Catching the train for the half hour trip from Cardiff to the town of Ystrad Mynach in Glamorgan gives you the chance to relax, stream the latest hits via our free onboard Wifi, and watch the countryside go by.
With a name meaning "valley of the marshy place/man" in old Welsh, Ystrad Mynach is aptly named. In the Rhymney Valley next to the River Rhymney, this town used to be one of the beating hearts of the Welsh coal industry. However, there is a rather gruesome tale explaining the acquisition of the name. A monk was driven from Caerphilly Castle when it became known that he was in love with the daughter of the Lord of the castle. Captured, and sentenced to death, he was hanged from a tree in the valley, with his body left to swing and serve as a warning. The region became known as ‘Monks Valley’ - Ystrad Myna in Welsh.
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Created only 30 years ago on the site of a former coal tip, Parc Penallta is a truly beautiful area of natural habitat. Known far and wide as the place with the pony earth sculpture, Sultan the Pit Pony celebrates an important and much loved part of Welsh history. Covered in buttercups and cowslips in the summer, large hoof-shaped ponds surround him - signs of his nightly escapades, perhaps!
Offering spectacular 360° panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from the High Point Observatory, the Parc is home to rare orchids, dragonflies and other flora and fauna. Trails, including parts of the National Cycle Network, crisscross the region, with more sculptures and art installations along the routes to surprise you. Fishing ponds and open spaces, perfect for kite flying make Parc Penallta a must-visit attraction.
After all that fresh air, why not head for some retail therapy? Ystrad Mynach has an impressive range of stores, from high street names, more exclusive designer labels, and quaint independent boutiques. The perfect showcase for local craftspeople, displays featuring hand thrown pottery, mouth blown glassware, woven baskets and more tempt visitors in. Treat yourself to some homemade fudge or delicious Welsh shortbread for the journey home before you catch the train.
Relax as the train takes you back to Cardiff, and why not download our easy-to-use app? Giving you access to discounted tickets, up-to-date timetables, and the latest Transport for Wales news, you can book your next trip with the click of a button.