Another walk for training so a fairly flat long distance one that I can do fast. Well that was the intention. I was going to do some of Kerry ridgeway and join up lots of bits that I’d done before but when I looked at the map I couldn’t help but throw a new bit in and make a 15 mile circuit. It was a beautiful and peaceful walk and one that Iam eager to do again in better weather.
Starting from the picnic site I walked westward along the ridgeway. Right, I made a mistake….. I checked the weather before I left and, in town, it was actually quite nice, muggy but ok. The forecasted rain had not materialized either so I put on my summer walking shoes and left my coat behind because it is only a pain when it gets too warm. Plus,
I only had summer in mind but of course up on the ridgeway it can be very different and it was. The ground was very, very wet – the first bit of track not too bad but extremely sheep pooey. Once on the fields the grass was sodden and the clouds above, not that far above, looked ominously drizzly. My feet got wet with in first 2 miles, I could have rung them out, well my socks at least. Talk about getting cold feet – but I decided that the worst was past and I would stride ahead. Lesson – always wear walking boots and don’t assume it is summer in summer time, when in Wales.
So anyway, taking the public access track from near the Two Tumps, a pair of bronze age round barrows (burial sites), that takes you to the source of the River Teme and round the south side of Cilfaesty Hill past High Park on to Panty Hill. The views of ‘The Ring’ from here are fantastic, on the other side of the young Teme valley but I didn't take a photo because it was spoilt by fly-tipping. Finding a lovely path then, a bit of a green lane, down to Lluest which looked like it might have once been a dwelling, all that is left now is some stone rubble and a barn but a beautiful south facing setting. It is places like this that I love to imagine what once was. It’s not necessarily the dereliction that I like but the rush of imagination and being absorbed for a few moments in a different era.
There was a stream at the bottom which I did a flying leap over and then continued up the track to a small chapel which looked like was in the middle of a conversion project into a house, possibly needing a boost of some kind. From the sharp bend in the road, where there is a lovely old red phone box, I took a lane almost directly south to meet up with Glyndwr’s way. What I really like about doing new walks is that you can look at the map and plot and plan where to go, estimate the contours and imagine the countryside but it is only when you are actually there walking it that it all takes shape; the fantastic views, the beautiful quaint old lanes, ancient trees and of course, most of the time, the only sound being the birds.
This part of Glyndrw’s way was really beautiful with views, quite misty, either side down to little hidden valleys, one of which called Crochan Dingle. The only person I saw on this whole 15 miles was a farmer where the path went through his farm. The dogs were making a racket, so much so that I hesitated about walking through the farmyard. The dogs didn’t appear but the noise was so intimidating that I didn’t trust that the dogs wouldn’t get out of where they were once they saw me. The farmer turned up on his quad and reassured me that they were in fact in a kennel.
Once in Felindre and over the River Teme I took a foot path back NW ish to the little lane up to Walk Mill. I was relieved that the path was clearly waymarked but I was just over the border into Shropshire! The paths from Walk Mill up to the Anchor I had done a few times before so I felt like I was on the home straight. When I first walked past the tumble down Walk Mill I dared to go inside and took a picture of the quaint cast iron stove, the second time I walked past there was a big dead sheep in the shed, this time it looked completely different - well on the way to being a proper dwelling.
The path turns into a track where you get really good views of Castell Bryn Amlwg, a site of a castle of the 12th and 13th centuries. So, from the Anchor up to the Kerry pole and back along the Ridgway to the picnic site. I heard a cuckoo on the way too, which always makes my day, and a kite came swooping down over me as well.
I really enjoyed this walk, bang on 15 miles, bang on 5 hours, extremely undulating (very hilly in that case), varied and outstanding countryside and I only saw (apart from passing traffic which was minimal) one person. Very peaceful! ..... (and all with wet feet)