Walk 32: Pontypridd Town Walk: In the “Land of My Fathers”

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 2.5 miles (4.02km)

Time to walk: Roughly 1.5 hours, but this one could take much longer depending how long you want to spend in one of the best traditional markets we’ve ever come across, plus the museum

Difficulty: All on road & very easy

Parking: Park in the Station car park – it’s really cheap & there’s plenty of spaces

Public toilets: In the station, or there’s plenty of cafes, toilets in the market etc

Map of the route: 

map

This is a fantastic walk & you’ll see that we loved this town

Pontypridd is pretty run down, as are many local towns these days, but…well it’s just a fab place &, if you fancy buying a 2 bed terraced house, it’s yours for £47,000. It might not be the best prospect in the world, but it’s in stunning countryside & 15 miles from the sea. Plus the people are soooo friendly…there’s lovely!

Also, before we look at Pontypridd in general, we have to mention our favourite place, its indoor market which is one of the best we’ve ever come across &, if we lived in the town we’d shop there every day

The name Pontypridd is from “Pont-y-tŷ-pridd” the Welsh for “bridge by the earthen house”, a reference to a succession of wooden bridges that formerly spanned the River Taff

The history of Pontypridd is closely tied to the coal & iron industries. Prior to the developments of these the town was largely a rural backwater comprising a few farmsteads, with Treforest initially becoming the main urban settlement in the area

Sited as it is at the junction of the three valleys, it became an important location for the transportation of coal from the Rhondda & iron from Merthyr Tydfil, first via the Glamorganshire Canal & later via the Taff Vale Railway, to the ports at Cardiff, Barry & Newport

However…Pontypridd is more closely linked with another Welsh tradition…singing

The words of the Welsh National Anthem were written here (as we’ll see later) & a certain Tom Jones was born Thomas Jones Woodward just up the road in Treforest in 1940

There’s so much more history to look at, so come on let’s get going & see what we can find…

Let’s Walk!

1. The best place to park to start this walk is in the station car park & then walk over the bridges into the station itself…

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However if you first fancy a bit of Welsh sporting tradition, on the left from the car park is Pontypridd Rugby Club…

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Have a look at this link for their ‘Hall of Fame’ players!

2. Take a couple of moments to have a look across Pontypridd from the bridge…

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The photos don’t do it justice, but Pontpridd is set in some really beautiful countryside. Cross over into the station

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3. The station dates back to 1840 &, at 1/3rd mile long, was once one of the longest platforms in the country to accommodate the trains transporting iron & coal to Cardiff

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Head down the steps to exit the station…

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4. At the exit, turn left & walk about 100 yards…

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…passing Sardis Chapel on the left, which is one of the Welsh only speaking chapels in the area…

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5. On reaching the roundabout take care but cross right over the road at the pedestrian crossing…

Next game

Next game

…& over the road’s the Rhondda River in full flow. Apparently it contains some fine Brown Trout

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6. So…after crossing the river turn first right & have a look at the plaque on the wall…

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Well that’s pretty impressive & we’ll meet them again later & discuss in more detail, however for now pass the bus stops…

IMG_8432…& turn first right into Church Street where heaven awaits…

Nice mural

Nice mural

7. Those of you that know us well know how much we love markets (especially food ones) & here on the left’s one of the best..Pontypridd Indoor Market…

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8. Just open the doors & explore…

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Pontypridd Market dates back to Victorian times &, if like us, you’re a bit cheeky & chat to the traders, you can have a great time & try a bit of all the local delicacies…

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You can even get a Thai Curry here..

You can even get a Thai Curry here.

There’s some local, traditional food available for just a few pennies…

What no Cawl?

What no Cawl?

9. Since working in The Valleys, one of the things we always bring home is Welsh Cakes & here was a stall making & cooking them on the spot. Lovely people & great food…

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10. The final part of the market is mainly meat…

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…so please take the opportunity to try Welsh Cutting Cake & Jellied Veal – just awesome. Ask for a taste & they’ll be more than happy plus talk about their wares…

pie

veal

Jellied veal is a cold cut dish made from veal, stock, onion and spices such as allspice, bay leaf & white pepper. It’s eaten cold from often with potatoes & pickled beetroot or sliced on bread – try it…it’s delicious

11. It was sorely tempting to just sit here & eat, but we had work in a couple of hours so had to crack on & come back out of the market through the same doors & turn right back up to the street (if you need to visit the loo in the market first, a lovely lady will take your hard earned cash)…

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12. At the end of the road on the other side’s St Catherine’s Church

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13. Moving further up what appears to be “religious street” we firstly pass St David’s Uniting Church

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…& then Temple Baptist Church

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Full on!!

Full on!!

14. This road really is all about churches as just a few yards further on is The Muni…

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Short for The Municipal Arts Centre, this is a converted former church

15. The architectural buildings are now coming thick & thin as just over the road’s The Old Town Hall…

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It was built in the Edwardian era & is very ornate. Apparently the council chamber is spectacular, but we couldn’t get in there

16. After passing the Old Town Hall the road divides & we fork right…

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…& then cross the road again to arrive at two of Ponty’s most famous structures

Firstly the Museum. Have a look at the link as it’s well worth a visit…

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Housed in a converted chapel built in 1861, the centre tells the story of the town & its people. Use of audio-visual programmes & ‘hands on’ exhibits illustrate elements of social, military, sporting & cultural history, as well as industry & transport

17. And next door is the town’s most famous landmark…Pontypridd Bridge…

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Ponty was previously called Newbridge which refers back to when it was built in 1756 by William Edwards

In its time this bridge was the longest stone built single-arch bridge in Europe. The 3 holes at each end are of different sizes & designed to reduce the weight of the bridge

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Click on these links to see our video…

Here’s the view from atop across Ponty..

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18. Continue over the bridge…

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…where you now have the option to enter the park, but first it’s worth just heading left before the flyover to pay a visit to the Llanover Arms, which is commonly known as “a valleys drinking time capsule”. Apparently it was so rough in the 19th century that a song was written about it!

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On the left, before you reach the pub, is a hairdressers with a bit of a throwback in the window…it’s a Chopper!!!

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19. Right the pub’s not open so move on (by the way there’s an excellent pie shop next door…)

Now cross the road & enter Ynysangharad Park

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Laid out in the 1920’s, the park was opened in 1923 by Field Marshall Viscount Allenby as a war memorial park

A large pavilion was erected in the park for the Eisteddfod of 1893

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20. On passing though the gates turn immediately right past the ‘pitch & putt’ on the right…

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…& then immediately right down the avenue of trees…

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A touch of black & white

A touch of black & white

21. Across to the left we spy a couple of statues so think it’s worth a closer inspection..

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This is a memorial to James & Evan James who wrote ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ (Land of my Fathers) – the Welsh National Anthem. To have a listen click on the link below…

The statues were designed by Sir William Goscombe John & unveiled before 10,000 people by Lord Treowen in 1930

22. Carry on down the tree lined avenue past the impressive band stand on the left…

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The view to the town on the right’s obscured by work going on to what’s one of the UK’s most historic, Grade II listed, lidos. It’s part of a massive regeneration project to attract people back to Ponty…

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23. On the left are two fairly new war memorials…

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…which honour the names of 1319 local people who lost their lives in two World Wars & more recent conflicts

24. At the junction of paths take the right fork, heading towards the tennis courts…

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…stopping to have a look at the mine cart, a reminder of what this town used to be about…

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There’s some more impressive wooden carvings along here…

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25. The path back into the town lies across the bridge to the right, passing over the river Taff again…

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You can just make out the old bridge in the distance

You can just make out the old bridge in the distance

26. Here we are back in the town…

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…so turn first right into High Street

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It’s a pretty standard small town centre that’s seen better times & there’s several ‘collectors’ & beggars etc – shame as it could be a lot better

27. After about 50 yards turn left into Market Street…

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& on the left there’s an astronaut…how random is that!!

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28. The last place of note on this walk is The Blueberry Inn on the left…

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This used to be The Market Tavern which dates back to 1892 & was owned by the same company that ran the market which is close by

Well…that’s Pontypridd &…we really loved it!!

Yes it’s a typical run down town, but there’s a real spirit here & a desire to get back to the ‘good ole days’ &, you know what. we think they will. There’s a lot of regeneration projects going on here & they will pay off

So go & look behind the facade & you’ll see a town with a lot of history that’s really trying

Now…let’s get back to that market!!

Go Walk!!

 

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