This is a really pleasant circular walk to the top of Pen y Foel, a 331m metre hill complete with painted trig point and extensive views South, West and North.

Parking is in a free car park in Abercynon – St Margaret’s – and the walk takes you briefly through the narrow streets of Abercynon before you enter forest tracks for most of the walk.

Pen y Foel
Breaking out of the forest on the way up leads to some great views East. | Tamron Adaptall SP 24-48 @ 24mm, f11.

Heading up from the car park you’ll head a diagonal left not long after until you reach the first footpath sign which takes you onto wide gravel forest tracks. You can then zig-zag up on these all the way to the summit which offers a gentle ascent of just over 800ft. You can cut off the corners of the forest paths for a shorter but steeper route, and nearer the top you could take a path that offers some scrambling if you wanted.

Pen y Foel
View South takes in the Garth above Cardiff. | Tamron Adaptall SP 24-48 @ 48mm, f11.

However, sticking to the main forest tracks makes for a longer but easier walk and should offer good walking conditions in all weather and after heavy rain. 

Pen y Foel
When the sky clears you can see some of the Brecon Beacons up the valley. | Tamron Adaptall SP 24-48 @ 24mm, f11.

The trig point offers really great views and is a very photogenic spot, well worth taking it all in and pausing a while – a good picnic spot in good weather as it is a grassy top.

Pen y Foel
The view East takes in the summit of Cefn Gwyngul. | Tamron Adaptall SP 24-48 @ 24mm, f11.

The walk back down can take many different routes, lots of them avoiding much duplication of the route up, making this a really good circular walk. The end of the track I took was steep in places and you need good walking shoes or boots, if you are not a confident walker stick to the forest trails on the way back for the last section.

Pen y Foel
Looking East. | Tamron Adaptall SP 24-48 @ 24mm, f11.
Pen y Foel
Looking South. | Tamron Adaptall SP 24-48 @ 24mm, f11.
Pen y Foel
You don’t have to walk mountains to get great views. | Tamron Adaptall SP 24-48 @ 24mm, f11.
Pen y Foel
The Brecon Beacons peaking through. | Tamron Adaptall SP 24-48 @ 24mm, f11.
Pen y Foel
The Walk back takes in some nice little paths. | Tamron Adaptall SP 24-48 @ 24mm, f11.