Has the Welsh Active Travel Act started to pay off? It is supposed to improve walking and cycling infrastructure, making people choose not to take their cars. I did a small test last week, walking about four miles home from the Royal Glamorgan hospital at Ynysmaerdy.
It’s an easy route to find, signposted for cycling and walking through the hospital and out of the south entrance on the Ely Valley Road (A4119). The cycle route is beside this busy road which is very noisy. We crossed the road and headed onto a quiet footpath steeply up Danygraig – there are lots running parallel along the hillside to Llantrisant.
Llantrisant is an old hilltop town which received its charter in 1346. It was one of the eight boroughs that consituted Glamorgan, and has a higgledy-piggledy layout around its church, castle and the more modern Model House – art & craft studios and gallery – and Bullring. One of its more famous residents was William Price, chartist, druid, vegetarian, who established the legality of cremation. His staute dominates the Bullring. Llantrisant overlooks the recent splurge of building around Talbot Green.
We walked through Yr Allt to the cobbled street into the Bullring, and from there took the narrow main road to get onto Erw Hir, where I used to buy horse feed from M Rees. They also sold molasses by the gallon from a huge drum. The old yard buildings are long closed.
Erw Hir gives access to footpath 243 which drops down to the A473, the road from Talbot Green to Pontypridd. There we joined the Community Path – the old road before Church Village bypass which runs alongside and then turns away.
Here the path becomes a mess because of new development close to the Beddau roundabout on the bypass. Despite the high use of the Community Path by cyclists and walkers, site access has been allowed across it, mixing cars dangerously into people doing Active Travel. Cyclists can travel fast, and this could prove lethal bad design.
Church Village bypass is famous for its dormouse bridges. The development appears to have severed the access for dormice onto the first of bridges – a potentially serious matter, although I have not heard of any dormice using it. They are shy creatures and cutting the trees back as well as the ropes which take them onto their bridge, leaving them stranded and exposed to ridicule, is unkind.
Instead of following the Community Path any further, we took the lane past Chandlers Reach, enjoying the light on Tyn y Coed and the Garth mountain.
I have checked the council maps and they don’t show this pleasant and useful way to travel. I should probably add it.