Ludchurch

Are any of you old enough to remember Flanders and Swan? if so you will appreciate why we were singing the song “Glorious Mud”!! We have had a lot of rain recently but some paths were just taking the mick.

If that wasn’t bad enough I had a major serious moment when at the end of the walk I placed my camera on the car roof and forgot about it. The inevitable happened when I found it later crushed and ruined. As government spokesmen say after a disaster “lessons will be learned”

Route

So no pictures today.

I have to take full responsibility for this walk as it was one I had accompanied the “Navigator” on a considerable amount of time ago when I recalled walking through some disused quarries and seeing the water filled holes. Well since then the quarries have been reopened and “unauthorised” people are not allowed anywhere near.

Bearing in mind the walk was not that far from home and a lot of the paths are shown as trails (The Knights Trail and The Landsker Borderlands Trail) we thought this would be straight forward leading to an early finish. Signposting was at best intermittennt, which is unusual for Pembrokeshire. Early on when taking the path westwards from Crunware Curch (closed) we had to bushwack along it and  then clamber over an earth bank obstruction.

Further on we followed “The Landsker Borderlands Path” across a field which had no way through a recently erected fence – we managed to climb over it with a close eye on the barbed wire.

From there it wasn’t too bad but there was a sting was in the tail. The last footpath from about Trenewydd Farm back to Llanteg was  about an “11” on a scale of 1 to 10 in relation to mud. I was thankful I had had the foresight to wear gators. However we had to laugh as at the end of that path was a sign informing walkers the path was closed because it was unsafe!

Then to top it all I had the camera faux pas. Hey ho, the joys of country walking.

PS When I spoke to my home insurers I was told the camera was less than the excess.

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Elan Valley

Together with my brother-in-law, Andy we spent 4 days in the Elan Valley area taking in two cycle rides and two hill walks.

Our base was the Elan Oaks campsite  which is an excellent site. despite our stay being in August the camping field was not at all busy. there are quite a few electric hook points in a separate area.

Both our cycle rides were taken from “Lost Lanes of Wales” by Jack Thurston. The two walks were suggestions from “The Navigator” regularly mentioned in this blog.

Day 1.

When I left home and heading for Llandovery the heavens opened and I was having second thoughts about our trip as the forecast did not mention rain! Anyway when I reached the Sugarloaf the weather improved.

I met Andy at Beulah where we started our ride.

Route

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rain clearing

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In Abergwesyn the village hall has toilets which are not locked. There is a note warning people that the area is bereft of any kind of electric signal and if walking the hills you will have to rely on the old fashioned whistle.

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Not often is there a convenient convenience.

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We cycled close to the Afon Irfon as it meandered into Llanwrtyd Wells.

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From here the route makes its way to Llangammarch Wells. Jack’s directions take you over a ford before the town but  unfortunately the footbridge was closed. We continued on to Llangammarch Wells and rejoined the route.

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Impossible ford

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Footbridge closed

We found a convenient bench for lunch just in time as a large flock of sheep were being driven down the road. This flock was met later and the farmer explained they had been driven from the the local hills for their annual inspection.

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It was then downhill back to Beulah and then a drive up to our campsite in the Elan Valley.

Day 2

Route

Boots and rucksack today. Our high spot would be Gamriw. We walked from the campsite along quiet lanes until we met a footbridge where the collar work started. There was a path at the beginning but this petered out to various sheep tracks leading ever upwards.

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Huge mushrooms

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First pathless hill.

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Looking down from the first hill

 

It was dry at first but  near the high area there were bogs and wet areas and little in the way of a path. However we reached Gamriw only to find the bogs continued and the downhill was not as easy as we had hoped.

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Where is everybody?

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Lunch

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Gamriw trig

 

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Looking back up

The O S map did show paths and also forestry which had disappeared in part which did not help. Thankfully trusting to the compass we found our way to Caban Coch reservoir after passing the small dam which had been destroyed whilst practising for the bouncing bomb.

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At last a path. Caban Coch reservoir

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Although well deserved we decided against a celebratory cake in the visitor centre and headed back to our tents.

Day 3

A longer cycle ride today. Again from “Lost Lanes of Wales” and described as “The Green Desert”.

Route

We started from the camp site and headed towards Llanwrthwl along a quiet lane steep in parts. The route then turned north towards Rhayader. We missed the Glyn bridge but crossed the river higher up and joined the traffic free route into Cwmddeudwr.

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We now faced a long and continuous climb to Penrhiw-wen with a few stops to “admire the views”. There was one longer stop to visit the waterfalls above Glanllyn. At one stage Andy was kind enough to shout back as I thought the top was in sight “false summit”!!

 

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Waterfall on Nant Gwynllyn

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Waterfall on Nant Gwynllyn looking back to Gwynllyn

At last the legs and lungs could take a rest as we had a fast steep ride down to Pont Elan where a perfectly situated bench awaited our lunch stop.

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Craig Goch from Penrhiw-wen

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Craig Goch reservoir our route to the right.

From here we followed the lanes alongside the reservoirs and a final stretch along the traffic free route to the visitor centre where we did celebrate with coffee and cake.

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Later back at the camp site I realised I had mislaid the cycle computer which I had removed before going into the cafe. However the next day I called back to find it had been found by a member of staff.

Day 4

This was our last day with the tents taken down and the cars packed. We drove to Rhayader and parked in the mart (free apart from Friday). We were heading to the hills to the left of our steep cycle ride of yesterday.

Route

From the mart we walked into Cwmddeudwr and took the minor road which almost circles Coed y Cefn and then onto the farm “Treheslog”. Here there is a path although not shown as a public right of way which leads steeply onto the high ground.

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Track up from Treheslog

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Nearing the top with Gwynllyn in the background

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The top

 

Once again a dearth of paths underfoot until we reached Banc Trehheslog and down to the waterfall and the road we slowly peddled up on Wednesday.

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The higher waterfall with the steep road in the background

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Mr Outdoors

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Panorama before the above photo

On crossing the road we headed back to Rhayder via the wide track stopping to look at Esgair Dderw.

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There’s a large stone here somewhere according to the map.

 

 

We had lunch back at the car and we set off to our respective homes, Andy to Chester and Carmarthen for me.

there is plenty to see and do in this area  and no doubt we’ll be back to explore, hopefully with the same good weather.

 

 

Felinfach

Today’s walk was in an area we rarely walk, perhaps because it seems a long way to drive, but not so.

Route

We parked in the grounds of Theatre Felinfach and headed uphill in a south westerly direction to Gwynfryn. From here our direction was north down to the Afon Aeron where we walked along the river bank back to the start.

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The walk up.

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How did this bin get here?

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Fantastic garden

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Himalayan Balsam taking over.

 

Plumstone Mountain

Just two of us today, the “Navigator” and myself. We were heading west towards Roch for a circular walk to take in the area around Plumstone Mountain.

Route

As we approached Solva I casually asked ” I thought we were heading to Roch”. We turned around and drove back to where we should have been!

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Our route after Hayscastle Tump was along a bridle way leading on to Plumstone. This route started well but rapidly became overgrown with nettles, brambles and flooded areas. This was not helpful when wearing shorts and trail shoes!

As we left this bridle way I found a scrap of paper which included a route plan for somewhere in the Wye Valley!?

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Ramsey Island in the distance

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Roch Castle

We walked past the renovated Roch Castle which is now a 5 star hotel.

 

 

Carmarthen to St Clears and back

This was a signing ride organised by Sustrans to check signs  on NCN 4 were still in place and relevant.

Route

In the main all was well. Some discussion about signage in Carmarthen town which may cause a little confusion with non locals. This to be taken up with the Council.

I had not ridden this section of NCN 4 before and I enjoyed, even the hills!

Usk Reservoir

A gentle walk today around Usk Reservoir.

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Throughout the walk there were good views of the Carmarthen Fans (The Black Mountain) and of course of the reservoir itself.

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Route

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Plenty of sightings of kites, buzzards and a lone cormorant a long way from salty water. We saw a number of anglers who from the posted notices have to abide by a long list of rules, presumably these do not apply to the cormorant. The area also welcomes cyclists and we did see a few mountain bikers.

 

 

Kennet and Avon Canal

This year I thought I would combine a bike pack with a visit to a cousin whom I haven’t seen for a long time.

I drove to Melksham where I left my car at a friend’s house and then cycled south to join the Kennet and Avon Canal and National Cycle Network 4 which I would follow to Aldermaston.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3 – reverse of Day 2

Day 4 – reverse of Day 1

The trip would be over 4 days there and back, camping for two nights and staying at my cousin’s for one night.

I intended to go sometime in June or early July. Eventually my diary and weather conditions gave me a window from 4/7/2017 to 7/7/2017. If I was being picky the weather was really too hot for the ride but at least better than a wet windy one. The total distance was about 110 miles.

My camping spot for the first and third day were spent at the Bruce Arms situated on the B3087 between Easton Royal and Littleworth. I can recommend this site but worth telephoning to ensure it is not fully booked, a probability during holiday periods. Clearly the pub is a bonus but food is not served during the week.

I found the Cycle Travel web site a useful resource and together with the OS Landranger maps 173, 174 and 175 route finding was not difficult. It is also well signposted as NCN 4.

The route is both on the canal tow path and quiet lanes through pretty villages with more thatched cottages than I had seen in such a short time. There were some hills but all manageable and short lived.

Pictures of my trip follow.

 

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Caen Locks near Devizes. (click for information)

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Vale of Pewsey

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A skillful job.

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My beast of burden.

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Crofton (click for information)

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Bruce Arms campsite

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Compare and contrast!

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Beware low hanging branches!

Bronwydd

As the “Navigator” had a hospital appointment in Carmarthen to check he was still alive, today’s walk would be fairly local.

Route

We parked in the Bronwydd village hall car park and headed downstream alongside the Afon Gwili and passing the station of the Gwili Railway.

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From here we crossed the main road and walked uphill into the countryside and turning north towards Newchurch along a very overgrown bridleway.

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Dr Livingstone I presume?

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Follow me, this is definitely the way. 

Our route turned east towards Cwmdwyfran and again alongside the Afon Gwili back to the car.

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Afon Gwili a fine grade 2 canoeing river at the right levels.

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Can you spot the “Navigator”?

 

SOLVA

This was the “scorchio” week and the decision was made to head for the coast where there  was bound to be sea breezes but it was not to be.

Route

We parked the car in Middle Mill a hamlet just up the road from Solva. From here we walked a lane to Whitchurch and then onto the old St Davids Airfield now a  SSSI.

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Our coffee break was had in a postage size piece of shadow and then via lanes and footpaths down to the coast through Trelerw.

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On reaching the coast path turned east heading for Solva.

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With lunchtime approaching we were desperate for some shade or at least a breeze. There was none of the former and despite being on a high cliff overlooking the earthworks of an old fort there was little of the latter.

Following our food break we continued into Solva and back along the lanes to our car in Middle Mill.

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