Welcome To the Trevithick Trail

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The 15.2 kilometre Trevithick Trail commemorates the first journey by a steam locomotive to pull a load on rails in 1804, the precursor of the Railway Age which changed the world in the 19th century.

Trevithick Trail By the beginning of the 1800s Merthyr Tydfil was developing from a rural community into the Iron Capital of the World with its four iron works at Cyfarthfa, Dowlais, Penydarren and Plymouth.

It would continue to grow and by the middle of the century became the largest town in Wales with a population of more than 50,000 inhabitants as the four great iron works continued to expand.

On February 21, 1804, the Penydarren locomotive, designed and built by the Cornish inventor Richard Trevithick for Samuel Homfray, master of the Penydarren ironworks, pulled a load of 10 tons of iron and 70 men nine miles down the Taff Valley – all for a bet.

The historic journey went from the Penydarren works to the Navigation where it joined the Glamorgan Canal so linking the industrial heart of Merthyr Tydfil with the port of Cardiff and the rest of the world.

Trevithick Trail

Along the trail markers point out the historical significance of various locations as you follow the track along the nine-mile route.

Trevithick Trail But the Trevithick Trail is far more than a walk through the past. Because it runs down the Taff Vale alongside the River Taff it passes though a variety of habitats and the flora and fauna which may be seen during your visit. These include an abundance of trees, shrubs and wild flowers as well as birds, insects and small mammals.

The River Taff is never far away from the trail so there is the opportunity of seeing various fish, including trout and salmon, making their way upstream to spawn. Merthyr Tydfil, standing at the head of the Taff Valley, 25 miles north of Cardiff, is accessible from all parts of the country.

It is linked to Cardiff and the M4 motorway by the A470 expressway and to the Midlands and Swansea by the A465 Heads of the Valleys road. In keeping with that memorable event over 200 years ago there is a rail service between Cardiff and Merthyr Tydfil.

The trail is suitable to all users, it’s a shared-use heritage trail appropriate for walking, cycling (all abilities), wheelchairs and horses at sections.

The Trevithick Trail, which starts in the heart of Merthyr Tydfil, is a new initiative launched to celebrate the bi-centenary of the first ground breaking trip into the Age of Steam in 1804. Exciting developments and landscaping schemes are being planned to improve facilities even more for visitors on the Trail.

So, why not try the Trevithick Trail, a walk through history surrounded by the beauty of nature.