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Craig Gwladus and the Tonna trail

Russ had decided that we had unfinished business in Craig Gwladus having introduced us to this lovely country park two years ago on a previous walk of his.

We had only taken a direct route through then, and there were many more paths for us to explore this time.

Pleasingly ten people turned up on a bright day, with blue skies and plenty of sun, though a little breezy at times.

We started off up an incline to a lovely water feature and then on a wide track, an old dram road, passed an old industrial building.Then there was a steep ascent up some narrow steps, where two of the party decided they would rather stick to the low road and retraced their steps to join us a bit later.

At the top of the steps we were high up, winding our way in and out of a tree lined path with a carpet of beautifully coloured fallen leaves.

We stopped at a viewpoint and took in the fabulous scenery before tearing ourselves away to carry on, and then made our descent down, to meet up with the two people who had taken a detour.

Now at full strength again we passed some trees that had been decorated with little fairy doors--indeed Neil H, had "won" a prize for being the first of our group to see one.The prize being a scrummy choccie bar plucked by Russ from his rucksack.

We ventured out of the park and as we exited luckily someone saw that the park gates were shutting at 3 15pm instead of the expected 4 30pm.

We made our way passed the entrance to Aberdulais Falls and to the canal at the Aberdulais Basin with two beautiful bridges for us to stand and admire.

The village of Tonna was in sight and we ascended through the houses, passed a lovely church and on a minor road up to a high point with some great views.

We had veered off the path and decided to stop for lunch in a wooded area whilst Russ and I scampered around trying to locate the correct path.

Luckily after much searching we managed to find it and after lunch rejoined the path, continuing on a muddy bit and emerging onto another minor lane and descending down to a gate that led into Gnoll Park, a well known area of Neath.

We went just inside to view a lovely reservoir and then carried on down, passing the Ivy Tower where Russ gave us a few bits and pieces of local history.

Eventually we joined a green path where we had great views down to Neath and the surrounding area and, to our amusement and theirs, came across a field of lively ginger pigs.

Finding ourselves in more woods, we detoured to the Echoing Lake and then down a very wet and stony bridleway back to the houses and rejoined the path we had been on earlier.

Then it was a simple retracing of our steps back to the cars with plenty of time before the car park barrier was closed, phew, thank goodness for that.

Many thanks to Russ for taking us back to explore this delightful country park and for introducing us to the Tonna area which was new to most of the people on the walk.

Russ has led the November walk for three years running and had lovely sunny weather every time, I think he has friends in high places!!!


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