Rhondda, also known as The Rhondda Valley, in the Blaenau district of Glamorgan, is an inland, geographical area in South Wales, incorporating two valley districts, Rhondda Fach, and Rhondda Fawr. Most of its communities are settlements beside the two tributaries of the Rhondda River – indeed Porth is often referred to as Rhondda’s capital – it is situated where the two tributaries meet. But Rhondda’s also quite close to Cardiff, Bridgend and even Swansea.
What’s Rhondda Like?
The Rhondda Valleys are deep glacial valleys surrounded by settlements possibly inhabited since the Mesolithic period. Indeed there is much evidence of settlement from then on with Bronze Age and Iron Age sites dotted round.
Twentieth century mining history turbulence and decline are well documented at many heritage sites in the area.
From walking to golf to (at times challenging) cycling, The Rhondda Valley offers much to active visitors.
The Clydach Vale Country Park was created on the site of the derelict Cambrian Colliery in the 1980s and the Bwich y Clawdd and Nantgwyddon Picnic Parks are great lunching facilities. Glyncornel (with oak woods and fly-fishing lake) is a Site of Special Scientific Interest; the Blaenrhondda Conservation Area offers forest walks; Penpych mountain can be climbed (a two mile walk) via the Blaencwn Forest; Darran Park, Ferndale has a fishing lake and an open air pool – and the Rhondda Fach Gateway is a magnificent start and stop to an historically fascinating walk.
Maerdy Park presents a miners’ memorial marking the colliery’s closure, and Scotch Row retains miners’ cottages worth a visit – as are Glamorgan Colliery Power House and Tonypandy Textile Mill. ‘Old Smokey’, the old Tylorstown Tip has been landscaped quite beautifully, and of course, the Rhondda Heritage Park (at the old Lewis Merthyr colliery) is a particularly great visitor attraction.
This area has many elevated prehistoric features. From the old town of Gelli (a hut settlement’s remains, stone circle and burial chamber) with great view of the Rhondda Fawr, to Hen dre’r Mynydd – an iron age settlement again with hut circles and stock enclosures, to various cairns and cists. And don’t forget the ‘Rhondda Stonehenge’, 10 upright stones around 60cm high, and the hillfort, Maendy Camp. There are also a number of Roman settlements, some considered to be military sites (for example, above Blaenllechau).
How to get to The Rhondda Valley
The Rhondda Valley, inland South Wales, is perhaps best reached via the M4 which runs parallel to much of the South Wales coastline. From there, a network of A roads will take the visitor deeper into the Valleys. Porth and some of the other larger settlements have their own railway stations.
Where to stay
Why not stay with us in one of our traditional style holiday cottages or bed and breakfasts through the Rhondda Valley and surrounding areas? Whatever your requirements, use us as a base for your South Wales Valley holiday and browse our lists below…