Radyr Trail Races
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The route briefly passes Forest Farm, before crosses the river Taff. The crossing is the site of the old ford from Radyr to Whitchurch. Due to the shallow water, you may see people fly fishing in the river.
You'll quickly pass through Radyr before the first climb of the day greets you and you'll head up through the Golf course. Skirting around the edge of the course it quickly becomes apparent how close to true countryside our capital is as you cross stiles and agricultural fields. Soon you will glimpse the Garth Mountain in the distance.
A brief downhill will bring you to your first woodlands, where hopefully the bluebells will still be in flower. A tricky left turn (don’t miss it!) takes you to the left of Morganstown and into agricultural land proper.
You'll face a very steep, but thankfully brief, climb to the top of the woods, which eventually will lead you past a quarry. The route then dives downhill through Garth Woods and take you to Coed-y-Bedw SSSI Nature Reserve.
Leaving the deciduous woods of alder, oak and birch trees, you'll enters Coed Rhiw'r Ceiliog, a conifer plantation, with the eerie quiet the pine needle floor brings. The long climb up through the woods will lead you to your first checkpoint.
After the checkpoint, you'll begin your final climb to the highest summit of the day, the infamous Garth Mountain. If you're not local, you may know this mountain better for the Hugh Grant film An Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain. The route does not pass the trig point, but if you wish to summit the hill we will understand - the view on a sunny day is spectacular. With the capital city of Wales at your feet, you can clearly see both Severn Bridges, the coast of England and the highest peaks of Southern Britain – Pen y Fan and Corn Du.
After all the roots of the woodlands and the climbs of the Garth, you can now get some easy miles under your belt, a long descent to Gwaelod-y-Garth, down some zig zag paths and across the river to Taffs Well.
Once past the football ground, the route climbs up to the higher level Taff Trail. Following the trail for a while the route comes to Castell Coch woods, site of the Fairy Castle.
A sharp left leads to a steep gully which will take you to the top of the hill and a woodland sculpture trail. As you pass over the summit and begin the decent, you'll reach your second checkpoint. There is now under 5 miles to go, mostly downhill.
The descent will take you through Fforest Ganol and follow a pretty stream. If it's a hot day it will be almost impossible to not have a paddle in!
The last climb of the day, is short and sharp, past the café nestled in the woods. A tricky technical descent leads to the road at the base of Castell Coch. Next to Tongwynlais, past the pub where the cyclists meet, you will rejoin the Taff.
Finally, you will veer away from the Taff as the route passes the pretty Glamorganshire Canal, part of the Cambrian Way and the third nature reserve of the day. You'll likely come across herons, water fowl and, if you're lucky, kingfisher. You'll also get some much needed shade if warm before a final mile back to the clubhouse and a well-earned rest.
Radyr Trail Half Marathon
Radyr Trail Marathon
The route follows the half signed route for about 3 miles before heading out to Creigiau. Here you'll meander through open fields and down through an exceptionally muddy track before taking some hidden trails to reach the Canada Lodge lakes. A brief road section is required here to avoid a field of bulls.
You'll reach your first checkpoint at 7 miles and, once restocked, enjoy a lovely runnable wooded section along an old railway line. South Wales has spectacular countryside, yet its industrial heritage is only skin deep away.
A beast of a climb up through a conifir wood takes us to Soar, teasingly close to the summit of Garth, but that's not for you yet. A wander down through fields allows you to rejoin the half marathon route, and a second tough climb to your second checkpoint at 11 miles.
Over the Garth there's a nice and tricky technical downhill to villages of Gwaelod y Garth and from here you'll cross the river to Taffs Well.
Once onto the Taff Trail high level, you'll again split from the half marathoners. This time skirting the wild Craig Yr Allt mountain to take you towards Caerphilly. Just before the Black Cock pub there is a tricky to spot right turn off the road which leads to a delightful single track wooded section.
You will rejoin the half route for the second time to run through Castell Coch woods and sculpture trail.
At the final checkpoint, you will part from the half marathon for the final time to explore the Wenallt Woods. The race takes place at the time of year that the Wenallt has spectacular drifts of bluebells which attract visitors from across Cardiff every spring.
After a final climb, its back into Castell Coch woods for a nice downhill section before a short run along the Glamorganshire canal, part of the Cambrian Way, and to the finish line.
The route genuinely has it all; mountain summits, beautiful downhill speed sections, SSSI woods, eerie conifer forests, we could go on and on....but the best way to appreciate it is to run!