(Head of the Valley to Porth)

NAME OF RIVER: Rhondda Fawr ('big' Rhondda).

WHERE IS IT?: In the Rhondda valley, following the A4058 up the valley from Pontypridd. OS map 170, Vale of Glamorgan.

PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: You can actually get on right at the top of the valley by the bus stop/ turning space. You will have to sort out parking yourselves as I parked in a friend's space! You'll know the spot as it's near a big waterfall.

To finish, you can either carry on down the next (harder) section, or finish at the out-in for that trip: near some warehouse/ factory units on the south (river right) side of the valley, roughly 015916, just upstream of a footbridge.

APPROX LENGTH: Twelve miles?




GRADING: Grade 2+.

MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Low pipes. Cars in the river.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: It is a very pleasant easy start to the river in view of a magnificent water fall (no Shaun, you can't. Bit big for you and a tad shallow at the bottom).

I paddled this river a week before Christmas 2000. its a pleasant grade 2 all the way to the the confluence with the Afon Rhondda Fach which misses out on the urbanisation.

The other things to watch out for are pipes. There are two which we had problems with; one we had to portage and another one which we limboed. The smaller of the two pipes is easy to spot from a distance and the larger is rapidly below a high road bridge.

Tthe other thing we found amusing was breaking out behind Vauxhall Novas and VW Golfs.

OTHER NOTES: We also paddled the first of the two large rapids on the lower section when there was enough water to go through the rail way arch river right with a lovely wave in the arch, but not enough water to move away from the large hole after it so if you see a set of Robson Freestyle paddles they're mine - cheers.

Hywel...'I paddled it yesterday (28/1/01) and there was a tree blocking 9/10ths of the river width. It was passable on the extreme left but the water level was low. In medium or high water it would not be passable. This was on the section of the river between Dinas and Porth, towards the end of this section.'

CONTRIBUTED BY: Alex Briant, Bromley CCand Royal Victoria Dock CC. Also, Hywel.