Fforest Fawr, near Caerphilly

What's here

Coronavirus update

 

Our sites and most visitor facilities are open.

 

We have changed the normal route for some of our trails to help you maintain social distancing – please follow signs on site.

 

Welcome

Fforest Fawr woodland is near Castell Coch, one of the most picturesque castles in Wales.

There are three walking trails from the Fforest Fawr car park including a sculpture trail for families, and another walking trail from the Castell Coch car park.

Along the walks, you will notice some mounds and hollows which are iron-mining workings and their adjacent spoil tips, now overgrown with vegetation.

Fforest Fawr is a mixed woodland and it has patches of bluebells, wood anemones and wild garlic in the spring.

The woodland is frequently used as a film location for productions ranging from Welsh historical dramas to children's TV programmes – scenes from Merlin and Sherlock have been shot here.

Walking trails

The walking trails are waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trails.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Sculpture Discovery Trail

  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1¼ miles/2 kilometres
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Trail information: This trail starts from Fforest Fawr car park.

Discover some of the unusual residents of Fforest Fawr along this sculpture trail for families.

At the far end of the trail enjoy a panoramic view of the valley and surrounding hills.

Three Bears Cave Walk

  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1½ miles/2.6 kilometres
  • Time: 1¼ hours
  • Trail information: This trail can be started from Fforest Fawr car park or Castell Coch car park.

You can see the dramatic Three Bears Cave mine remains - otherwise known as the Three Arches.

The caves are too dangerous to visit but you can see them from behind a fence.

Sir Henry’s Trail

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 2½ miles/3.9 kilometres
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Trail information: This circular walk connects Castell Coch and Fforest Fawr car parks and can be started from either car park.

Don’t miss the Three Bears Cave old iron-mining workings - the caves are too dangerous to visit but you can see them from behind a fence.

Burges’ Way

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1 mile/1.8 kilometres
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Trail information: This trail starts from Castell Coch car park.

The Burges’ Way is a walk from the Castell Coch car park around the western end of Fforest Fawr.

Taff Trail

Fforest Fawr is on the Taff Trail.

The Taff Trail runs for 55 miles between Cardiff and Brecon along a mixture of riverside paths, railway paths and forest roads.

The Taff Trail is part of the National Cycle Network, cared for by Sustrans.

For more information go to the Sustrans website.

Castell Coch castle

Castell Coch (which means red castle in Welsh) rises dramatically out of Fforest Fawr’s beech woods.

Built on the ruins of a medieval castle, Castell Coch is an excellent example of Victorian Gothic Revival.

The castle has a commanding view of the Taff Gorge and is a landmark on the A470.

The castle is managed by Cadw and the toilets and tearoom are only for visitors who have paid the entry fee.

For more information about visiting Castell Coch go to the Cadw website.

Closures and diversions

Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations.

We may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice, due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff.

Please always follow any instructions on site and any temporary diversion signs.

How to get here

Location

Fforest Fawr is near Tongwynlais. 

It straddles the county borders of Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Ordnance Survey map

Fforest Fawr is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map 151.

The OS grid reference is ST 142 839.

Directions

From the A470, follow the signs to Castell Coch castle.

Continue past the castle entrance for 1¼ miles and the Fforest Fawr car park is on the left.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Taffs Well.

For details of public transport visit the Traveline Cymru website.

Parking

Car parking is free of charge.

Overnight parking is not permitted.

Contact details

0300 065 3000

enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

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