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Taff Trail: stretch your legs and clear your head

With diverse and beautiful flora and fauna just a stone’s throw from the city centre, Cardiff’s Taff Trail is a great route for walking, exercising or just relaxing.

An early stop on the trail, the view from Millennium Bridge towards the city centre gives a great view of the Principality Stadium

An early stop on the trail, the view from Millennium Bridge towards the city centre gives a great view of the Principality Stadium

Beginning at Cardiff Castle and stretching all the way up to the Brecon Beacons National Park, the first few miles of the Taff Trail are a great way to waste a few hours.

The first part of the trail shares the space with Bute Park, popular with professionals on a lunch break, walkers, and cyclists commuting from Llandaff. While the main path and fields can get quite busy, a small track runs alongside the river and occasionally slopes down to pebble beaches, allowing you to get closer to gentle sounds of the flowing Taff.

teps lead down to a secluded ‘beach’ where one can skim stones or just enjoy the relative quiet

Steps lead down to a secluded ‘beach’ where one can skim stones or just enjoy the relative quiet

Dotted around Bute are a collection of beautifully carved wooden sculptures, including a dragon, an owl and the ‘fruity’ piece seen below. See if you can spot them all.

Sculptures such as this one were contributed by various artists, often using the wood from dead trees in the park

Sculptures such as this one were contributed by various artists, often using the wood from dead trees in the park

Further up the trail the Blackweir Bridge crosses over to the Pontcanna sports fields and the town of Llandaff, and the weir is also a popular spot for sunbathers and swimmers in those rare spells of hot weather.

Not only popular with the human and canine populations of Cardiff, the Blackweir bridge is a great place to spot magnificent birds such as cormorants and the grey heron

Not only popular with the human and canine populations of Cardiff, the Blackweir bridge is a great place to spot magnificent birds such as cormorants and the grey heron

Once you get past the Talybont student halls the track quietens down considerably, giving way to mainly cyclists and the older generations living just outside the city centre. In times of stress I always find a trip along the Taff to be a great way to calm down and tune into the natural world that we can sometimes forget living in a bustling city.

The trail is a popular route for cyclists of all ages and abilities

The trail is a popular route for cyclists of all ages and abilities

And if you fancy feeling the fresh Welsh water on your skin there are ample opportunities for a paddle (or jump in at Blackweir if you’re brave enough!), including this ideal spot opposite the rowing club, reached after climbing some tricky but fairly manageable boulders. This is another popular hangout for larger birds, but unfortunately on this occasion they scarpered before I could get a good snap.

Dip your toes in the (normally chilly) Taff water, just watch out for the slippery rocks underfoot!

Dip your toes in the (normally chilly) Taff water, just watch out for the slippery rocks underfoot!

This relaxing walk has been invaluable for me as somewhere to escape to in tough times. So whether your need to shed some calories or just clear your head, I’d highly recommend taking the time to visit.