19th July 2023

Walking Trails in Cardiff

Prepare to lace up those hiking boots, as we take a tour of Cardiff’s best walking trails. From the tranquillity of woodland paths to the buzz of urban trails, Cardiff offers a variety of walking experiences. If you are considering moving to Cardiff and want to see what the outdoors has to offer keep on reading, let’s explore some of the most popular walking trails in Cardiff, designed to guide you through the city’s stunning scenery and historical landmarks.

The Taff Trail

One of Cardiff’s best-known trails is the Taff Trail. Spanning 55 miles from Cardiff Bay to Brecon, this trail follows the River Taff through cityscapes, parklands, and beautiful Welsh countryside. Though it’s a long trail, it can be broken down into more manageable sections. For instance, the 7.5-mile stretch from Cardiff Bay to Tongwynlais offers a varied landscape, encompassing Cardiff Castle, Bute Park, Llandaff Cathedral, and the fairytale-like Castell Coch. This section is suitable for walkers of all abilities, with clear, well-maintained paths.

Penrhys Pilgrimage Way

For the history buffs, the Penrhys Pilgrimage Way is a delight. This 25-mile route retraces the steps of medieval pilgrims from Llandaff Cathedral to the shrine of Our Lady at Penrhys. The walk offers a mixture of urban and rural landscapes, combining historical sites with breathtaking views of the Rhondda Valley. It’s a more challenging route, best suited to seasoned walkers.

Bute Park Trails

Located in the heart of Cardiff, Bute Park offers a variety of walking routes. There’s a 2.3-mile sculpture trail that introduces walkers to the park’s assortment of artwork, a 1-mile woodland walk through the arboretum, and a 1.5-mile river trail along the bank of the River Taff. These flat, well-maintained paths are suitable for walkers of all ages and abilities, making Bute Park a family-friendly choice.

Cardiff Bay Trail

The Cardiff Bay Trail is a 6.2-mile circular route offering stunning waterside views, iconic landmarks, and various wildlife. The trail takes in the Cardiff Bay Barrage, the Norwegian Church, and the Senedd. As the path is flat and well-maintained, it’s suitable for all walkers, including those with pushchairs or wheelchairs.

Ely Trail

The Ely Trail, a 7.6-mile route, connects the rural northwest of Cardiff to the bustling Cardiff Bay. This trail offers an escape from the city without ever leaving it, running through a variety of landscapes, including woodland, riverbanks, and parks. The terrain varies, with some flat sections and some more undulating parts, so it’s more suited to regular walkers.

Rhymney River Circular Walk

The Rhymney River Circular Walk is a 27.5-mile trail following the course of the Rhymney River from its confluence with the Severn Estuary in Cardiff, northwards to the river’s source near Rhymney. The route passes through a mix of urban areas, farmland, woodland, and open moorland. With some steep sections, it’s best suited to more experienced walkers.

Forest Farm Country Park and Glamorganshire Canal Nature Reserve Trail

Just a few miles from Cardiff city centre, the Forest Farm Country Park offers several trails along the old Glamorganshire Canal and River Taff. With a chance to spot wildlife, including kingfishers and herons, these tranquil trails are a haven for nature lovers. The paths are generally flat, making them suitable for all walkers.

Wenallt Wood Walk

Hidden away on the outskirts of Cardiff, the Wenallt Wood offers a 2.3-mile circular trail, affording panoramic views of Cardiff and the Bristol Channel from the summit. It’s a woodland haven that comes alive with a carpet of bluebells in the spring. With some steep sections and uneven ground, it’s a trail more suitable for seasoned walkers and those with sturdy footwear!

Sirhowy Valley Ridgeway Walk

While not directly in Cardiff, the Sirhowy Valley Ridgeway Walk is worth the 20-minute drive to Newport. This 26-mile long-distance trail traverses the ridgeways and valleys north of Newport and features breathtaking landscapes, historical sites, and diverse wildlife. Walkers get a chance to pass through areas of ancient woodland and open commons. This challenging route is best for more experienced hikers.

Leckwith Woods to Michaelston Circular Walk

Another hidden gem in Cardiff’s suburban area is the Leckwith Woods to Michaelston circular walk. This 4-mile trail starts at Leckwith Woods, takes you along the River Ely, and finishes in the picturesque village of Michaelston-le-Pit. The path includes farmland, woodland, and riverbank vistas, providing a peaceful escape from city life. The terrain is varied, with some stiles and potentially muddy patches, so this trail is more suitable for regular walkers.

The Cynon Trail

Just north of Cardiff, you’ll find the Cynon Trail. This 8-mile trail runs from Abercynon to Aberdare alongside the river Cynon. As well as enjoying the riverside scenery, you’ll pass by several points of interest, including Aberdare Park and the Aberdare Canal Head. The trail is well maintained and relatively flat, making it suitable for all abilities.

Llanishen and Lisvane Reservoirs Walk

For a shorter walk, try the Llanishen and Lisvane Reservoirs route. This 1.9-mile trail is a loop around two former reservoirs, now wildlife havens supporting a rich variety of birds. This flat, well-maintained trail is a good choice for families or those looking for a leisurely stroll.

Exploring Cardiff on foot offers a fantastic opportunity to delve into the city’s rich history, explore its diverse landscapes, and spot local wildlife. No matter your walking ability or what you want from a trail, Cardiff has an array of walking trails to suit everyone.