If we settle for the Raven Way from the Ebbw valley over Mynydd Machen, where does that leave us …
From the Blackvein bridge, walk up the road to the right, ignoring the first waymarked footpath to the left – it’s impassable.
You can take the bridleway to the left across the first bend – the beginning is over grown but it soon clears.
Ignore paths off this, rejoin the road and continue up. After the road bends to the right, take the footpath to the left.
This is a good path up through the woods – was it once a tramway? The stones have regular holes and look as though they might have been sleepers.
Cross the forest road and continue up. Where the track divides, bear up to the right towards the forest edge, over a stile and turn left along the forest edge.
Here it gets difficult – the path is very overgrown, boggy and in places blocked by fallen trees. From here it is the route from my earlier blog posting (https://cistercianway.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/the-unkindness-of-ravens/).
Keep along the line of the forest edge as best you can. Cross a rickety gate and bear up to the right through the next field to a gate. Cross the roughly metalled trackway and make your way up through the bracken (in spite of all the Ramblers’ efforts 2 days ago, virtually impassable).
From the top of the pass there’s a clear path down to the forest
and along the forest edge (lovely views)
down to Machen.
But to be honest I can’t recommend it as it stands: very hard going for a promoted route. If it can be cleared and kept clear it’s probably the best option (we certainly couldn’t commit to keeping a second route clear). The alternative would probably involve continuing up the road and bridle paths from Glenside, turning left at the top along that roughly metalled track and following it up to the remains of an old car parking area south-east of Mynydd Machen (I can remember driving up to that one but you’d need a 4×4 now) and walking up the scrambler tracks to reach the path to the forest.
O for the wings of a raven …