Mynydd Aberdare is a 457m hill above Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil. It offers some of the best views of the Brecon Beacons I have found so far from the South Wales valley ridges and summits.
I walked it on the ridgeway route above, so I headed down some wide forest tracks – busy with minibuses dropping riders off at Mynydd Gethin – and then picked up a quieter path that heads pretty straight towards Mynydd Aberdare.
The path is flooded in a few places, but well-worn detours are in place and generally you need not deviate too far from the main path. Signs of it being an active forestry are visible in several places, from deep vehicle tracks and torn up ground to substantial piles of cut logs.
You’ll be able to see Mynydd Aberdare’s two weather / communication stations ahead down the path and the path dips down before rising back up again – this time in more open countryside.
You’ll then descend again briefly before crossing a road, hopping a gate and starting the last bit of ascent up to the trig point.
Now you are on an open hillside and the view opens up step by step, as you realise you have most of the Brecon Beacons spread out before you.
The views from the trig point are some of the best I’ve had and finish the walk in the best way possible. They are spectacular, especially with a good sky.
You can park at the bottom of the lane to have a fairly quick – albeit quite steep – walk up to Mynydd Aberdare, so if you don’t fancy doing the ridgeway you can still get up to appreciate the views. It is absolutely worth it either way.
The ridgeway walk is definitely one of the hidden gems in South Wales and, apart from bikers, I didn’t see a soul until I reached Mynydd Aberdare so it is peaceful as well.