I love this circular walk taking in lots of nature and some wonderful views. It takes around 2 hours and 10,000 steps (5 miles). The terrain is varied and I would suggest sensible walking shoes as some of it is on grass with little pathways – a word to the wise if it has rained be prepared as parts of the walk (especially by the Golden Steps) can be quite muddy and slippery!
Starting from the Knap Car Park Terrace head up the path passing the remains of the Roman Villa dating back to the 3rd century and make your way up the grassy bank towards Marine Drive.
This bit of the walk is quite steep but well worth it, when you get to the top take a look back towards Barry Island and Flat and Steep Holm Islands, it’s a fab view. Carry on to the end of the vast green area which leads you to a pathway dropping down towards Porthkerry Country Park. Head down the pathway (this can be muddy) and down the famous Golden Steps – its always nice to go down the steps and not the other way as they are hard on the legs.
When you finish the Steps, I always take a quick walk to the sea (pick up my 3 pieces of plastic!) and look back towards the Knap. Head over the new boardwalk through the re-wilding section of the park towards the viaduct, built in 1890 to bring coal to the Docks. Pass the children’s play area and go towards the rear of the viaduct up Robin’s Walk to see the wonderful wildlife. At the end of Robin’s Walk turn around and head back the way you came. There is a lovely café here, Mrs Marco’s, serving a great selection of cakes and coffee. This is approximately the halfway point.
After re-charging the batteries, walk over the main field keeping Nightingale Cottage on your left, under the railway tunnel and up Fishponds Hill. This is a fairly steep hill which takes you out of the Park. At the top there’s a nice bench to catch five.
Once out of the park carry on down Park Road and after about a minute you will find Barry Castle. The castle is in fact a fortified manor house and under the management of CADW.
From the Castle, cross over the road and then take a right, down past the Gorsedd Stones and on through to the top gate of Romilly Park, follow the path right through the park to the gates at the far end.
Once out of the park, cross the road and head through the railway tunnel towards the Knap Lake and Gardens. To one side of the gardens are a pretty row of eateries: Romilly’s, Romilly’s Too, Mr Villas and the local shop.
Carry on through the gardens towards the lake which has plenty of resident ducks and swans and follow the harp-shaped lake until you reach the car terrace and your chariot home.
If you do the walk on the weekend, the model boaters are generally at the far end of the lake showing off their skills!