News & Events

August 2016

Llancaiach Fawr hosts free Open Doors Day

Llancaiach Fawr Manor. Photo by Banbury Photography

Llancaiach Fawr Manor is offering free entry to visitors as part of Cadw’s Open Doors Day scheme.

On Sunday 18 September, 10am until 4pm, guests can see the fantastic work that has been completed in the Manor and explore new, once hidden rooms.

Funded by Caerphilly Council, Cadw, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Friends of Llancaiach Fawr, the project has enabled work to be carried out to successfully recreate the 17th Century interior and provide disabled access to the upper floors for the first time.

The day is open to all ages with the opportunity to learn ‘new’ skills. Traditional craft demonstrations will be held throughout the Manor from experts in blacksmithing, quilting, lacemaking and much more.

If you would like more information about the day please visit or call 01443 412248.

July 2016

Sultan Summer Sessions at Parc Penallta

With just a few weeks to go until the summer holidays begin, Parc Penallta have organised a jam packed week full of family fun for the 1st to the 5th August.

The week will kick off with Pond Safari, where children can explore the hidden depths of our ponds and discover the creatures that call it their home. There will also be a chance to get creative with the pond creature craft session. Pond Safari will begin at 10am-12.30pm on Monday 1st August, dipping sessions will run every 30 minutes.

Dragons’ Tears and Fire Demons will evoke your child’s imagination with storytelling taking place between 1:30pm-4:00pm on Monday 1st August, enter the enchanted wood and create your own tale of adventure.

On Tuesday 2nd August children can enjoy Natural Adaptations, an afternoon full of games and activities with a wildlife twist from 1:30pm-4:00pm.

Send your adventurers off through the park to solve the puzzles and clues that could lead them to the X which marks the spot for the hidden treasure. Sultan’s Treasure Trail will be held from 10am-12:30pm on Wednesday 3rd August.

Or why not join us for an evening walk around the park to see what wildlife lives amongst the woodland. Night Time Nature will begin at 7:30pm and finish at 10pm on Wednesday 3rd August.

For all budding survivalists who fancy themselves as an upcoming Bear Grylls, come and join us on Thursday 4th August for SOS Survival from 1:30pm-4pm. The afternoon is full of survival skills and techniques children can learn when venturing out into the wild.

If you’re children enjoy making a lot of noise, come along to Boom! Bash! Shake! on Friday 5th August. Children can make their own musical instruments and work together to form a music band. Will it work? Or will it be all Boom! Bash Shake! Session will begin at 10am and finish at 12:30pm.

On Friday afternoon from 1:30pm -4pm, Mini Beast Mayhem will be on the hunt for bugs and other insects in the meadows by the Education Centre. Children can learn more about the bugs’ habitats and even make an insect out of crafts inspired by what they have found.

All activities will begin at the Education Centre and cost £1.50 per child. If you would like more information about any of the activities on offer, please call 01443 816853.

June 2016

Caerphilly Country Park summer shows

Caerphilly Country Parks kick start the summer season with two entertaining outdoor performances for you to enjoy.

The first performance comes from the Circo Rumbaba Theatre Company, so roll up, roll up to Parc Penallta on Saturday 2nd July to watch them perform their weird and wonderful mixture of circus skills and slapstick comedy in a small caravan called L’Hotel.

The show is sure to be full of laughter for all ages. Adult tickets are £5 and children and OAPs are £3. The show starts at 2pm and finishes at 3pm.

The performance will be held outdoors, with audience participation at the forefront of the play, along with a presentation from GreenHill school pupils.

Please bring your own chair/rug/food and drink. It is advised you bring an umbrella and waterproofs in case the weather is inclement.

Booking is required for this event, to purchase tickets please call Blackwood Miners Institute on 01495 227206 or tickets are available on the day at Parc Penallta, from 12pm onwards, subject to availability.

Taking Flight Theatre Company takes to the stage, returning for the third consecutive year to Parc Cwm Darran with the well -known Shakespearian play, Romeo and Juliet.

The production will be held on Saturday 9th July, 3pm-5.30pm and is fully supported by BSL/SSE and includes a strong element of audio description.

The performance will entail some walking due to it being promenade style, so please bring a mobile chair if standing for a long period of time is not suitable for you.

The beginning of the show will start with a short presentation from Fochriw School pupils who have been involved with the publicity of the production.

The show is suitable for children aged 7 and upwards. Adult tickets are £5 and £3 for children and OAPs.

Audiences are welcome to bring their own food and drink to the performance or you can contact us for food availability from the café.

It is advisable to bring an umbrella or waterproofs to the show in case of inclement weather.

Booking is required for this event. Please call Blackwood Miners Institute on 01495 227206, otherwise you are able to buy tickets on the day at Parc Cwm Darren, subject to availability.

To book your tickets online go to

February 2016

Countdown to Caerphilly Challenge Series

Caerphilly Challenge Series participants 2014

The countdown is on for the Caerphilly Challenge Series which returns on Saturday 7th May with a series of routes named ‘The Forge’ promising to provide as tough a challenge as ever!

The Caerphilly Challenge Series boasts a range of walks for both experienced and inexperienced participants around the stunning surrounds of the lower Rhymney valley.

For those experienced walkers and runners who want to take on a monster challenge, the 22 mile route is ideal. The self-led route will take you through spectacular valleys, woodland, farmland, hilltops and riverside with picturesque scenery throughout.

This route is also available as a led walk for non-map readers; however spaces are limited.

For those wishing to take part in a shorter challenge, there are 17 mile and 11 mile routes available which cover varied terrain. The 17 mile trek will take participants from Bedwas High School and to the top of Caerphilly Mountain via Rudry common. The shorter 11 mile route is led by ‘Ramblers Cymru’ and still packs a punch, just with a shorter distance!

Participants can receive £2 off the £10 entry fee for the 22 mile, 17 mile or 11 mile routes when booking before Tuesday 1st March. Minimum entry age for these routes is 12 and all under 18 entrants must be accompanied by an adult.

The 1 to 5 mile routes are perfect for those who fancy a challenge, but not so many hills. These shorter and flatter led walks will show participants the very best that Caerphilly has to offer. Entry for the 1-5 mile routes costs £2, with all proceeds donated to the Mayor’s charity. Entries can be accepted on the day for the shorter routes, or pre-booking is available on the website.

Cllr Ken James, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Sustainable Development said: “I am delighted that the Caerphilly Challenge Series has returned for 2016 with a mammoth 22 mile challenge for experienced and walkers and runners, which is the longest distance ever offered by the event. The Challenge Series is a great way to see what Caerphilly really has to offer, so book now to take advantage of the early bird offer!”

For more information and to sign up for the Caerphilly Challenge Series please visit

July 2015

The story is complete as £1 million conservation project at Llancaiach Fawr Manor is unveiled

The impressive works to develop the interior of the Grade I listed Llancaiach Fawr Manor to provide a more accurate representation of life in the mid-17th Century, have been officially unveiled by the First Minister Carwyn Jones today (Thursday 17th September).

The £1 million works have been carried out with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (£943,200), Cadw (£30,000) and Caerphilly County Borough Council to create a high quality conservation project of national importance. The ambitious project has seen the manor’s servant’s quarters in the attics being opened up for the very first time, offering visitors to Llancaiach Fawr a complete picture of the household in 1645.

As well as the extensive conservation works, the manor has benefitted from improved physical and sensory interpretation, including open fires, sound and lighting, to create help create an improved atmosphere of 17th century domestic life, and an enhanced experience for people with learning difficulties. The modern lights throughout have been replaced with horn lanterns and copper chandeliers, and the background heating has been encased behind bespoke pieces of furniture.

Ensuring the manor is as accessible to as many people as possible has also been a very important principle throughout the works. Wrought iron hand rails have been installed, and a sympathetically designed external staircase tower has been installed with a platform lift for wheelchair users and those with mobility difficulties to be able to get to the upper floors of the building for the first time.

Specialist and dedicated conservation architects and builders were crucial to the success of the project, as was the sourcing of traditional material such as oak from the Usk Valley to use in the Manor.

First Minister, Carwyn Jones said, “I’m delighted to officially unveil this fantastic regeneration project. Llancaiach Fawr Manor has long been an important link between the past and the present, offering an imaginative and vibrant insight into 17th century Wales. I’m pleased to have supported this exciting development – the recent work only enhances the Manor’s appeal and I’m sure the coming months will see more people than ever enjoying all that this historic site has to offer.”

Cllr Ken James, Caerphilly’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Regeneration, Planning and Sustainable Development said, “I am absolutely delighted that this ambitious conservation and development project has reached completion. These major improvements to the historic Manor House will undoubtedly help transform not only the way we present the past to a modern audience, but also enable more visitors than ever before to explore all that Llancaiach Fawr has to offer”.

He continued, “These works, together with the continued support of the council, Heritage Lottery Fund, Cadw, our dedicated group of volunteers, supporters and many others will mean that visitors to Llancaiach Fawr of all ages can continue to discover the rich heritage and history of this flagship attraction for many years to come”.

Richard Bellamy, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Wales, explains what drew HLF to the project: “The manor dates to the 1500s and was home to one of the most prominent families in Welsh history, the Prichards. For us, this makes it of key importance both to Caerphilly and Wales, which should be protected for future generations.

“Restoring Llancaiach Fawr is also an important project for the community, as the manor is one of the key tourist attractions in the area. Lottery player’s money has meant that servant’s quarters can be opened to the public for the very first time, helping visitors get a sense of what it was really like in 1645. We are very excited to get a tour of the house from the ‘servants’ themselves - I’m sure they will have lots of interesting tales to tell.”

The Friends of Llancaiach Fawr have also provided crucial input to the project, through fundraising to provide all the servant’s beds, bedding and basic furniture to furnish the attics. They have received generous support also from the Ystrad Mynach Quilters, The Ashley Family Foundation and their own events and donations.

The grant from Heritage Lottery Fund has also helped fund a Development and Outreach Officer post, which is helping to develop community activities, the skills of volunteers and attracting new audiences.

Llancaiach Fawr has been a landmark in the local landscape since c.1550, and is considered to be one of the most important gentry houses to have survived from the 16th and 17th century period. The manor is presented to visitors through live interpretation, where the staff are the servants of the household in 1645 – the year that Charles I came to the Manor to try and gather more support from the men of Glamorgan during the Civil Wars.

For further information on Llancaiach Fawr, please visit or call
01443 412 248.

July 2015

Green Flags fly over Caerphilly county borough parks

Five of Caerphilly county borough’s parks have retained their Green Flag status, it has been announced this week.

Parc Cwm Darran, Cwmcarn Forest, Morgan Jones Park, Nelson Wern Park and Waunfawr Park Crosskeys all retained their Green Flag status, which recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces in the country, as well as helping to drive up the quality of green space.

Cllr Nigel George, Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services said, “This really is excellent news, and is a testament to the continuous hard work of our staff, partners and others to make the parks and open spaces the best they can possibly be. The summer holidays are now upon us, so it is an ideal time for residents and visitors to our county borough to sample all that their local park has to offer.

In addition, St Catherine’s Church Garden and the Roger Lewis Woodland Garden were granted ‘Green Flag Community Awards’, thanks to local volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain high standards and great facilities.

The Green Flag Award is a UK-wide partnership, delivered in Wales by Keep Wales Tidy. This year, 70 parks and 40 community managed green spaces across Wales have been awarded recognition for their excellent facilities, as well as their commitment to delivering great quality green space for local communities.

Lucy Prisk, KWT Green Flag Coordinator said, “Green Flag Award is a prestigious award for the best parks and green spaces. It’s great to see so many local authorities and volunteers in Wales striving for the best possible standards, contributing to tourism and the economy of Wales”.

For more information on parks and open spaces across Caerphilly county borough, please visit the Parklife website

Events at our attractions this Easter

This Easter, why not attend an event at attractions along the National Cycle Network Route 47. There are a host of activities planned including Half Term activities for families and children.

Clay Bunny Workshop at Cwmcarn Forest Drive

Saturday 28th March
11.00am to 2.00pm
Cost: £5 each
Ages 4 plus
Four sessions available
Booking and pre-payment essential

Join Jo for this Easter Bunny workshop and model your very own clay bunny or lamb.

To book your tickets email
For further information please visit:

Mountain Bike Dirt Days at Cwmcarn Forest

Monday 30th March
9.30am to 3.00pm
Application forms must be completed via
Parental consent is essential
This is a FREE event

Join us for the first of our Mountain Bike Dirt Days with Welsh Cycling. If your aged 13 to 16 and into MTB, or thought about racing, then join us at Cwmcarn Forest to ride the trails with professional cyclists. You can test yourself against local champion Manon Carpenter in skills and pump track challenges. Bring a packed lunch and your bike!

Easter lamb egg cup workshop at Cwmcarn Forest Drive

Monday 30th March
10.00am to 2.45pm
Cost: £2.50 per child
Ages 4 plus
Booking essential

Join us for this sheepish workshop and create your own lamb egg cup! EWE will be amazed at how good they look.

To book your tickets email
For further information please visit:

Spring Flower Pot Decorating at Cwmcarn Forest Drive

Wednesday 1st April
10.00am to 2.30pm
Price - £5.00 per child (ages 5 plus)
Booking essential - 4 sessions available
Payment required at time of booking to cover cost of materials

Create a wonderful decorated flower pot and plant a lovely spring flower! A wonderful gift for anyone trying to avoid the chocolate this Easter.

Fun on the Farm at Ynys Hywel Farm, Cwmfelinfach

Thursday 2nd April
1.00pm - 3.00pm
Charge: £1.50

Hop along and join farmer Russ to discover what happens on the farm at Easter. Have a go at our activity trails and other activities. Please bring waterproofs for being outside in all weathers and bring a hard boiled egg. Due to the event being held on a working farm during lambing time, we would ask any pregnant women to let us know.

Booking is required for this event.
Please book your tickets for this event through Blackwood Miners Institute on 01495 227206.
For more information about the event please phone 01495 235219.

Easter Eggstravaganza at Llancaiach Fawr Manor

Friday 3rd April

Springtime Activities and games for children.

Easter Paw Trail at Cwmcarn Forest Drive

Sunday 5th April
10.00am to 4.00pm
Price - £4.50 per child (includes prize)
Booking essential

Join us this Easter Sunday for our Easter Paw Trail! Follow the clues and find all the paw prints to lead you to the Golden Egg before the Easter Bunny gets it! Claim your prize at the centre!

Easter Eggstravaganza at Llancaiach Fawr Manor

Monday 6th April

Springtime Activities and games for children.

Egg-citing Puppet Tales from around the world at Cwmcarn Forest Drive

Friday 10th April
2.00pm to 3.00pm
Price - £4 per adult and £2.50 per child (ages 4plus)
Booking essential

Join Fiona and her magical puppets on this journey around the world and hear stories of mystical creatures and adventures! Tea, coffee, squash included. Book early to avoid disappointment as places are limited.

Coal, Canals and Chieftains Walk at Cwmcarn Forest Drive

Saturday 11th April
10.00am to 3.00pm
Price - £5 per adult and £3 per child (ages 10plus)
Booking essential and payment required to secure place

Join us for the strenuous 9 mile walk taking in the historic canal, broadleaf woodlands and amazing views across the channel. Learn a bit about the history of coal in the valley and the important role the canal played in their success. On return to the centre, relax with a hot cuppa and piece of cake. Sturdy footwear and clothing required. Please bring packed lunch and drinks.

Events at our attractions this February and March

This February and March, why not attend an event at attractions along the National Cycle Network Route 47. There are a host of activities planned including Half Term activities for families and children.

CJ Wedding Fair at Llancaiach Fawr

Sunday 1st February 2015
Free Entry to the Wedding Fair.

Cone feeders at Cwmcarn Forest

Monday 16th February 2015
12.00pm to 3.30pm (3 sessions).
Price - £1.00 per child (ages 4 plus).
Booking Essential.

Create your own bird feeder using pine cones from the forest!

Court Sessions in the Manor at Llancaiach Fawr

Tuesday 17th February - Friday 20th February 2015
Normal Admission Prices.

17th Century Justice Administered.

Bird seed feeders at Cwmcarn Forest

Wednesday 18th February 2015
12.00pm to 3.30pm (3 sessions).
Price - £1.00 per child (ages 4 plus).

Design your own picture using bird seed to help our feathered friends. Booking Essential.

Once upon a time… at The Education Centre, Parc Penallta

Wednesday 18th February 2015
Time: 2.00pm - 4.00pm.
Charge: £1.50.

Join us around a warm fire, listening to stories. Make your own ‘mud’ hero and use your imagination to create their special story.

For more information please call 01443 816853.

Toy and Train Fair at Llancaiach Fawr

Wednesday 18th February 2015
6.30pm - 9.00pm.
£1.50 entry to fair and children under 16 free.

Apple bird feeder stations at Cwmcarn Forest

Friday 20th February 2015
12.00pm - 3.30pm (3 sessions).
Price - £3.00 per child (ages 4 plus).
Booking Essential.

Create your own apple feeding station for your garden birds (Hammers will be used).

St David's Day doggy dawdle at Cwmcarn Forest

Sunday 1st March 2015
10.00am - 11.30pm.
Price - £4.00 per adult, £2.50 per child, dogs go free!
Booking essential.

Celebrate St Davids day with your best friend and join us for this stroll around the Nantcarn Valley. On your return enjoy a nice doggy treat (and a cuppa and a welshcake for the owner). National Welsh costume optional for all.

Mother's Day Spring Wreaths at Cwmcarn Forest

Saturday 14th March 2015
Price - £3.00 per child (ages 5 plus).
Booking essential.

Join us for this craft workshop and create a beautiful Spring wreath for your mam! Using craft items such as crepe tissue and paper plates, make a unique gift that shows how much you love your mam!

Amber Antiques Fair at Llancaiach Fawr

Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th March 2015
Free entry to the fair.

Mothers Day - Makeup and Mouseskin at Llancaiach Fawr

Sunday 15th March 2015
Mum's come in free.

17th Century Beauty Tips!

November 2014

Festive Fayres!

Ystrad Mynach Christmas Fayre

This year’s Ystrad Mynach Christmas Fayre is set to bring a festive sparkle throughout the town centre on Saturday 22nd November. Organised by Ystrad Mynach Partnership and supported by Caerphilly County Borough Council, the town will be bursting with over 30 festive stalls.

Visitors will be treated to food stalls stacked high with sumptuous produce; from tasty preserves, indulgent homemade cakes and the very best in hand crafted real ales you can create a Christmas feast fit for a king!

Shoppers looking to purchase the perfect Christmas gift or perhaps a treat for themselves will be greeted with stalls selling everything from quirky home wear, unique pieces of jewellery and festive decorations.

The town centre will feature an abundance of entertainment for the whole family to enjoy, from funfair rides, face painting, festive choirs & bands singing traditional Christmas carols, as well as a Santa’s Grotto in Siloh Church. It is sure to be a wonderful Christmastime for all.

Risca Christmas Market

A magical experience will be created in Risca on Saturday 6th December as the Christmas Market and Lantern Parade comes to town.

Hosted by Caerphilly County Borough Council in partnership with Risca West & East Community Events Group, the extravaganza looks to get visitors and residents in the festive mood ahead of the Christmas season.

Tredegar Park, in the heart of Risca town, will be transformed into a winter wonderland with over 20 festive stalls, funfair rides, entertainment and festive music on offer for all the family to enjoy.

The free event runs from 12pm - 5pm and will conclude with an enchanting lantern parade through the park with a mesmerising ice princess stilt walker and Father Christmas leading the procession to its finale for carols at the Christmas tree.

For more information on these events, visit or contact the Visit Caerphilly Centre on 029 2088 0011.

September 2014

Natural Resources Wales - Cwmcarn Forest update

NRW Logo

The Forest Drive road is closing but Cwmcarn forest and its facilities will remain open.

The Cwmcarn Forest Drive road will close on 2nd November. This is because 78% of the trees along the drive are larch trees infected by a fungal disease called Phytophthora ramorum, (larch disease) and will require felling. This action is part of a nationwide strategy to reduce the risk of the disease spreading further.

Whilst the Forest Drive road itself will close, all other facilities at Cwmcarn forest will remain open.

What will remain open in Cwmcarn Forest?

Everything except the Forest Drive road itself, the seven mile drive through the forest, will remain open for you to enjoy throughout the year.

The Visitor Centre, run by Caerphilly County Borough Council, will be open as usual and continue to sell walking guides, maps and information on the surrounding area. There is also a fishing lake, a play area for under 7s, a gift shop featuring a great selection of locally produced crafts and Welsh goods, Raven's Cafe which provides a wide range of food and drinks and camping pods.

In addition to these established attractions, new facilities, such as cross country and downhill bike trails, a pump track and a retail unit, are being added.

We will organise our felling and harvesting so it has as little impact as possible on visitors. We are fully committed to keeping footpaths and mountain bike trails open as far as is practicable. However, there may be times when we have to make temporary diversions or close some parts of the forest for safety reasons.

Larch disease in Cwmcarn

Larch disease has infected almost all of the larch trees at Cwmcarn. The fungus like disease can cause extensive damage and mortality to a wide range of trees and other plants.

We cannot stop the spread of larch disease but we can take action to slow it down. This includes taking the difficult decision to close our seven-mile Forest Drive road and fell over 150,000 infected trees as soon as possible.

Whilst we are saddened to have to fell so many infected larch trees, it does provide us with an opportunity to replace them with native broadleaf woodland trees as well as more marketable timber varieties.

Why do you have to close the Forest Drive road?

It would not be safe or practical to keep the Forest Drive road open during our felling and harvesting operations.

The Forest Drive road is a seven mile, single track route through the forest and is surrounded by infected larch trees. There are no other routes that we could use to transport the trees out of the forest or suitable surfaces for us to position our felling equipment. It would be unsafe for motorists to drive on this road while our felling work is underway.

Due to the sheer scale of this work and the forest's steep gradients, it will not be possible to work the site with machinery used for most felling and extraction operations. Instead, we have to use more specialist equipment such as wire ropes (sky lines) to move to timber from the slopes to the road. The timber will be stacked on the Forest Drive road until it can be hauled from the site.

It would not be safe or financially viable to undertake a phased approach to the felling during the Winter months in order to re-open the Forest Drive road each Summer – an approach which would take an estimated six years to complete.

During our felling and haulage operations, the road will not be safe for motorists to use. The road surface is likely to be damaged by the large trucks and will need significant strengthening and resurfacing. Repairing the road to a suitable standard each Spring will require considerable financial investment.

How long will the work take?

n order to minimise the disruption to visitors, we have set ourselves a challenging target to complete the work within two years. However, these timescales may be affected by the weather and availability of suitable contractors. We will keep you posted on progress and timescales.

How can I find out when parts of the forest have closed?

We are planning our work to ensure there will always be parts of the forest open for you to enjoy. We will keep you informed of planned trail closures or diversions as early as possible via our website, customer care centre, social media channels and Caerphilly County Borough Council's visitor centre. You can also download our ForestXplorer app for updates.

Will the forest be replanted?

Yes. Once the infected larch trees have been cleared and the ground is ready, we will begin replanting a wide range of native broadleaf woodland trees, such as oak, hazel and rowan, alongside more marketable timber species such as spruce, firs and pine.

This gives us a once in a lifetime opportunity to redesign Cwmcarn forest and create a woodland that is more resilient to disease, provides a more diverse habitat for wildlife and becomes an even more popular attraction as well as maintaining a good supply of wood for the timber industry in future.

It will also give us an excellent opportunity to work with the local community on our design and replanting programme to ensure if reflects local ambitions for the forest.

Will you be reopening the Forest Drive road?

Our ambition is to reinstate a forest road. However, no final decision has yet been made. Repairing the road to its current standard will take significant investment which we cannot commit to at this time due to pressures on public sector budgets.

We have already started to explore possible options for the future from looking at possible funding and partnership opportunities to reopen or partially reopen the existing road.

We will continue to actively explore these options for the future and consult with local residents and other interested parties.

How can I help?

Larch disease spreads through airborne spores from tree to tree. It poses no threat to human or animal health. However, visitors to woodlands can help reduce the spread of the disease by taking some simple actions such as removing any mud, plant material or leaves from clothing, boots, dogs and car tyres.

Further information

Natural Resources Wales
Twitter -
Facebook -
Telephone: 0300 065 3000

Caerphilly County Borough Council
Telephone:01495 272001

August 2014

Walking Festival rocks!

The Valleys Walking Festival takes place from the 6 to 21 September, so pull on your boots and celebrate the event by taking part in the Ten Stone Walk.

During the walk, ramblers will follow a route around ten historic stones and have the opportunity to learn about the history of the area and surrounding hill tops, while taking in the breathtaking scenery along this new trail.

The first part of the walk sets off from Parc Cwm Darran Visitor Centre at 10am on Saturday 6 September, and follows the first five stones along 12.5km of the trail in the beautiful scenery of the Darran Valley.

Part two of the Ten Stone Walk will be held on Saturday 20 September, and consists of a 14km walk following the last five stones along the route around the Gelligaer and Merthyr Commons. The walk leaves from Parc Cwm Darran Visitor Centre and a minibus will bring walkers back from Groesfan car park to the visitor centre.

Each walk will last approximately four hours. Walkers should bring appropriate outdoor clothing and footwear.

For more information about this trail please contact 01443 875557 or visit the Countryside website.

July 2014

Brass Bands in the Park

'Bands in the Park' is back for summer 2014! Music lovers throughout the county borough will once again have the opportunity to relax in their local park and enjoy the gentle sounds of live brass bands.

It's the perfect excuse to pack up a picnic and get out of the house on a summer's Sunday afternoon.

The 2014 performances are as follows: -

Sunday 6 July
Waunfawr Park - Crosskeys Silver Band
Morgan Jones Park - Blaenavon Town Band
Ystrad Mynach Park - Oakdale Silver Band
Tredegar Park - Pontypool Brass Band

Sunday 17 August
Waunfawr Park - Rogerstone Brass Band
Llanbradach Park - Ynyshir Brass Band
Morgan Jones Park - BTM Band
Blackwood Showfield - Markham & District Colliery Band

All performances are between 2.30pm and 5pm.

Cllr Ken James, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning & Sustainable Development, said: "I am delighted that 'Bands in the Park' is making a welcome return in 2014. The programme gives residents a chance to explore and enjoy their local park whilse discovering some of the incredible local talent displayed by the brass bands performing, the two go hand in hand perfectly and I'd encourage anybody to come along."

Further information: Brass Bands in the Park Poster.

February 2014

Cwmcarn doubles up on
Mountain Bike Trails

Cwmcarn Forest launches two new mountain bike trails, which sees its trail offering double to four trails. To add to the existing Twrch Trail and Y Mynydd downhill trail come two new trails that promise to thrill all mountain biking enthusiasts.

The new trails at Cwmcarn are part of the Cognation project that has heavily invested in mountain biking throughout the South Wales region over the past three years. South Wales now has a reputation as the leading place to ride in the UK.

Cognation is a partnership project between Neath Port Talbot CBC, Merthyr Tydfil CBC, Caerphilly CBC and Natural Resources Wales and is part-funded by the EU's Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government with match funding coming from the Welsh Governments Heads of the Valleys and Western Valleys Strategic Regeneration Area and partner organisations.

The new 'Cafall' cross-country trail offers a different experience with technical challenges that are not for the faint hearted! With 15 kilometres of trail that take in different views including a fantastic view across to Twmbarlwm.

The new downhill trail is less extreme than the current Y Mynydd downhill trail and will suit mountain bikers of an intermediate level making it more accessible to a wider range of mountain bikers.

Cllr Ken James, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Sustainable Development said, "Cwmcarn Forest has long since been popular choice for extreme sports enthusiasts, particular those who enjoy mountain and downhill biking. The launch of these two new trails will double our offering, and really help us put Caerphilly county borough on the map as a destination of choice for visitors and thrill seekers alike".

He continued, "It is the fantastic tourist destinations, like Cwmcarn Forest, that our county borough boasts which brings visitors and adventurers, and ultimately business, to our local area".

Peter Cloke, Forest District Manager of Natural Resources Wales, said "Cwmcarn has always been a popular mountain bike destination with two downhill trails - Y Mynydd Black and Red and one cross country trail - Twrch. However, with the addition of the new cross country and downhill trails Cwmcarn is sure to be must on most bikers ride list ensuring South Wales remains one of the top mountain biking destinations.

To celebrate the launch of Cwmcarn's new and exciting trails, Cwmcarn Visitor Centre's 'Raven's Café' are offering the first fifty mountain bikers to ride the trails a free hot drink and cake. Just show your helmet in the café to see if you are a winner!

Cwmcarn Forest Visitor Centre has exciting plans over the coming months with a new menu at Raven's Café coming soon and the launch of a new retail section within the centre offering gifts and home accessories. A purpose built mountain bike shop unit, toilets and changing rooms is due to open shortly, adding to the mountain bike offering.

In time for half term is the launch of a new 'Wildlife Explorer Challenge' for children. This fun and exciting activity will give children the opportunity to find out more about the wildlife and nature surrounding them as they walk through the Nantcarn valley and obtain etchings at various marker posts.

For more information on the new mountain bike trails and Wildlife Explorer Challenge, contact Cwmcarn Forest Visitor Centre. Tel 01495 272001, or email

You can watch the new trails being tested out by Manon Carpenter, a British downhill mountain bike champion, from Caerphilly below.

Video courtesy of Cognation Mountain Bike Trails South Wales

Summer Fun!

Now that the summer holidays are here, why not try one of our many fun filled events taking place along the NCN Route 47.

Pirate and Princesses Children’s activity day at Llancaiach Fawr

Wednesday 24th July 2013
11.00am - 4.00pm.
Price - £4.50 per child or included in manor entry.
No unaccompanied children.

Monsters and Magic Children’s activity day at Llancaiach Fawr

Wednesday 31st July 2013
11.00am - 4.00pm.
Price - £4.50 per child or included in manor entry.
No unaccompanied children.

Nature Masks Workshop at Cwmcarn Forest Drive

Friday 2nd August 2013
1.00pm - 3.45pm.
Price - £2.50 per child (Booking Essential).

Join Jane the Rag Lady for this wonderful childrens workshop and create your own animal mask re-using re-cycled materials and natural items found within the forest! Three sessions are available.

The Manor at War (1944) and 1940’s dance at Llancaiach Fawr

Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th August 2013
Price - £10 adults, £6 conc and £25 Family ( 2+2).

Experience the sights and sounds of the aftermath of D Day in occupied Normandy and life on the Home Front.

Hedgehog Meet and Greet at Cwmcarn Forest Drive

Tuesday 6th August 2013
12.00pm until 4.00pm (4 sessions).
Booking Essential.

This is another wonderful opportunity to catch up with Keith and his prickly friends at the Hedgehog Rescue Helpline. Meet some rescued hedgehogs and learn more about these secretive little creatures.

Superheroes Children’s activity day at Llancaiach Fawr

Wednesday 7th August 2013
11.00am - 4.00pm.
Price - £4.50 per child or included in manor entry.
No unaccompanied children.

Mini Rangers at Cwmcarn Forest Drive

Wednesday 7th / 14th / 21st / 28th August 2013
10.00am - 11.00am.
£1.50 per child.
Adults are requested to stay with children for activity.
Ages 4 - 8 (Booking Essential).

Join the warden for some fun activities involving wildlife and nature! It could be a walk in the park or a crafty workshop making fun things!

Junior Rangers at Cwmcarn Forest Drive

Wednesday 7th / 14th / 21st / 28th August 2013
1.00pm - 3.00pm.
£1.50 per child.
Adults are requested to stay with children for activity.
Ages 8 - 11 (Booking Essential).

Join the warden for some creative wildlife activities, including pond dipping, insect hunts, habitat creations and much more!

National Moth Count with breakfast at Cwmcarn Forest Drive

Saturday 10th August 2013
£5.50 per adult, £4.00 per child.
Booking Essential / Pre-payment required.

Join the wardens and the rest of the nation as we gather to identify the moths of Cwmcarn! This national scheme is a yearly event to help gather as much information on the state of Brtitains moths, and help introduce new people to the joys and wonders of these colourful creatures. The traps will be set out the previous night (no harm caused), and will be gathered at the centre for people to observe and record, whilst enjoying a hot breakfast roll anda cuppa!

Vampires and Faeries Children’s activity day at Llancaiach Fawr

Wednesday 14th August 2013
11.00am - 4.00pm.
Price - £4.50 per child or included in manor entry.
No unaccompanied children.

The Kings Fair at Llancaiach Fawr

Sunday 18th August 2013
Price - Meadow only tickets £5 / £3 or included in manor entry.

Timed falconry displays & lurcher racing against the visitors lurchers and greyhounds; ferret racing all day; stalls selling historic goods, craft stalls, 17th century re-enactors, the King in attendance in the Manor and visiting the displays laid on for his entertainment.

Brass Bands in the Park

Sunday 18th August 2013
All performances are between 2.30pm & 5.00pm

Parc Waunfawr - Band Ty Du
Parc Ystrad Mynach - Band Arian Oakdale
Parc Tredegar - Band Pres Pont-y-Pwl.

Pirates and Princesses Children’s activity day at Llancaiach Fawr

Wednesday 21st August 2013
11.00am - 4.00pm.
Price - £4.50 per child or included in manor entry.
No unaccompanied children.

Barking Mad Dog Show at Llancaiach Fawr

Bank Holiday Monday 26th August 2013
11.00am - 5.00pm.
Entry - £1.00 / 50p.

Stalls, microchipping, pet photographer, pet food and pet accessories, charity stalls etc.

Art Exhibition by Bargoed and District Art Society at Llancaiach Fawr

Sunday 25 August to Saturday 7th September 2013
12.00noon - 5.00pm.
Free entry.

Over 300 paintings and drawings in a range of media and styles all by local artists. Majority of work is for sale.

May 2013

Rare Goshawks return to Cwmcarn Forest Drive


Bird lovers can once again keep a 24 hour watch over a nest of rare Goshawks at Cwmcarn Forest.

A live webcam provides round the clock images of the nest at a secret location within the forest. The Council, Forestry Commission Wales and Carnyx set up the 'nest-cam' for birdwatchers and visitors to Cwmcarn Forest to see the birds without disturbing them.

Known as 'the phantoms of the forest', only 500 breeding pairs of goshawks exist in the UK, so it is an amazing sight to be able to see these rare birds up close and personal via the 'nest-cam'.

This project is a partnership between Caerphilly County Borough Council, the Forestry Commission Wales and Carnyx.

Visit the webcam


March 2013

Caerphilly Challenge Series 2013
The Ridgeway
Saturday 11th May 2013

For a few the Challenge continues...For many the Challenge begins!

Following 2012’s hugely successful Caerphilly Challenge Series opener with the Twmbarlwm Trek, the challenge continues along the equally famous Rhymney Valley Ridge with its challenging terrain and commanding views.

Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Countryside and Landscape Service, in conjunction with Bedwas High School, Caerphilly Adventure Group, Ramblers Cymru and other partners, are once again throwing down a challenge to walkers of all abilities.

From a 1 mile stroll along the banks of the Rhymney River’ to taking up the challenge of the monstrous 22 mile ‘Ridgeway’, there will be a Challenge walk to suit you - no matter how fit you are! This years event has four Challenges.

The 22 mile Ridgeway (self led Challenge) Entry Fee £10.00
A monster of a route that encircles the hills and commons of Caerphilly County Borough, with superb panoramic views of the Bristol Channel and the Brecon Beacons. This route can be viewed on our countryside webpage.

The 16 mile Ridgeway (self led Challenge) Entry Fee £10.00
A tough endurance test for those who fancy a stern test of stamina, with a route that shows off the glorious countryside of the county, South Wales and the Bristol Channel. This route can be viewed on our countryside webpage.

The 9 mile ‘Ramblers Cymru’ Challenge (Led walk) Entry Fee £10.00
A shorter walk compared to the 2 big ones, however she packs a punch! No fear of getting lost on this one, as someone will be leading you. Max entry for this one is 200 walkers, so book early to avoid disappointment!

The 1-5 mile ‘Lets Walk Cymru’ Challenge (Led walk) Free
If you don’t fancy so many hills, then the Bedwas Riverside Park offers a range of shorter flatter led walks from 1 to 5 miles. There is no charge for the ‘Lets Walk Cymru’ Challenge. No pre entry is required, just turn up at 10.15am on the 11th of May, fill in a registration form and health questionnaire and be ready to walk by 11.00am.

Please note that no entries will be accepted on the day for the 9, 16 or 23 mile routes.

For more information or to book your place online visit:

Alternatively, contact Brian Begg on 07788547350 or Andy Powell on 01495 235092.

January 2013

Walk your way into the New Year!

Is your New Year’s resolution to enjoy the outdoors and to walk more to get fit? This New Year, Caerphilly County Borough offers excellent trails and walking routes through many beautiful green spaces.

From the 12 mile 'Raven Walk' at Cwmcarn Forest to short healthy walks and guided walks there is something for everyone. Not forgetting the opportunity to take part in walks along the National Cycle Network Route 47 which travels through the county borough from Nelson to Risca. Our county borough also has numerous country parks with easy to walk, well maintained routes. All you need to take part is a good, comfortable pair of shoes and warm, waterproof clothing.

The health benefits associated with walking are immense, not only for physical health but mental too. Walking is also a great way to spend time with the family.

For more information visit the Council’s Walking web page.

19th October 2012

Walking the Gren Way

Esteemed guests and pupils from Hengoed Primary School were among the first to take a stroll along the new Gren Way walking route in Hengoed last week before seeing a new bench dedicated to the much-loved Valley's cartoonist, Grenfell Jones.


9th August 2012

Cyclists aHoy! Plenty of brilliant biking available throughout Caerphilly

The action in the Olympic Velodrome may have come to a close, but with Team GB's cyclists winning a total of 12 Olympic medals so far, Caerphilly county borough is the perfect place to feel inspired to power the pedals like Pendleton and work those wheels like Wiggins.

With the Olympic BMX and Mountain Biking finals still to look forward to, and the Tour of Britain bringing the cream of cycling to Caerphilly in September, people are being encouraged to hop on their bikes and enjoy the beautiful bike trails that the borough has to offer.

Anyone can get out and enjoy cycling, with a sprawling network of cyclist friendly trails across the borough, suitable for all ages and abilities.

There are plenty of picturesque off-road routes and numerous twisting trails through our towns and villages for budding bikers to enjoy. From the 15.5km Twrch Trail which winds through Cwmcarn Forest, across to Aberbargoed and New Tredegar, where a 2km cycle route takes riders along a disused rail line with superb views, there really is a route for everyone.

Following Team GB's cycling successes, Cllr Tom Williams, Caerphilly County Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Highways, Transportation and Engineering has encouraged people to start cycling. He said, "Children, families and serious cyclists can all experience the excitement of riding a bike, right here in our county borough. Team GB's cycling team have been an inspiration to the whole nation, and I would encourage everyone in the borough to build on their successes by making our vast network of cycle tracks some of the most used in the country."

For information about all the cycle routes throughout the borough visit or