JAN and John from Penarth and District Ramblers played host to a group of seven walkers meeting at St Brides Major on a wind free overcast morning after heavy overnight rainfall and setting off by narrow lane uphill past the Fox and Hounds, then steps up to the Bryn Sion Chapel, a quiet road led them to the cattle grid and onto Old Castle Down with its population of frolicking spring lambs and misty views across Bridgend.

Continuing across rugged open heathland, boggy in places and with grey skies overhead a narrow muddy track through gorse bushes led to a descent via a steep slippery path to the swollen River Alun.

Passing below a railway bridge and continuing along the road adjacent to the river, the stepping stones known as Stepsau Duon or Pont y Brown led them safely across the ford in the river beneath hazy sunshine.

Heading uphill past Coed y Wallas with its covering of wood anemone, pretty wild violets and scarlet elf cup fungus on fallen branches to Wallas Fach where the banks were decorated with primroses, some road walking brought them to Tair Cross Down and back into fields.

Pausing for morning break near a farm gate and removing outer clothing as the temperature was rising in bright sunshine, a gradual descent through fields towards Corntown gave them their first sighting of Ewenny Priory surrounded by trees and across the sprawling sight of Bridgend town with mist covered hillsides beyond.

Several old stone stiles and another field led to Ewenny Priory built between 1115 and 1126 by William de Londres which became a priory in 1141 when it was given to the Abbot of Gloucester by his son Maurice de Londres.

For the protection of the monks and also to house a garrison the priory was fortified during the 12/13th centuries with the church tower acting as a look-out post.

The church with its sturdy Norman arches boasts a stunning Pulpitum screen along with wall paintings, early carved religious stones and the tomb of its founder with the 12th century nave acting as the parish church, which is dedicated to St Michael and All Angels.

During lunch in the peaceful churchyard, a chance meeting with leader Su and a small party of Cardiff Ramblers along with a delightful view of the colourful resident peacocks strutting around, before retracing their steps back to Corntown and making for the Bethel Baptist baptismal pool adorned with yellow marsh marigold surrounded by green foliage.

Heading up Heol y Cawl lane and back through fields to Tair Croes, a bridle path which was boggy in places led through ploughed and seeded fields and back to Wallas Fach.

Then returning over the stepping stones into Cwm Alun, past the old clapper bridge for a reunion with the Cardiff group and on to Coed y Bwl, where the daffodil season had passed but the woodland floor was carpeted with delicate wood anemone.

Following a quiet road past the disused quarry and uphill to Blackhall to purchase some free range hens eggs from the entrance gate to Bee Bole House, before continuing along Blackhall Road for the descent through narrow lanes into St Brides Major, was followed by well-deserved liquid refreshment in the Fox prior to the journey home.

On April 15, meet 9am at Cogan Leisure Centre for a nine-mile moderate walk at Penhow; contact Su G on 07954 139 946.

On April 16, meet 9am at Cogan for a nine-mile mod/hard walk in waterfall country taking in the Hepste and Dringarth valleys; contact Robin on 029 2051 4051.

On April 19, the mid-week walk will leave Cogan at 8am for a 17-mile strenuous walk taking in the Llanbedr Horseshoe in the Black Mountains; 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 penarthramblers.wordpress.com or Facebook. Programmes and membership advice can be obtained from Pam on 029 2025 5102.