Ascent of Mynydd y Lan on 2018-02-23

Climber: David Howells

Date:Friday, February 23, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mynydd y Lan
    Elevation:1250 ft / 381 m

Ascent Trip Report

Mynydd Y Lan 381m and Mynydd Machen 362m
Well after a two week sojourn to Spain it was time to get back to my anorak quest so I went to Sirhowy Country Park nestled next to Cross Keys in South Wales. Here there were two marlins to be had but being a couple of south wales marilyns I can hardly say I was excited as more often than not they tend to be rather mundane tops. Anyway parking at the entrance of Sirhowy country park where there was no parking fee (at the entrance just off the A467 roundabout) and toilets made for a good start.

Heading west into the park and then north through Wattsville you end up heading up hill following the ‘Nant Hafod Tudur’ river valley on a rough tree debri strewn forest track. This valley abuts a forestry just under Mynydd Y Lan. After getting to the end of the forest you turn onto a path and you walk quite steeply uphill heading SE. Coming to the top of Mynydd Y Lan you leave the forest behind you and have to walk through some high grass/soft ground to find the middle of the plateau. Yes…another totally uninspiring south wales marilyn…no cairn or trig point with no view to speak of really. It took me just under an hour and 4kms to get to this point roughly with 420m of ascent.

The leg to Mynydd Machen is a long one so I decided to take in Mynydd Y Grug too which is a HuMP at 355m. Walking north to the the three obvious radio masts you then head downhill and directly west to a track that brings you to an UC road. Head north a bit and then turn west again and head for Nant Y Draenog reservoir, which is actually quite pretty. Keep heading west cross country through fields and lanes along the gps route until you get to Ynysddu village and then you start to head south following the route through Sirhowy park along a variety of trails, some of which are a tad indistinct. At one stage I was following a trail directly west that should have bought me out at Mynydd Y Grug but I had to do a dog leg (to the north) of about 1km because the path was simply not there and there was an impenetrable 50m or so of forest and rough ground. Anyway I got out to Mynydd Y Grug eventually which is one pretty ugly top of rough gravel/drainage flutes (?) and I just headed east meeting up with another UC road and followed it for 3km into Machen.

Walk through Machen to find the church and abutting it there is a narrow hedge bordered path that takes you north to Machen forest. I don’t know if it is called Machen forest but, well it is in Machen. Anyhow here the trail takes you in a roughly easterly direction along the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Walk. Let me say that if you stay on this route it basically sucks! They have cut the trees down and the route is marked by red/white mine tape. The tree trunks are gone and the area is strewn with left over wooden debris (think apocalyptic terrain here). With no obvious detour I sucked it up and went for it but traversing this uphill path was not much fun. After you come out of this mess the path returns to normal and even gets pleasant. Eventually you come out of the forest and then you head north west to Machen top. I made for the obligatory radio mast, trig point and then it was off west on the homeward leg still on the Ridgeway Walk pathway. On the way you pass (on the right/north) a large man made raised ridge made of slag which is actually quite a substantial ridge. After this it is a downhill for a kilometre whereby you turn off north continuing downhill for another couple of kms back into Sirhowy park back to the start point.

Parking and access: Free/ample parking and toilets at the start location. If you go into the park I think it is pay and display.
Route Summary: A mix or open moorland (not much), maintained and unmaintained country trails, small back lanes and lots of footpaths through urban and commercial forestry. The trails are difficult to find in places as they diverge from the map but follow the gps route. One trail through Machen forest for 1km is apocalyptic in nature and is best avoided but is passable. You go through some urban areas and pass one good pub!
All in all however it was another two Marilyns and a HuMP done over 24km with 1050m of ascent in 5hrs 50mins. A good workout day.

For fuller details, photographs and other parking information see my blog or wikiloc account.
Click on the links below and put a search in for the appropriate hill or mountain.
My blog - mountain nomad
My wikiloc - David Howells
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3445 ft / 1050 m
    Grade/Class:Moderate hike
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear
Cold but clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3445 ft / 1050 m
    Distance:14.9 mi / 24 km
    Start Trailhead:-2195 ft / -669 m
    Time:5 Hours 48 Minutes
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by David Howells
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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