Follow the road for about three-quarters of a mile, until it bends to the left and away from the stream. Turn right and follow a faint footpath through the bracken and down the stream. It becomes more clearly marked as you go. Cross a field, keeping to the right-hand side, and go over the stile at the bottom. Walk down Brookfield Lane, cross the main road at the bottom, turn left and then right (following the signpost for Trallwng) to walk under the A470 dual carriageway. Turn right then left immediately and left again. Take the next right into Crossway Street and walk downhill then turn right to cross a modern concrete bridge near the site of Leland's Pont yr Hesg.
Walk across the modern concrete bridge (known locally as the White Bridge) and turn left. A path down through the bushes to your left leads to the river bank. You can scramble under the modern bridge and get down to the flat rocks under the railway bridge, from which you get an excellent view of the bridge footings and the rapids. Return to the road and walk the 50 yards to a large expanse of grass between the houses. Turn right just before the grass and follow a steep road uphill, under a railway bridge and along a stream. This road, now known as the Darren Ddu after the quarry it passes, was once called the Old Parish Road. It was the way from Pontypridd to Ynys-y-bwl before the modern road was built along the river bank.
The main track has been badly eroded by rain and is blocked in places by burnt-out cars but it is possible to cut up the bank to the right. The track bears right at the top and continues down the other side to join the metalled road above Ynys-y-bwl. The monks of Llantarnam owned most of the land around you. It was originally given to Margam to found a daughter house at a place called Pendar. No-one knows now where Pendar was: the name means ‘Head of the Oak-tree’, and the whole valley would have been full of oak trees. The little community there did not prosper, and eventually the monks went back to Margam. In a general sorting-out of estate boundaries at the end of the thirteenth century, Margam exchanged their land in the upper Taff and Rhondda valleys for some land which Llantarnam held nearer to Cardiff. This was how Llantarnam acquired the land around Penrhys, though the shrine there did not become famous until later.
The original route to Penrhys probably went up the valley and through Ynys-y-bwl to the monks’ grange farm at Mynachdy, but this now involves nearly two miles of metalled road through a built-up area. On the other hand, the built-up area has shops, cafés, pubs ... The old road goes to the middle of the village and turns left up a steep hill called Heol y Plwyf, ‘the Parish Road’ (again). At the T junction by the entrance to the cemetery, turn right and follow the road round to the left to rejoin the main road. Cross the Nant Ffrwd (look out for the millstone built into the bridge). The monks’ mill was just below the bridge. It is now a private house. Bear left with the road and walk up the hill. When the main road bears to the right, take the side road (called Mynachdy Road) straight ahead and up a steep hill to Mynachdy Farm.
If you want to keep off the tarmac as much as possible, immediately after you rejoin the main road, turn left up a lane. The path here goes through the garden of a modern house but there are reassuring notices on the garden gate. Follow the track up the bakns of a pretty stream. When you reach a stile and gate, turn right and walk up the track. After Cribyn-du Farm, the track goes downhill. When it bends to the right, go over the gate to your left and bear left across the next field. Cross the footbridge and bear slightly to the right across the next field. Go through the gate and head for the track through the conifer plantation. On leaving the plantation the track bears slightly to the left along a wall. Go through the wide gate ahead of you, around the garden of another house and down the steep track to the left. Cross the road and take the waymarked footpath a little to the right, down to the valley bottom.
Over the stream, do not cross the stile to the left but take the track up to the right and out of the woods. Bear up to the left across the fields and join the farm track below a modern barn. Turn left to join a roughly metalled road. To your right is all that remains of Mynachdy Farm. This is now a ramshackle assortment of derelict modern buildings with the ruins of a huge old barn. Keep on the main track which bears left and goes up hill past a modern farm. At the gate to the open moorland, the paths divide. Take the left-hand fork and walk across the fields to the forest. Take the first forest road to your right. A footpath should cut across to your left to join the path to the forest edge, but it is completely overgrown. Instead, in about a third of a mile, turn left at the junction of the forest roads then look for a faint path up to your right to a stile at the forest edge. Follow the waymarked path up through the bracken and down to another stile on the road below Llanwynno Church.
Turn left between the pub and the church and take the road to the south. On your right, look out for a plaque inscribed with words from Psalm 34, in Welsh and English: Bendithiaf yr Arglwydd bob amser. Ei foliant fydd yn fy ngenau yn wastad. I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. After about half a mile, take the track to your right. This is marked on old maps as the Llanwynno road, but it is too steep for motor vehicles and has not been surfaced. (A footpath to the right about 200 yards from the church cuts across to the old road.). Follow the track down to Cefn Llechau farm, from which point it is metalled, and down through Stanleytown to the bridge.
Stanleytown was a remarkable co-operative enterprise. The eighty terraced houses were built in 1895 by the Stanley Building Society at a cost of only £166 each. The bridge at the bottom is Pont Gwaith-yr-Haearn, ‘Ironworks Bridge’, on the line of the one described by Leland in 1540. His route went from Pont yr Hesg ‘to Rotheney Vehan [Rhondda Fychan or Rhondda Fach] water and over a bridge of wood, 3 miles’. Cross the bridge, walk up to the main road, go up the steps ahead of you and a little to the left, cross the side road and walk up a path alongside the stream to meet the main road just below the modern statue of the Virgin Mary.People and Places