You’re approaching a rather lovely bridge: the Goitre Coed Viaduct at Quaker’s Yard was designed by – you guessed it – Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and was opened in 1841 with the Abercynon to Merthyr Tydfil section of the Taff Vale Railway.
The viaduct has a curve to its plan – hanging an easy left as it spans the river. The 6-arch structure of heavily rusticated pennant sandstone stands 32.3m above the water. 20 years after the viaduct was opened, its width was doubled – as was the rest of the Taff Vale Railway.
The extension, this time by John Hawkshaw, who is famous as the engineer of the Severn Tunnel, has masonry with a plainer aesthetic on the downstream side.
The viaduct not only passes over the Taff at this point – but also over Penydarren Tramroad that the railway ultimately replaced. Much of the old tramroad is walkable today – some of it now part of the Taff Trail – and you can even see some of the old stone sleepers near the beautiful bridge at Pontygwaith, to the north of Quaker’s Yard.