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The dramatic and unexpected contrast of open spaces to enjoy in Rhondda Cynon Taf begins in beautiful Taf Ely, to the south of the county borough, where the flat, green, rolling open spaces seen in the iconic "How Green Was My Valley" can be explored on foot, on bike, by car or even on horseback.

Local facilities include bike hire, Talygarn Equestrian Centre, great places to eat, drink and relax – including spas and hotels frequented by Welsh rugby and football stars - and the wonderful shopping experiences including High Street names and brands at Talbot Green and independent boutiques in Llantrisant, the town that is built on a hill, and which dates back to around 1246 when the castle was fortified. The Guildhall which dates back to this time is currently being restored.

But it’s not just a great view and the freshest of fresh air to be found around almost every corner. Taf Ely has a fascinating history including captured kings, ancient castles now guarded by goats (we kid you not!), world-famous warriors and the Royal Mint, which you can now visit to see how coins are minted, as well as exloring the history of coinage in the UK. The Heritage Trails are a great way to find out more and you can download them as a brochure or straight to your MP3 player at

Area Highlights

  • St Illtyd's Church, Llanharry

    This church dates back to 1868 when the old church was knocked down and rebuilt. There are several features such as the font and the chancel arch that can be dated to pre-Reformation times. There was a Norman Church on this site and in all probability an even earlier place of worship.

  • The story of Dr William Price

    Dr William Price was a flamboyant character. He was a Chartist, heretic, archdruid and pioneer in the legalisation of cremation in the British Isles - undoubtedly one of the most eccentric characters in Welsh history.

  • Llantrisant Gallery

    Model House will have ever changing exhibitions of local artist's work. The space offers the artist and viewer a great exhibition setting in Model House in Llantrisant a historic location to enjoy the display of works.