Follow in the footsteps of hometown heroes
A series of short town centre walking trails have been developed through we love merthyr. They combine gentle exercise with learning on themed walks in and around the town centre. They'll take no more than 1.15hrs at most, to complete. They cover everything from the role of women in Merthyr Tydfil's history to sporting achievements, and from architecture to the age of steam.
DOWNLOAD the trail maps below or visit for more information and their related interactive maps.
A Petticoat Trail
Follow our somewhat unorthodox trail through local history since the women of Merthyr Tydfil have until lately been written out of its rich history! It starts and finishes, after a gentle walk of about half a mile through the town centre, with Santes Tydfil, the founding patron after whom this town of Merthyr Tydfil is named. "Merthyr" is the Welsh word for "martyr" or at least the depiction of a site of death of one who became a saint. When you reach each stopping point, turn overleaf to find out more about the location and its relevance to the women of merthyr Tydfil.
A Vision Trail
Merthyr Tydfil is unique, with a great variety of artistic elements hidden in everyday places. Join Merthyr-born photographer Richard Jones on a short journey around the town centre identifying what catches his eye as a working photographer. Take photos as you go using nothing more than your mobile phone. Do you see what a photographer sees?
Enjoy the challenge of using your phone’s camera to capture some of Merthyr’s iconic images and unusual visual elements.
In the Footsteps of Dic Penderyn
Follow in the footsteps of Dic Penderyn, visiting the places where the leaders of the 1831 Merthyr Rising would have met to make their plans and the scenes of several flashpoints during the rebellion. Ask yourself the question – was Dic Penderyn a hero, villain or victim of the rising or indeed a martyr of the Welsh working class?
Off the Rails
Discover all about Merthyr Tydfil and the development of the railways, starting with the town’s role in the very first journey by a steam-powered locomotive on rails. It all began with a wager between two powerful Merthyr iron masters, leading to Richard Trevithick’s steam locomotive and ultimately the golden age of steam.
Look Up In Merthyr
Here is a local trail with a slight difference; it is encouraging the walker to look UP and view what is above eye level and even at roof top level!
What is there will not disappoint; indeed it may well fascinate and inform with new views of the town and a different angle on its rich history. The town after all could afford the best in civic architecture – materials and designers.
Merthyr At Play
Sports of all descriptions as an essential past-time have been crucial to this town’s development as a civic entity. Merthyr Tydfil has been nothing if not always competitive; the price of bar iron on the world markets decided that long ago. Teams were formed of whatever sports discipline even among rival streets, colliery lodges and chapels. The end result, well written up in numerous publications is “Sporting Merthyr Tydfil.”
This trail starts at Merthyr Town Football Club and ends in the heart of the town centre but additional visits can be made to the clubhouse of Merthyr Rugby Football Club and to Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre, where you can see a comprehensive boxing “hall of fame.”
Merthyr Tydfil for most of its history was a majority Welsh language speaking entity before and during its industrialisation, which made it by 1840 the largest iron producing town in Wales.
Its population were in the majority born in Wales and therefore were Welsh speaking; the separate Welsh dialects were several and heard in different parts of the town. At Heolgerrig there was a different and distinct dialect compared with that of a Dowlais accent and again separate from the down-valley townships centred around the collieries, whose labour force was partly drawn from mid Wales. The Georgetown area, a sub-district under the patronage of the mighty Cyfarthfa Works, counted at the 1851 census over a third of its population migrating into the area from Carmarthenshire.
Follow our short trail around Merthyr Tydfil town centre to find examples of the Welsh language visible in the town’s art, architecture and public spaces.
Walking on Water
Here is a trail with a slight difference from some of the others, even in its ambitious title! It is about the role of the mighty river Taf (sometimes spelt Taff) and its effects on this town’s history to the present day. The confluence or joining of its two separate tributaries is just below Cefn Coed: the Taf Fawr and the Taf Fechan, which flow either side of the southern flanks of the Brecon Beacons, rising at some 3,000 feet and then going southwards to the sea at Cardiff.
Merthyr Tydfil town centre has some amazing buildings, monuments, and artworks, with lots of interesting and unusual features, from mythical creatures and ferocious animals to famous faces and plenty of stories from past and present.
Click here to go to welovemerthyr's interactive walking trails maps.
The Town Centre Walking Trails is just one of a series of trails running right through the county borough that encapsulates the area's history complemented by miles and miles of natural beauty. So if you want to take time to stop at one of our amazing adventure attractions, learn about our history, shop, eat, sleep or just take a moment to savour the breathtaking scenery. Merthyr has it all.