Circular Walk Guide - Cilely

About the walk

How far is it?An easy 3 miles / 5 kilometres.
Where does it start?The car park by the swimming pool in Tonyrefail (ST008882).
Can I catch the bus?There are regular bus services to Tonyrefail.
Where can I get a drink?The Black Diamond, Edmondstown.
Which map should I take?O.S. Explorer 166

Getting to the start

From J34, M4, take the A4119 to the Rhondda Valley.
At the fifth roundabout take the second exit to Tonyrefail.
Go through the town until you reach a set of traffic lights at a crossroads.
Turn left and after passing under a road bridge, take the next left to the swimming pool car park.

Finding Your Way

Cilely Map

Above the retaining wall of the by-pass was the site of the Tonyrefail passenger railway station. The railway had opened for freight traffic in 860 and was extended to Penygraig in 1862. The passenger station opened on May 1st 1901. The present Tonyrefail by-pass follows its route from Coed Ely to Clydach Vale.

(1) Commence your walk by turning into Waun-Rhydd road turning right up the hill towards 'the Square'. Cross the road by the traffic lights, turning left and then right up Station Road.

The first house on your left is named 'Yr Efail' and was the forge of the blacksmith Dai' r Got - David Evans where young boys purchased their 'hook and wheel' and colliers took their mandrel picks to be sharpened. In the same road there was a wheelwright's shop and nearby a saddler's workshop; all the ingredients for rural and early industrial road transport.

At the top end of Station Road (2) you can see the old rails serving now as fence supports. Take great care in crossing the new road where a footpath will take you all the way to Edmondstown.

Walk up the gradually rising hill to reach a gateway within some 300 metres.

Below was the site of the Collena Colliery which closed as early as 1900 and has been completely buried by the construction of the new road.

The walk continues past the Gilcoru Kennels (3) over a stream and stile. Twenty metres past the stile just below the path there is a spring where the miners used to fill their jacks and water bottles. Proceed straight on to the site of Cilely Colliery (4) which was sunk in I 872 and closed in October 1950.

On both your right and left you can see the remains of the various buildings of the colliery and on your right the reclaimed tip of the colliery. The principle remains are of the fan house, which provided ventilation for the mine workings, the winding house, the offices and boiler. The two shafts have been capped with concrete as has the shaft of the water pit some hundred yards further on. The timber stockyard was near the water pit and the bark from the pit props can be seen mixed in the earth thrown up by moles.

You will eventually reach a footbridge which crosses the remains of the Colliery sidings where the trucks went under the screens to be filled with coal. At the other side of the footbridge cross the stile and reach a path (5) where you turn right and walk gradually upwards through fields and scrub towards Edmondstown with the rock edge towering over the village.

Take your time on this section of the walk, there are a number of seats to relax on. Look out for Green Woodpeckers which dip from one tree to another.

Within one kilometre you will reach the road and you can take refreshments in the Black Diamond, a timely reminder of the wealth generated by the exploitation of the coal seams.

Once refreshed you should retrace your steps but instead of crossing the footbridge continue straight down (6) through the attractive oak wood where you follow the infant Ely river.

Climb the stile at the end of the wood and cross the small footbridge to climb gently to the path just to the north of the kennels and continue back down to your starting point noting the profusion of bird life attracted by the replanted woodland on each side.

The crossing of the new road needs to be undertaken with great care but soon you will be back at your starting point near the 'Free Meadow' - y Waun Rhydd'.

Grid References for points in text
PointGrid Reference (ST)

The associated leaflet for this walk was produced by the Taff Ely (Llantrisant) Ramblers, assisted by Caerphilly Mountan Countryside Service and supported by Llantrisant Town Council.