The Trevithick Trail - a walk through history surrounded by the beauty of nature.
The Trevithick trail, which starts in the heart of Merthyr Tydfil, celebrates the first groundbreaking trip into the ‘Age of Steam’ in 1804 and still incorporates the original Trevithick Tunnel which is an attraction in itself. Local artwork and areas of natural beauty can be found along this historical trail with some amazing sights to be discovered around every corner.
The route commemorates the first journey by a steam locomotive to pull a load on iron rails in 1804, the precursor of the ‘Railway Age’ which changed the world in the 19th century. On February 21st, 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 tones of iron and 70 men nine miles down the Taff Valley- all for a bet.
The historic Journey went from Penydarren Ironworks to the Navigation where it joined the Glamorganshire Canal so linking the industrial heart of Merthyr Tydfil with the port of Cardiff and the rest of the world. Along the trail markers and stone sleepers point out the historical significance of various locations as you follow the track along the nine-mile route. So that you don't have to retrace your steps at Pontygwaith you can join the National Cycle Route Network Route 8 where you can return to Merthyr Tydfil on the Taff Trail. Alternatively, stay on Route 8 to Abercynon on the old tram road running parallel to the River Taff.
FACT: The Trevithick Tunnel was created for the first steam locomotive journey and is arguably the oldest railway tunnel in the world, for self-propelled steam engines on rails.
Approximately 9 miles long it takes around 45 minutes to complete. Follow the link below to the Sustrans Cycle Network Map.
Take a look at our short video below. It'll give you a flavour of what to expect on this historic trail.
Expect sights like these -
There's a great circular Trevithick Trail walk, please click on this step-by-step guide if you fancy trying it for yourself -
This integrated viewing platform, pennant stone seating area, stone plinth and a bronze plaque information panel is sited along the Trevithick Trail at Merthyr Vale. The seating area offers panoramic views across Aberfan, the lower valley to the north and the Brecon Beacons.
Trevithick Monument and Heritage Plaque.
Find out more about the heritage plaque here
Monument sited at CF47 0LJ
Frieze sited at Tesco car park CF47 0AP
The Trevithick Trail 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.