Walk Wednesday: Gospel Pass in the Black Mountains

This weeks Walk Wednesday is a brief insight to the much-loved walk, around gospel pass.

Gospel Pass is an ancient road that follows a high pass, over the steep valley of the Vale of Ewyas.
The Vale of Ewyas is a secluded valley where the river (Afon) Honddu passes through.  It is situated in the Black mountains, and runs through some areas of utter beauty as well as some historic sites, including the ancient Llanthony Priory.

It is thought Ewyas Valley was named after a small kingdom, which grew after the Roman withdrawal from Britain.  The name of Gospel Pass is believed, although, reputed to have been named after the 12th century third Crusade, which passed through the area preaching and trying to raise funds for the expedition.

The Gospel Pass road goes from Hay-on-Wye to a height of 538m above sea level, between Twmpa on the west and Hay Bluff east.  It is also a historic route that has linked Hay-on-Wye and Abergavenny over the centuries.
Lots of history surrounds Gospel Pass, dating back to the Romans and Normans and in more modern literature it was publicised in Kilvert’s Diary and Bruce Chatwin’s book “On the Black Hill”.

How to Get There:

It is a very memorable journey through some incredible mountain backdrops and breath taking scenery.  Expect to see wild horses grazing on the road and sheep carelessly wondering around.

Take a left hand turn just past the Swan Inn in Hay signed Capel y Ffin. Continue up the road for several miles as it climbs, and at a fork keep right to Capel y Ffin and Llanthony Priory. Continue on past Hay Bluff to the small car park on the left hand side of the road at the Gospel Pass.
Ordnance survey Grid Reference: Exp Map 188 SO 235352

The Walk:

The walk takes you up a steep ascents and descents with magnificent views across the Black Mountains on a clear day. Start from Gospel Pass car park, then go over Darren Lwyd and steeply down to Capel y Ffin, up to Rhos Dirion and over Twmpa (Lord Hereford’s knob).  Follow the path around and do a circular walk back to the carpark.  You can see Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottage, Cae Marchog below with its magnificent stonework.  You can follow this road all the way back to the car park.

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