Bonc yr Hafod

Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here. Me and my human thought that we would try a short walk with a bit of up and down. We haven’t tested hopalong’s knee on incline since his operation, so this would be an experiment on a short walk.

Should we follow the waymarks?

Bonc yr Hafod Country Park is a hilly area covered in woodland and very popular with human walkers. I told my chauffeur to drive us to the area on a drab damp morning. There was a few other pooches at the car park preparing to take their humans for a walk on the site of the Hafod Colliery. The hill is comprised of the waste from the mine workings in the area. The spoil heap was landscaped in the 1990’s to provide a recreational area on the reclaimed land. The site is designated a SSSI or a Site of Special Scientific Interest and an SAC or a Special Area of Conservation. Well, that’s what my human said. I call it a SCA or a Squirrel Chasing Area.

Information board
Plenty of footpaths

According to the big feller, the reason that this hill is here is because millions of years ago there was a forest here. He said the trees died and turned into coal which humans used to burn to warm their houses. The coal was dug out by miners who made a huge hill from the useless stuff where we were walking. Sounds like a bit of a tall story to me, but that is what it said on the information boards.

Walking around the base of the hill

Hafod Colliery employed 1900 people in its heyday, so its closure in 1968 had a huge effect on the villages of Rhos and Johnstown. The spoil tip was spread out and flattened slightly in the aftermath of the Aberfan disaster in 1966 to prevent a similar occurrence. Over 80,000 trees were planted to help bind the surface and a criss-cross of pathways created. There are two waymarked routes to follow through the woodland and to the top of the hill. We chose to follow neither of these. We probably walked on most of the paths in the area as we spent a couple of hours

The newt habitat

I won’t describe the exact route that we walked because we just wandered around the whole area. My human wouldn’t let me have a dip in the ponds because he said that there was some special creatures in there! Great Crested Newts apparently are rare and not seen very often. He was right! I didn’t see any. I saw plenty of squirrels though. My nemesis. I never seem to be able to catch one though.

Overlooking the site of Hafod Colliery

We climbed to the top of the hill which was a gentle slope, so the big feller didn’t complain about his iffy knee. At the top the views were allegedly, glorious. Not on this day they weren’t. The clouds were low and it was drizzling. We had a look around the summit ‘sundial’. The centre of it is a carving of a miner and the 12 points of the clock were marker stones that pointed to places in the distance.

The miner at the centre of the ‘sundial’
5 o’clock shows Beeston Castle 16 miles away
Heading back to the car

My human said that there as a website called Hafodhooter.com where you can read all about the history and ecology of the area. We made a hasty retreat to the car before the rain struck. We had walked for about 4.5 miles which is around my humans limit at the moment. I was happy because I had managed to find a few good muddy puddles to splash around in and to get mucky enough for the big feller to start tutting at me! Till next time!

4 thoughts on “Bonc yr Hafod

  1. Great to see u out and about again. Look after “he who most be obeyed knee”…..or no more walkies

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