At the weekend I stayed in Barmouth at my sister’s holiday home - Goronwy. It’s a lovely, cosy cottage with views of the sea and estuary – a really comfortable place to stay and Barmouth is full of great places to eat and shop, very up and coming. I had planned to walk the Roman Steps by the Rhinogs over the weekend so that’s where we all headed off in the Land Rover.
These steps are not Roman and are in fact the well preserved remains of a medieval packhorse trail from Chester to Harlech Castle – so very old, non the less. I’ve climbed Rhinog Fawr a long time ago, from the SW side but I’ve always wanted to go back and investigate the Roman Steps. The drive from Llanbedr to Llyn Cwm Bychan passed some fantastic scenery, some of it could have been the film set for Lord of the Rings – every rock covered completely in thick, bright green moss and fresh looking fern sprouting from moss cover trees, very damp but pretty. We braved the weather and set off from Llyn Cwm Bychan – a well signposted route up through a pretty wood, over a stone bridge and on to the start of the Roman Steps.
The views were breath taking. Even though it was cloudy, the clouds were fairly high and added to the amazing colours, making a very atmospheric picture. The path climbs up and up and you get that feeling that in minute you’re going to get an amazing view in the other direction – and we did. Just after this point we took a path to the right up to Llyn Du. This lake, although beautiful, was just below the clouds so we made the decision to go down the same way as we came up.
Coming down was slow progress, negotiating every step, literally each roman step was covered in a thin film of water possibly on the point of freezing. Some of the way was completely water logged and the steps were more like a stream. A really good bit of pure fresh air and an exhilarating hike– enjoyed by all of us, so much so we are going to come back in the summer and do a circular walk. Enjoy my photos.
Mellington Hall is a beautiful country house with Offa’s Dyke running right through its grounds and not far from the Kerry Ridgway, so a perfect starting/finishing point for a circular walk. It always amazes me how much of Offa’s Dyke remains. The Dyke, which when constructed was up to 65 feet wide (including a ditch on the Welsh side) and 8 feet high, runs between Liverpool Bay in the north and the Severn Estuary in the south – 150 miles (the Offa’s Dyke path is 176 miles long). It was ordered to be built by Offa, king of Mercia, in approx 750 AD. The ditch is on the Welsh side for added defence.
It was quite a long climb up to where the dyke intercepts the Ridgway but stopping to turn round and admire the views made it all worth it. I could see right over to Clee Hill and a clear view of Long Mountain, Cordon, Stiperstones and the Long Mynd. It was sheltered as I walked this gradual incline but once on the Ridgeway, which began as a tarmaced lane, the biting wind picked up. Offa’s Dyke continued into Shropshire while I now walked westward with Shropshire on my left and Powys on my right – this part of the Ridgeway being the county borders. The wind was really quite bitter and plenty of icy, slippery snow left on the ground. The clouds were lower looking towards the northwest so I couldn’t see the mountains that I thought I might. Once on a track, which is much more what I think of as the Ridgeway, it was so pretty, baron and quiet - except for me crunching my way in the snow, and a few sheep.
I decided that it was unlikely that I was going to find anywhere sheltered up there so I had my coffee break on my way back down. I took a bridleway down and then a byway open to all traffic (a B.O.A.T ). Because of the rapidly melting snow the ‘boat’ became a very steep, slippery gully/stream. I eventually reached a welcomed bit of tarmac for only a few yards before making my way on footpaths (some easier to find than others) across the fields (and mud), joining up with Offa’s Dyke, once more, that lead back into the grounds of Mellington. So due to the recent snow and the big, quick thaw – a muddy, slippery walk but with stunning views, beautiful scenery and of course very good fun – my photos say it all I think, have a look. It was 8 miles.
So much fun to be had today on the Bryn, a favourite place for sledging. We've been living here for three and a half years and this is the first time we've been able to use our sledges. Snow and more snow!
I went for a very exciting walk yesterday, a circular from Gregynog. The low early morning sunshine was beaming down on the front of the hall making it look even more beautiful. I visited the water garden first on my way to the footpath and then although a bit muddy, slippery and boggy I made my way across the fields and came across a couple a men working very hard renewing a foot bridge over Iethon brook. A brilliant job! Thank you Powys County Council. One of the men, as it turns out, owns Dolgadfan Farm campsite near Llanbrynmair and I shall be doing some guided walks for his campers so I’m looking forward to doing a recce in that area soon.
Then through a farm where I encountered 5 friendly dogs (who I was introduced to by name – I hope they will remember me but I’m not the best with names) and 2 friendly farmers who apologised for the mud. No apology needed, it’s the nature of the beast at this time of year. I love old green lanes and there were three stretches on this walk. There is something very nostalgic and magical about them. I soon reached the tarmaced lane that would take me up to the Fachwen Pool, passing an intriguing crop of trees on a mound - on the OS map it looks like it is Black Well (Chalybeate). I’ve looked up what chalybeate means - mineral spring containing salts of iron. I had my coffee stop at the pool. Such a picturesque location and always seems a sheltered spot. From here I took the Severn Way northward to head back round to Gregynog. The views from the Severn way were absolutely fantastic, looking towards Glog at Devil’s Elbow and up the Severn Valley towards Llandinam.
To avoid the Bwlch-y-ffridd road I joined a bridle way NE that goes across Blackhouse common where I came across an engineering master piece in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of Mid Wales – see photos. I love a bit of old machinery and the workmanship in this piece was amazing. I don’t know what its purpose would have been but I wonder when it was used last. At the end of the bridleway - views right over to The Callow near Marton and Corndon Hill. A footpath then goes into The Warren in the grounds of Gregynog and the hall soon comes in to sight.
It was certainly an undulating walk and packed full of interesting places – green lanes, beautiful little gullies, superb views and varied scenery. Enjoy my photos.