Walnut Tree Junction café, Taff’s Well


When this café opened in 2022, it revived a centuries-old name for the southern area of Taff’s Well.

Walnut Tree Bridge carried the main road over the Glamorganshire Canal, which opened between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff in 1794. The bridge was approximately where Cardiff Road now crosses the slip road for northbound traffic joining the A470 road. The slip road follows the canal’s course.

Old photo of Taff's Well station c.1905In 1841 about one in three of the residents of Taff’s Well lived in the Walnut Tree Bridge area, which later had its own Wesleyan chapel and National School. In 1880 Mary Jones of the Little Houses, Walnut Tree Bridge, died at the age of 103.

From 1858, the railway station was called Walnut Tree Junction and later Walnut Tree Bridge, before it became Taff’s Well in 1900. Walnut Tree Junction was where the Rhymney Railway’s line from Caerphilly, opened in 1858, joined the Taff Vale Railway’s earlier Merthyr to Cardiff line.

The junction was south of the station, as seen in the c.1905 photo by Martin Ridley (courtesy of the National Library of Wales, ref Ridley 2690). Most of the track to Caerphilly had been removed when Peter Clark photographed the remains of the junction in 1987.

Photo of Walnut Tree Junction and signal box in 1987Other industrialists started the Barry Dock & Railways Company. Their initial railway, Pontypridd to Barry, opened in 1889. In 1901 the Barry Railway opened a line to Caerphilly which crossed the valley at Taff’s Well on the dramatic Walnut Tree Viaduct, c.470 metres long and c.36 metres above the valley floor. The viaduct sections and one pier were removed in 1969 to make way for the A470. In 1973 three other piers were demolished. Surviving remnants are the pier beside the river and the western abutment and first pier in the trees on Lower Garth.

The café revives the name of the station and junction, but also the names of two local pubs: the Walnut-Tree Inn and Junction Hotel, both now demolished. It occupies a former shop, built as a hardware store adjacent to what was then the bank building next door. It’s remembered locally as Babyfayre, which sold baby clothes, wool and school uniforms. The shopfront and wooden parquet floor were carefully restored for the café’s opening.

Postcode: CF15 7RA    View Location Map

Website of Walnut Tree Junction (Facebook)