlwm, an initial steep descent will bring you to the forestry above Cwmcarn. A path leads you downhill to the site of the old Cwmcarn Colliery, and it is now almost impossible to imagine that this small valley was the home of a very busy industrial area that at its peak employed 1056 men. All that remains now is a dram and a winding wheel that are located on the exact spot of the colliery. Now Cwmcarn is a premier cycling venue and offers downhill cycling that attracts people from all over South Wales and Southern England.

The route walks along the small man made lake that is very popular with anglers to arrive at the first checkpoint

Next section