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This is one of two caches aimed at exploring Gwaelod-y-Garth, just north of Cardiff. The theme of this one is "heaps". A trail of three micro-caches and one virtual cache lead, via a nature reserve and a viewpoint, to the final regular cache. You should be prepared for a 4 mile walk with 1000' of ascent. Paths may be rough, steep, wet or muddy in places. The micro-caches are in a variety of forms - search with an open mind! The regular cache is a small turtle container.
Gwaelod-y-Garth was once very different from the village we see today. In the 19th century, there were a number of coal mines, while iron and limestone were mined or quarried from the Lesser Garth to the south. These mineral workings were linked by tramroads and inclines to an iron works, which had 3 blast furnaces, 82 coke ovens and 11 puddling furnaces when it closed. What are some of the 20th century houses built on?
Please park considerately near the co-ordinates given above for the cache, then make your way around the six stages - three micro-caches (MC's), one virtual cache (VC), one regular cache (RC) and, finally, the return to the starting point. Notes about all stages are given here, but only co-ordinates for the first stage. Co-ordinates for the second stage are in MC1, and so on. There is advice in the regular cache for the return to the start. In some cases, the stage details include intermediate waypoints (IW's), but the use of a 1:25,000 map is still advised. Some of the route is through woodland and this will inhibit GPS reception, particularly at a few IW's where it is not too critical. Obviously, this problem will be worse in the summer.
The co-ordinates for the first stage are:
IW1 N51 32.382 W003 16.427
MC1 N51 32.261 W003 16.615
Between IW1 and MC1, the public footpath is initially in the access road to the Georgetown Terrace. The first heaps (of rocks) are encountered as MC1 is neared, although the significance of these is not known!
Go over the stile by MC1. This takes you into the Coed-y-Bedw Nature Reserve, which is managed by the Glamorgan Trust for Nature Conservation: you will find more paths here than are shown on the Ordnance Survey map. To encourage diversity of flora and fauna, bird boxes have been placed on trees and selective clearance and thinning have been carried out (creating heaps of logs and off-cuts and, coincidentally, aiding GPS reception!).
MC2 is on the edge of the extensive spoil heap of a former coal mine. At IW3, you join the old tramroad that carried coal down to the village and waste to the spoil heap that is now on the right. You may find some of the stone "chairs" that supported the tramroad rails along this path. Just after crossing a stream, look for a short cutting on the right - the adit of the old mine was at the end of this, but is now silted to the soffit. Just after this you will pass the remains of some of the mine buildings.
MC3 is also on the edge of an old coal mine spoil heap. The outcropping coal in this area was extensively worked, but the fields have been levelled and returned to pasture, so the evidence of former activity is less obvious.
VC4 could be described as a heap on a very big heap! The South Wales Coalfield might be visualised as a stack of saucers: if the dark shadows between the saucers are the coal seams, the summit of the very big heap is the southern rim of the top saucer. The bottom of the stack is in the Nature Reserve which you walked through earlier. The crowning heap is one of at least five Bronze Age Burial Mounds, dating back about 4000 years, in this area.
At VC4, you need to find "Sjkmn", where the letters j to n are numbers. From these, derive further numbers as follows:
p = j divided by k
q = k + p
r = j multiplied by k
s = m divided by j + p (m/j + p, not m/(j + p))
t = r + k
u = m - p
v = q + t
Use the following co-ordinates to get to the final regular cache:
IW 7 N51 32.ujv W003 17.qnq
IW 8 N51 32.uku W003 16.vpr
IW 9 N51 32.sqn W003 17.ptn
IW 10 N51 32.sup W003 16.vpj
RC5 N51 32.srp W003 16.muu
It is possible to find more direct routes, but these may encounter very steep and slippery ground.
At IW7, a man-made "heap" will help you identify distant landmarks (but not if the weather is as miserable as it was when we plotted this cache!). The heap a little further northeast of here is not a burial mound, but the result of excavations in the 1940's. In the woods on the left between IW9 and IW10, the remains of several houses can be seen, a legacy of the period when coal outcrops on the upper slopes of Garth Hill were being worked.
On the final stage, back to the start, there are many heaps on the forest floor, the result of shallow working of outcropping coal seams. The roughly circular holes amongst the heaps were bellpits, so called because a narrow shaft at the surface was widened at the coal seam, creating a bell-shaped chamber.
The initial contents of the cache comprise the usual pen and logbook, and a koala bear, "Predicting" book, a pair of sunglasses, a one-eyed French bear, a thimble, some coloured pencils and a miniature pack of cards.
(No hints available.)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum