ON A chilly morning, eight walkers joined Geraint from Penarth and District Ramblers at Margam and togging up and heading along the road being followed by a group of chickens and two cockerels seeking titbits, a metal gateway led onto a rough muddy woodland track.

Tree felling is underway at present and undefined pathways led them through bare trees and steeply uphill to descend beside a wooden footbridge to a road clearing.

Entering the pretty Cwm Brombil and following its fast running stream along a muddy path past old drystone walls and twisted branches, covered with green moss and with deer prints etched into the mud, led them uphill through the deep-sided valley to a point above the stunning blue waters of Brombil reservoir surrounded on one side by a forestry plantation.

Between 1777 and 1780 a colliery was opened in the Brombil valley by Vivian and Sons of Taibach and the coal was conveyed to the Taibach Copper Works in carts.

Around 1814 another seam was opened to help the nearby Goytre level and the miners working along the same vein from both sides eventually met each other and by 1838, a horse-drawn tramroad connected Brombil to the works at Taibach.

Continuing uphill along wide forestry paths through deforested hillsides, silent white snowflakes fell onto the frozen ponds and puddles and path edges, whilst all around with absolutely no wind the world fell silent.

Reaching an open area there were misty views across the Bristol Channel and down to Margam and the Port Talbot steelworks with clouds of smoke slowly rising from chimneys before a stop in the shelter of some conifers for morning coffee.

Continuing through Margam Forest the pathways were tinted white with snow and a chance meeting with a fellow walker who hailed from Cowbridge meant an interesting chat before continuing towards the Coed Morgannwg Way and the memorial stone to Billy Vaughan, the forestry commissioner between 1947 and 1959.

Black turreted discs on waymarkers indicated they were joining part of the 64-mile St Illtyd’s Walk, which stretches from Margam to Pembrey and being passed by two off-road motor cycles and a couple of walkers, the path led them to the Bodvoc Stone on Mynydd Margam.

Standing beside a pretty little pond it bears a Latin inscription indicating ‘The stone of Bodvoc, Here he Lays, Son of Cattegern, the Great-Grandson of Eternalis Vedomavus’.

With views of the coast opening up and overlooking Eglwys Nunydd reservoir and towards Kenfig Pool and dunes, upon leaving the forested area, an open grassy track afforded very misty views across Port Talbot and a wind farm and towards Swansea Bay and the Gower coastline.

Entering farming land and passing a huge flock of sheep in an adjoining field, a line of gnarled trees misshapen by the prevailing southwest winds beside a muddy track led them downhill to overlook Margam deer park, where all hope of spotting deer was fleeting, as a huge herd disturbed by something fled across the field and disappeared.

Pausing for lunch on the hillside, the wind began to spring up and temperatures soon dropped and a tall deer stile set into a stone wall brought them into Margam Park, past a tree that had been split into two halves and on to the Bro Stone, erected to celebrate ‘community’ and situated within the Pulpit a viewing platform high above Margam Country Park.

Reaching Mynydd y Castell, an Iron Age hillfort above the delightful Cwm Phillip and directly above Margam Castle sporting the Welsh dragon on its turrets, also afforded a view of the ruined Hen Eglwys or Capel Mair on the opposite side of the valley, before the gradual descent to the valley bottom to view the wildfowl on the lake, including the stunning Mandarin ducks, before the homeward journey.

On February 25, meet 8.30am at Cogan Leisure Centre for a 10-mile hard walk from Garwnant Visitor Centre taking in Mynydd-y-Glog; contact Barrie on 029 2053 0753.

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 penarthramblers.wordpress.com or Facebook. Programmes and membership advice can be obtained from Pam on 029 2025 5102.