A group of 17 walkers turned out to join Sheila from Penarth and District Ramblers for a 7.5-mile local walk beginning from St Mary’s Church in Wenvoe where above the entrance to the churchyard is a stone memorial to Laura Frances Jenner, the last inhabitant of Wenvoe Castle and is dated 1930.
In pleasant warm sunshine some pavement pounding led them uphill to Pound Lane and through the pretty pathway in Wenvoe Wood where they found several early purple orchids just breaking into bloom along with garlic and bluebells.
A farm track that is usually swimming in mud and water but because of the dry weather was firm underfoot led them to Burdonshill, where a metal kissing gate brought them onto part of the Wenvoe Golf Course that was surprisingly quiet, with its lovely views westwards towards Rhoose and Aberthaw.
Descending to a track through woodland and then to the north eastern end of Goldsland Wood, a pause to hear that the remains of seven Neolithic humans were excavated in 2005 from within the woodland. Apparently to bury the dead, firstly a pit was dug and the bodies were placed in the pit with some of their possessions and when they became skeletons the bones were moved to another site, for example the nearby burial tomb at St Lythans. This find along with pottery, flint blades and some beads they think relates to around 3000BC.
Moving on past the remains of two lime kilns and Maes-y-felin brought them into the field containing the St Lythans burial chamber where they paused for morning break. Consisting of three upright stones with a capstone which would originally have been covered by an earthen mound, it is also known as gwal-y-filiast or the ‘kennel of the greyhound.’
Many legends abound saying that any wish whispered to the stones on Halloween is granted, and that the capstone is said to spin round three times on Midsummer Eve, whilst the stones go down to the river to bathe. There is an open invitation to anyone wanting to test these theories out!
Some road walking brought them back into fields at the rear of Dyffryn House and crossing the River Waycock and passing through fields they arrived at Tinkinswood burial chamber, also called the ‘Witches Castle.’ Excavated in 1914 this large tomb with its huge capstone contained the bones of around 50 men, women and children and the herringbone entrance faces east as at St Lythans.
Legend has it that if you sleep there on May Day’s Eve, St John’s Eve or Midsummer’s Eve you will die, go mad or become a poet, or perhaps even all three! The rocks outside to the south are said to be women who danced on the Sabbath and were turned to stone. Big black clouds hung overhead during lunch but the threat of rain soon passed.
Making their way up through lush meadows to St Nicholas village and past the old Police Station that was built in 1858, they re-entered farming land before heading into the delightful Coed Nant-bran where the wild garlic was still in bud form, but the aroma was tantalising. Several stiles led them past Coed Rhosyn and down a drive and along the St Lythans Road to view the now redundant village pump, before entering the lovely village churchyard which is thought to go back to Pagan times.
The late 12th century church is dedicated to St Bleddian who was the Bishop of Gaul and his name means ‘little wolf’. A large stone chapel dedicated to the Button family was added on its south side in the 16th century and inside is a very large Norman font with a heavy lid and a carved chevron pattern, where the infant being baptised was thought to have been totally immersed in the holy water.
Leaving the garlic covered churchyard to follow a driveway, a narrow path led them into a meadow with views towards the tall St Lythans TV mast, before a woodland track beside Wenvoe Wood led them northwards towards the Whitehall Quarries. Then turning sharply and following a narrow path in woodland brought them back to Pound Lane for the descent back to their start after what had been a lovely walk.
You can follow the group’s exploits on www.penarthramblers.wordpress.com or Facebook.