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This third cache of the Caerphilly Collection involves walking on paths that are likely to be muddy. There is parking about ¾ mile from Draethen, on the Michaelstone road. The cache is about ½ mile away - and 300' higher. Exploring the ridge will disclose the shell of Ruperra Castle and the remains of a hillfort and motte as well as providing fine views. This cache is near the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway Footpath and is contained in a beaker-size plastic container.
The Caerphilly Collection is distinguished with a unique CC number and is made up of 50 caches. The caches vary in difficulty and type and usually have other "C" word connections - castle, cheese, coal, canal, etc. There may even be Cryptic Clues for Clever Clogs! The current Caerphilly unitary authority grew out of the former Rhymney Valley and Islwyn Councils and stretches from the outskirts of Cardiff and Newport in the south to the Brecon Beacons, north of Rhymney. Despite a past dominated by coal and heavy industry, it has a diverse history and varied and dramatic scenery. We hope you will enjoy exploring it with us.
Towards the end of the Collection is CC48 The Accumulator, the location of which is given in coded form. The translation details of the code are distributed around the whole Collection, but only about a third of the caches will contain a piece of the code, which is on the back of the Log Book. To do the Accumulator, you will need to keep a note of each piece of code that you find. Unless you are very lucky, you will need to find the majority of the Collection in order to do the Accumulator. The Accumulator cache is hidden in an area of difficult terrain and demanding navigation, with a 5,4½ rating.
CC3 is also the third of a subset of the main series around the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway (RVR) Footpath. In this case, CC could stand for charred castle. Coed Craig Ruperra is looked after by the volunteers of the Ruperra Conservation Trust, who are encouraging the re-population of the woodland by native species and the return of a diversity of flora and fauna. To whet your appetite, there are two images. One shows the consecutive development of the top of the ridge, from Iron Age Hillfort, to Norman motte and bailey, to 18th century summerhouse.
The last of these was associated with Ruperra Castle, the subject of the second image. The Castle was an early Jacobean manor house, built in 1626 by Sir Thomas Morgan. We suspect that he was a relative of the buccaneer, Henry Morgan, who also came from this part of Wales and wreaked havoc in the West Indies in the 17th century (and is immortalised by a brand of rum!). If anyone can confirm the family connection (or otherwise), we would be very interested. Charles I stayed here in 1645, while trying to raise support after the Battle of Naseby. It had to be re-built after a fire in 1785 and the castellated battlements were added at this time, giving it its mock castle appearance. In 1875, Captain Godfrey Charles Morgan (of Charge of the Light Brigade fame) became Lord Tredegar and the eldest son of the family lived at Ruperra. The Castle thrived into the early 20th century, with splendid gardens, including those on Craig Ruperra which featured a spiral path up to the summerhouse. The castle had become an increasing maintenance liability and troops were billeted in it in the second world war. It was during this occupancy, in 1941, that it was gutted by fire, leaving the shell that can be seen today. It is a listed building.
There is an entrance to the woodland and parking at N51 34.603 W003 06.905 (but the car park is not always open, in which case, there is limited roadside parking near the entrance). Alternatively, if you choose to patronise The Hollybush in Draethen, you can follow the RVR Footpath direct from the inn to the cache. Ruperra Castle is at N51 34.217 W003 07.629 - there is no public access, but it can be seen from the rights of way around the north and west sides. The motte is at N51 34.425 W003 07.318. There are plenty of paths around Coed Craig Ruperra, but they may be steep, rough, wet or muddy in places, except during the most favourable weather conditions. To explore the area, as well as finding the cache, expect to walk a minimum of 1½ miles with 400-500 feet of ascent.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum