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Dare Valley Country Park Dog friendly Walk Open Spaces

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Dog Friendly Walks South Wales - Dare Valley

Dare Valley Country Park in Winter lake sluice gate

Dare Valley Country Park

500 acres of countryside, walks, trails and family fun all within a mile of Aberdare. Read all about Dare Valley Country Park here.

If you are looking for things to see and do in South Wales then Dare Valley Country Park has plenty to offer you and your family. And of course, your dogs can run off the lead in the extensive 500 acre Park.

Things to see and do at Dare Valley Country Park: Visit the interactive visitor centre, Walk the 500 acre network of countryside walks and trails, See birds, countryside and spectacular views, Relax in the Country Park Café.

Dare Valley Country Park near Aberdare offers a full list of family events, guided walks, talks and fun days all through the year

Dare Valley Country Park in Winter surrounded by snow covered mountains

Dare Valley Country Park: Getting there

When I first decided to visit Dare Valley Country Park I had great difficulty finding it. As you approach Aberdare from the A465 you initially see some very helpful signage to the Park. However this completely abandons you in Aberdare - or more accurately, directs you to one side of Aberdare and then abandons you. You are on your own. Sat nav to a post code might be more helpful.

Dare Valley Country Park, Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf, CF44 7RG, Tel: 01685 874672, Email: darevalleycountrypark@rctcbc.gov.uk  (Use CF44 7PT or CF44 7PS for SAT NAV's)

The directions to the Dare Valley Country Park on their website read: "Please use the Aberdare entrance.The Cwmdare access is difficult for large vehicles, cars towing caravans and motor caravans and is not recommended. Head for Aberdare Town Centre, then take the A4233 (Maerdy Road).  This will take you up a steep hill (Monk Street). Take the 4th turning right into Highland Place.

You take the second left which is adjacent to the play area and the next right in 50 metres. You will see the entrance to the Country Park, and the Visitor Centre Complex is approximately 1 mile along the road.

From the Rhondda Valleys or Maerdy, again take the A4233 (Maerdy Road) as you head down the steep hill take the first turning on your left into Highland Place. Please use the Aberdare entrance.The Cwmdare access is difficult for large vehicles, cars towing caravans and motor caravans and is not recommended. Head for Aberdare Town Centre, then take the A4233 (Maerdy Road).

This will take you up a steep hill (Monk Street). Take the 4th turning right into Highland Place. You take the second left which is adjacent to the play area and the next right in 50 metres. You will see the entrance to the Country Park, and the Visitor Centre Complex is approximately 1 mile along the road.

From the Rhondda Valleys or Maerdy, again take the A4233 (Maerdy Road) as you head down the steep hill take the first turning on your left into Highland Place.

Well - that sounds as complicated as it is!  Fortunately there is a post code. Assuming your sat nav can get a signal, just rely on your sat nav to find the post code above.

Dare Valley Country Park mining shaft wheel monument


Cwm Dare (Dare Valley)

The village of Cwmdare was built in the 1850's to house the workers of the mines in the valley. Before this, Dare Valley had been home to just a few farmhouses and small holdings. Coal mining in Cwmdare (Dare Valley) is recorded from 1851 but it is thought that some mining had taken place before that. Work to reclaim the valley floor in Dare Valley began in 1971.

In order to create the present Dare Valley Country Park, coal tips were removed, the River Dare was re-routed and two lakes were created. Dare Valley Country Park was opened in 1973 and now features a visitor centre, camping and caravanning, walks and a diverse range of flora and fauna.

There are plenty of excellent wide open spaces where dogs can run free. In total the Park has 500 acres of open countryside. It is a shame it's quite so difficult to find. You drive up steep roads through a housing area of terraced houses and narrow minor roads in order to get to it. It is surprising to find such a huge Country Park hidden behind all these residential terraces. However as it was a former coal mine, this makes more sense, as of course the housing stock would have been developed around the mine.

As Aberdare is relatively close to the castle, it is worth visiting for this Park, especially if you have dogs that need to really have a good run off the lead. I went in the winter and the place was deserted. It might be a bit busier in the summer, being so close to a town, but with so much space I doubt you would meet many other people.

Dare Valley Country Park in Winter, duck covered lake and water rushing down the weir


Dare Valley Country Park: Opening Times


Admission is free. Open All Year. April to September: Open daily, 9am - 6.30pm. October and March: Open daily, 9.30am - 5pm. November through to February: Open daily, 9.30am - 4pm

The Dare Valley Country Park was developed 35 years ago on the site of two worked out collieries in the Dare Valley, Aberdare. Part of the first phase of land reclamation took place in the wake of the Aberfan mining disaster in 1966. The Park is one of the best examples of natural regeneration and restoration in a previously coal spoilt landscape.


The restoration has been due to the chemical and physical attributes of the local coal spoil which have been actively utilised in a way to promote diversity.


Dare Valley Country Park in Winter lake and weir

Dare Valley Country Park

The Dare Valley is a beautiful glacial valley. It was certainly icy when we visited in the winter. Much of the initial public footpath was tarmacadam, icy and slippery.

As we headed away from the visitor centre past the various lakes we entered more rural and open territory, where the dogs could run for miles off the lead.

Dare Valley includes all of the classic features of a south Wales mining valley, including the spectacular glacial cwm at the head of the valley.

There are peat bogs above, alder woodlands, rhos pastures, old coal tips and remodelled coal waste and conifer plantations

Dare Valley Country Park in Winter lake and weir with backdrop of snow covered mountains

Dare Valley Country Park

The Park was opened in December 1973, built on land reclaimed from over a century of coal mining in the area. The land reclamation took two years and involved the clearing of coal tips and re-routing of the River Dare.
There are many historical remnants of the coal mining past to be seen in the Park, including colliery coal trams, and pit winding gear which forms part of a monument in the northern part of the Park.

In 1985 a Visitor Centre was established at the Park.



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