This circular walk is a superb example of how old industrial areas have been given back to nature. The landscape has been transformed from coal-black to green in a generation, and wildlife is now thriving in places where collieries once stood. Start in the car park at Llwyncelyn Road. Turn left onto the footpath just past the river behind you, and follow the waymark signs in a circular clockwise direction. On the right, the Trotting Track is a real community success story, turning a levelled-out spoil tip into a first-class harness racing circuit. Turn right and follow Heol Hir / Upper Colbren Road for just over 300m before veering right again and picking up the waymark signs back to the car park. Along the way you’ll pass a range of interesting habitats: woodland, brownfield and grassland, all carefully managed to create a rich biodiversity. Wildlife Watching: Lizards bask on warm stones in brownfield areas, as goldfinches forage on the seeds of teasel and knapweed. The woodlands have lovely displays of spring flowers like bluebells, and later in the summer you can snack on wild strawberries.
Urban / Woodland
This walk offers a interesting mix of culture, history and dramatic views. Start at Rhyslyn car park and head along the top road, turning left over the aqueduct, a landscape feature in itself. The majority of the walk is easy and accessible for all, apart from some steps which take you down past the school to the road below. At this point the steps could be avoided by turning left and then left again onto the cycle path, which you can follow to the portrait bench shown on this leaflet.The birthplace of Richard Burton is the valleys in microcosm. Information panels are located along this route, providing points of interest on Richard Burton, his childhood and career. Although he moved to Taibach at the young age of two, Pontrhydyfen is significant as his birthplace and was frequently re-visited by the star during his Hollywood career.Wildlife Watching: Along the length of the walk are remnants of former coal workings, now a haven for wildlife. Pioneer plant species, particularly mosses can be seen throughout. Interesting plants include Ploughman’s-spikenard and Southern Marsh Orchid. In the summer, butterflies such as Ringlet can be seen.