Sirhowy Valley Country Park is all about transport links old and new. Now you can take a gentle stroll along part of the former railway track that ran from Tredegar in the north to Newport docks in the south. At nearly four miles long there's plenty of flat and well surfaced path for you to cover. Or you can walk or cycle (mountain bike recommended!) through the woodlands that rise from the river bank and extend up the valley sides. For an easier bike ride Route 47 (the Celtic Trail) of the National Cycle Network runs the length of the park and beyond. So those wishing to explore by bike can follow the route west crossing the impressive Hengoed Viaduct and on into Parc Penallta.
But Sirhowy Valley Country Park has much more to offer than just the former railway track. The country park also rises up the hillside above you into the woodlands managed by National Resources Wales (NRW), offering you a wider range of more strenuous walking. Or alternatively you can drop down to the river bank of the River Sirhowy and enjoy a walk accompanied by the sights and sounds of the water rushing past on its way downstream.
Look out for the spectacular Penllwyn Tramroad Bridge, complete with original stone sleepers, or discover the Babell Chapel, the last resting place of the poet Islwyn. And just for good measure Sirhowy Valley Country Park also has two of our local nature reserves, Graig Goch and the Flatwood Meadows, and our traditional working hill farm at Ynys Hywel.
Located on the outskirts of Cwmfelinfach lies the white-washed Babell Chapel. Erected in 1827 the chapel is now a Grade II listed building and is important historically because of its links with the famous Welsh Bard "Islwyn". Islwyn was the bardic name of William Thomas, who took his nom-de-plume from the nearby mountain of Mynyddislwyn. He is buried in the small cemetery at the chapel. Unfortunately the building is closed to the casual visitor but it may be possible to visit by special arrangement. Please contact the park office for further details.
A high single span stone bridge reinforced with brick soars 15 metres\ 50 feet above the River Sirhowy. The impressive arch was completed in 1824 to carry the Penllwyn Tramroad across the river to meet the Sirhowy Valley tramroad at Nine Mile Point. A brick arch was added to strengthen the bridge when the tramroad was converted into a railway in 1864. It is a fine example of an early tramroad structure, complete with original stone sleepers, and has a Grade II listing.
There are three short self-led walks available within the country park, the River Walk, the Meadows Trail and the Woodland Trail. There is also a Mountain Bike Trail that uses the forest roads within the National Resources Wales woodlands. Details of these routes can be found marked on the SVCP leaflet. For those looking for longer walking challenges both the Sirhowy Valley Walk (27 miles) and the Raven Walk (12 miles) pass through the park. For more adventurous cyclists don't forget the Three Parks Trail that stretches 13 miles from Full Moon through Parc Penallta to Parc Taff Bargoed. If you're feeling very energetic you could follow the Celtic Trail all the way to Pembrokeshire! See our Walking Trails and Cycling pages for leaflets and further information.
Where it is Sirhowy Valley Country Park runs along the western side of the Sirhowy Valley between the Full Moon roundabout at Crosskeys and Gelligroes.
How to get there By car - Main entrance is signposted off the A4048 at Crosskeys. By bus - Service 56 Newport to Tredegar. By bike - Route 47 NCN. Nearest train station - Crosskeys (16 minute walk)
Park hours The park is open all year round. It is also free to access the park.
Car parks The main car parks are located at Full Moon and Nine Mile Point with smaller ones available at Pont Lawrence Rees and Glanhowy Road, Wyllie. Please be aware that the barrier to the car park at Nine Mile Point closes at 4:00pm (winter) and 5:00pm (summer). Pay and Display car parking operates at Nine Mile Point car park.
Other access points Access can be gained on foot or by bike at entrances at Nine Mile Point, Full Moon Cottage, Pont Lawrence Rees, Ynysddu and Wyllie. The park can also be entered via the NCR 47 at Gelligroes and Crosskeys.
Toilets Toilets are located at Full Moon Cottage and are open daily between 9:00 - 4:00pm (winter) and 9:00 - 5:00pm (summer). The disabled toilet is available at all hours via a RADAR lock.
Picnic tables Picnic tables can be found at Nine Mile Point, No. 1 Box and the Flatwood Meadows.
Accessibility The main path through the country park, following the former railway track, is flat, level tarmac. Mobility scooter friendly access barriers are located at all the access points into the park although the entrances at Pont Lawrence Rees and Ynysddu and the Crosskeys section of NCN R47 have steep approaches. There are plenty of benches by the side of the main path. Away from the cycle route the other paths are made up of either stone dust or natural surfaces. These can be steep and rough, particularly those climbing into the NRW woodland.
The Education Centre, Parc Penallta, Penallta Road, Ystrad Mynach, Hengoed. CF82 7GL.
Tel: 01443 816853