By Joy Strangward

Penarth and District Ramblers’ local summer evening walks are proving popular and recently a group of 14 walkers plus Bruno the dog joined Joy on a walk that had previously been deferred twice because of bad weather, so it was a case of third time lucky!

Meeting at the Splashpad car park in warm sunshine and heading off through Pencoetre Park and across Skomer Road, they climbed up through what had been the old Pencoetre Lane which has now been redeveloped, deviating through a green area before following pavements uphill to reach the A4050 at Port Road.

Tramping shady paths in woodland beside the main road eventually led them out into the large meadow to the south of Coed y Bear, where the long grass had been cut that very afternoon for hay. At its western end there is a long grassed area full of buttercups and clover that is left for insects, small mammals, butterflies and moths, bees and pollinators to dwell in and circumnavigating the field, one walker piped up with ‘Having an adventure, helps prevent dementure!’ maybe not, but it certainly lifts the spirits.

The group paused by the vast Coed y Bear which is part of the Wenvoe Estate to hear how Edmund Thomas its then owner created the parkland of the estate also turning his attention to the wood. He created clearings, made pathways, a serpentine canal, a grotto and other buildings spending so much money that upon his death he was bankrupt. The narrow path at the rear of the Cardiff and Vale Crematorium brought them to cross part of the Wenvoe Golf Course, then through the well-kept crematorium grounds to re-cross Port Road.

Heading downhill on the narrow pathway beside Pencoetre Wood to emerge at Lidl, some pavement walking through the estate led to a couple of green areas at Coldbrook, before they made their way through Churchfields and back to their start.

A couple of days later thirteen walkers and dogs Bruno, Buddy and Skye on her first walk with the group joined Joy at Dinas Powys Village Square at the start of a 4.5 mile woodland walk on a dry, humid evening. They set off up through Highwalls Road to cross the lower part of the Dinas Powys Golf Course, making their way around the perimeter of the well-manicured greens to descend via a sunken lane with glorious views of the copper beech tree woods leading up to Cwm George.

Following tracks at the Millfields they crossed the Cadoxton River footbridge for the short climb into the dappled, shaded lower path through Casehill Wood to reach the Woodland Trust car park, before descending through the buttercup-filled, long grassed Casehill Meadows to pass below a beautiful old oak tree and re-cross the Cadoxton River.

Heading through agricultural land beside ploughed and seeded fields where they met a group of rather timid Dachshunds, a farm track at the top end of the steeply wooded Cwm George led them to a gate overlooking Michaelston-le-Pit and uphill towards Pen-y-Turnpike and Llandough Hospital.

A short climb up a bridleway led to a bench with views towards Cwrt yr Ala House above the Salmon Leaps and in the distance the mist covered Garth Hill. When Herbert H. Merrett (1886-1959) bought Cwrt yr Ala in 1937 he demolished the original house and built the present house which was designed by the architect Percy Edward Thomas.

The path led them into the stunning Park Wood and circumnavigating the woodland with its ancient native trees where the dogs enjoyed their freedom, they descended to a kissing gate, following the Beauville Lane for a short distance to the well-known One O’Clock Gate. Deviating downhill through the golf course, after waiting for some players to move on they re-traced their steps back to their start point.

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