Many visitors find Welsh difficult to use because the combinations of letters are hard for English speakers to pronounce. But Emily and her husband Edward spoke both Welsh and English. They used Welsh at home, in the street, in the mines and at Chapel. English meanwhile was the official language of school, business and government. Many places in Wales have both English and Welsh names. Ferndale for example is also known as Glynrhedyn, while Mountain Ash where we finish the walk is also called Aberpennar. Study a map of this area you may feel transported to ‘Welsh Wales’. Look at the Welsh names of places and geographical features. The Rhondda Valley we are looking down on is actually two valleys – the Rhondda Fach and the Rhondda Fawr. ‘Fach’ means ‘little’ and ‘fawr’ means ‘big’. This part of Wales was once heavily wooded, reflected in place names that contain the words ‘coed’ (wood), ‘fforest’ (forest), ‘allt’ (wooded slope) and ‘gelli’ (grove). Later on we’ll pass two farmhouses called Gelli-Wrgan and Tir-y-Gelli. Meanwhile we have walked from Blaenllechau (‘top end of the flat stone’), up Cefn Gwyngul (‘narrow white ridge’) and towards Eglwswynno (‘St Gwynno’s Church’ – ‘eglwys’ is church). ‘Llanwonno’ (or Llanwynno) means ‘the place of dedication to St Gwynno’. We’ll hear more about St Gwynno at the next stop. ‘Llan’ is often linked with the name of a Saint. In place names, ‘llan’ originally referred to an enclosure, and then later came to mean a parish church. Later on we’ll stop at the Brynffynon Inn (‘bryn’ is hill and ‘ffynon’ is well). Then we’ll see Cwm Clydach (‘cwm’ is valley) and Nant Clydach (‘nant’ is stream). All these place names are clues in the physical landscape to what used to be – and may still be – there. Though Welsh may feel like a difficult language, these names unlock the landscape around us. Directions Continue up the road as it steadily climbs the hillside. When it flattens out, stop just before a gate and cattle grid.