By Joy Strangward

A GROUP of eight ramblers joined Joy from Penarth and District Ramblers at St Mary’s Church, Wenvoe on a warm sunny evening at the start of a 5 mile walk.

Heading along Clos Llanfair into cool woodland behind Pugh’s Garden Village, pavements at Burdons Close led them up steps and into a huge meadow.

Crossing the only stile on the walk the quiet lane brought them uphill to Burdonshill and through a kissing gate onto part of the vast Wenvoe Castle Golf Course. Several golfers waiting to play through allowed them to pass safely along the side of the green to a sunken path edged by bracken leading down into woodland.

Then on past a pretty wildflower meadow to cross recently mown fields beside the privately owned Goldsland Wood and passing through several gates where the young cattle just stood and gazed at them they reached Maes-y-felin.

Walking through the yard and entering the field containing the St Lythans Burial Chamber where the young cattle were more interested in grazing than confrontation in the heat, the strong evening sunshine hit them full in the face.

Dating to 4,000BC this Neolithic tomb is thought to be the burial place for the agricultural community that would have lived and worked in the surrounding area, as the Neolithic settlers took over from the hunter gatherers by felling forests and becoming farmers and growing crops. Originally the tomb was covered by an earthen mound about 27 metres in length but that has long vanished leaving three upright mud stones which are capped by a 14ft by 10ft capstone. In 1875 the interior of the chamber was cleared out and some human remains and pottery was found, but the site has never been properly excavated. By the early 19th century it was being used as an animal shelter and legend has it that the stones will grant any wish whispered to them at Halloween, and that the capstone spins around three times on Midsummer Eve, whilst the stones go bathing in the river.

Crossing a stile onto a narrow path beside a crop of ripening broad beans on one side and a hedge boundary interspersed with shoulder high tall grasses, pretty willowherb and hedge-parsley on the other; they pushed their way through to reach open ground.

Tramping alongside fields containing ripening wheat, then past maize, led to a stile hidden in the hedge and crossing they entered the sunlit Goldsland Valley and descending to cross the brook the resident cattle were hiding quietly behind the hedge. A short climb brought them to New Wallace Farm where in the yard the horses were hanging their heads over their stable doors to welcome the group and be fussed, including feisty Shetland pony Buddy.

The quiet country lane led them towards the Wenvoe Castle Golf Club which was founded in 1936 on land that was once the Wenvoe Estate. When Edmund Thomas acquired the estate he built a manor house and improved the grounds. Then in 1775 Peter Birt rebuilt the mansion and finally it passed into the hands of the Jenner family, but following a fire which damaged much of the house, it was demolished in 1930, after which a 99 year lease was given to the golf club.

Laura Frances Jenner being the last of the family to reside at Wenvoe Castle is commemorated on a stone plaque above the entrance to the 13th century St Mary’s Church in the village, where three generations of the Jenner family were rectors.

Following the main drive to the golf clubhouse which is overlooked by huge oak trees led to Port Road for some pavement walking back into the village still lit up by sunshine.

You can follow the group at or on Facebook.