DESPITE an inclement weather forecast, whilst there were heavy showers on the journey and upon their arrival at Abercarn, rather frustratingly after donning wet weather gear the sun came out and stayed for almost all of the day.

Terry, Zoe and Joy joined Rachel from Penarth and District Ramblers at Twyn Road directly underneath the derelict Anglican St Luke’s Church erected between 1923 and 1926.

This church which is Grade II listed is built from dressed sandstone and reinforced concrete and rises from the hillside more like a fortress to a design from the renowned architect John Coates Carter, who built and refurbished many churches across south Wales and perhaps in many people’s eyes, this is not his finest as from the outside it appears very austere.

Climbing Llanfach Road in bright sunshine before joining a path above the steep wooded Cwm Gwyddon and heading uphill beside a boundary fence where the paths were carpeted with autumnal coloured oak and beech leaves brought them through avenues of lovely beech trees, whose trunks were covered with bright green moss.

At the top brilliant clear views towards Newbridge and Crumlin in the northwest, whilst beside a large deforested area a boundary of strong beech trees whose branches were almost forming an archway.

Crossing boggy ground and passing ruined drystone walls a moment to pause beside a gate to admire brilliant views towards Pontypool and across the Ebbw Valley.

Clambering over the gate and a metal fence into thick forestry and joining a wide forestry track, upon reaching a point above Coed Sara where most of the trees have been removed by the Forestry Commission, it was time for morning coffee, whilst watching mist rising slowly from the lovely Cwm Gwyddon below.

Continuing along the bridle path which has been widened considerably due to all the deforestation taking place and turning west through Coetir Graig Wen Woodland, a gateway led out onto a road at Mynydd Maen Common.

Following a horse drawn route across tumpy wet and boggy open moorland after heavy overnight rainfall and where serious damage is being caused by off-road motor cycles that could be heard roaring in the distance, a rough track led them past a boundary stone to the transmitting station on Mynydd Twyn-glas and into the breeze.

A line of pylons runs across the mountain top and following a flooded stony track southwards under the pylons with a first glimpse of Twmbarlwm in the distance, muddy pathways led them above the plantations of Craig Furnace and Twyn Llysganol where the mist was creeping out across the paths in places from the treeline.

Exiting from the common, a neat drystone wall provided shelter for lunch from the wind before continuing along slippery leafy paths at Cefn Rhyswg where new boundary fences are being erected.

A steep descent through pretty woodland at Cefn Gofapi overlooking Cwmcarn, led back onto a main forestry track at Coed y Rhiw and following the path as it curved back towards Abercarn passing old mine entrances set into the hillside, a descent through the wood led to a footbridge over the Nant Gwyddon.

After a steep climb out of the valley and joining a road an undulating climb through an urban area led them back to the start.

On February 11, meet 9am at Cogan Leisure Centre for an eight-mile moderate walk taking in the hill forts of Mynydd Margam; contact Geraint on 029 2051 5278.

On February 12, meet 9am at Cogan for a six-mile moderate walk at Craig yr Allt; contact Jan/John on 01446 418514.

On February 15, the mid-week walk will leave Cogan at 8am for a 12-mile hard walk on the hillsides around Talybont reservoir; contact William on 07528 701 952.

Wear suitable clothing, preferably boots and carry waterproofs, food and drinks. Some degree of fitness is required and if you are in any doubt, then please contact the walk leader for advice.

To follow the group please log onto or Facebook. Programmes and membership advice can be obtained from Pam on 029 2025 5102.