The Taff Trail:Pontygwaith
Pont y Gwaith
A plaque was erected by the bridge by the Merthyr Tydfil Heritage Trust reads "Taff Trail Heritage Sites. Pont y gwaith meaning the `Works Bridge` was constructed in 1811 to replace a wooden bridge associated with the nearby 16th century ironworks. Repaired in 1993 by Mid Glamorgan County Counciland awarded a commendation by the Civic Trust."
The bridge carries the Taff Trail across the valley.
Pont y Gwaith to Quaker`s Yard
(approx 1.9 miles 3km)
The Taff trail turns left, drops steeply down under the A470, taking care with the stepped track surface. Across the river on the hump-backed Pont y Gwaith (Work Bridge) we climb up through the trees and turn right back onto a level former railway section of the trial.
The best known of Tevithick's locomotives was the one he made to carry iron along the cast iron tramway from the Pendarren ironworks to the Glamorgan canal. The iron was loaded onto barges at Abercynon. It was he said, 'the first and only self-moving machine that ever was made to travel on a road with 25 tons at 4 mph, and completely manageable by one man'. This steam locomotive was used for the first time over this track in 1804 (25 years before Stephenson's Rocket). You can bounce your bicycle along the original stone sleepers as you tackle this part of the Taff Trail.
Continue until you arrive at houses and Roderick's Terrace which marks Quaker`s Yard.
Pont y Gwaith to Aberfan
From Pontygwaith there is a tricky climb up the western side of the valley under the A470 road to the lane at the top. This is not helped by the stepping in the concrete subway - designed as a watercourse, rather than a cycle route. The road at the top follows the line of the Glamorganshire canal before dropping down into Aberfan.
Going North past Quakers Yard Railway Station continuing straight ahead (instead of left then down a hill on the Taff Trail), you pass under a stone road bridge and continue along the Trevithick Trail towards Merthyr Vale. This is a good alternative as far as Pentrebach.