This weeks Walk Wednesday is by David Meacham from Pickled Egg Design & Photography who is from Talgarth.
DISTANCE – 8 KM
HEIGHT GAIN – 60m approx
MAP – OS Explorer OL13
START POINT – Talgarth Main Car Park
GRID REFERENCE – SO 15318 33721
“It’s a circular walk to the east of Talgarth in Mid-Wales with a small dog and a Talgarth ski-pole (an ancient thumb stick which belonged to my late Uncle Ed – a sheep farmer).
First let’s introduce Mili then we’ll get on to the walk!
Mili is a rescue dog, she knows all there is to know about everything but can’t tell us. She spent months in a cage until she was rescued by Brecon Dog Rescue and re-homed with us. We hope she’s happy.
P.S. She doesn’t understand every word we say – she’s a dog.
Brecon Dog Rescue (Wales) has a Facebook page; please visit and give your support if you can
The Waddle (or walk to the rest of us) Approx 8 kilometers and even more approximately, given my grasp of mathematics, 5 miles
Some parts of this walk are quite tricky so not advisable for pushchairs, toddlers etc unless you’re willing to carry them.
This route starts from the free (yes really) car park at the edge of Talgarth Town Centre just off the roundabout on the Talgarth Relief Road.
Powys has one of the lowest crime rates in the UK and we’d really love to keep it that way so please lock your car and put all your valuables in your pocket or at least out of sight in the boot.
Head out of the car park and follow the sign for the town centre along High Street. Pass a butchers, newsagent and a pharmacy and go over the bridge crossing the River Ennig.
You will see Melin Talgarth Mill on your right and most likely catch the smell of fresh bread wafting on the breeze – probably best to resist this tempting aroma until you return.
If you need anything for your waddle, like a bag of crisps or an apple there is a small supermarket (bit of an oxymoron but you know what I mean) on the opposite side of the square.
Next to the mill are public toilets and the town hall.
Talgarth Town Hall
To the left of the town hall with its splendid clock take the small road (The Bank) heading up hill past a hairdresser’s.
Stay on this road passing St Gwendoline’s Church.
The road forks – left to Park Woods and straight on for Llanileu Church. Mili and co would prefer the wood for obvious reasons and will be disappointed as you follow the Llanileu road which dips down past a small bungalow with a Red Telephone box and some old railway signs in the garden, then starts climbing up towards the rear of the old Mid-Wales Hospital – closed now and awaiting demolition.
At the top of the hill the road bears around to the left. On your left is a farm and just past it, on your right you will see an obvious track heading up the hill.
Do the obvious and go through the old gate; a bit rickety so some Scout style knot work might be needed.
There’s a patch of weed here that Mili and her ilk find fascinating and like to rub themselves on – they think it’s attractive enough stuff to put on all four wrists to go to town on a Saturday night. Humans tend to disagree and say things like ‘Phwoar you stinking hound’ and ‘bath when you get home’.
Once your dog has sampled this fragrance head up the track.
It pays to turn and look back as you head up the lane as you may be lucky enough to see the shepherd training Sheepdogs in the field at the bottom of the hill; a good excuse to pause a while and breath in the fresh Powys oxygen as you hear his shouts of lie down and come-by.
Near the top of this track is another track heading off to the right. If you want to see a stunning view trudge up this short diversion right to the top of the hill.
From here, on any reasonable day, you can see the Black Mountains, Castell Dinas (an Iron Age hill fort), Mynydd Troed (site of one of the recent Jubilee Beacons) and further off in the distance the Brecon Beacons.
Mynydd Troed – complete with its Beacon
It’s also a great spot to see Red Kites floating on the breeze and you may also see Sparrow Hawks but probably not that many Sparrows. Stay a while and you’ll see larger birds being towed up from Black Mountain’s Gliding Club and the tow being dropped as the glider pilot puts his faith in the thermal currents rising from the mountains.
There’s also some fantastic Horse Chestnut Trees that are big enough to satisfy any conkering hero.
Once you’ve recovered from the shock of seeing such beauty and maybe had a munch on your sandwiches descend back to the fork in the track and we’ll get back on with the walking.
Are you paying attention?
Right; now go along the track until you come to a gate – pass through it, or over it if you’re that sprightly, and follow the clear track up the side of the slope until you come to a stile.
Many stiles in the Powys area have flap affairs that allow Mili and friends a dignified method of negotiating them. Unfortunately, apart from a few in Park Woods, this stile style hasn’t caught on in the Black Mountains so you may have to risk getting your North Face jacket a bit smelly and lift the dog over.
Follow the direction of the way marker across the field until you come to another stile – lots of nettles here, not good if you’re wearing shorts, so give them a bash with your stick. If nothing else this lets landowners know the right of way is being used and keeps them on their toes.
Cross straight over two fields and yet more stiles until you come to one with a way-marker pointing sharply right.
You are now in a farm yard and on your right you’ll see a direction sign on one of the farm buildings points to ‘Pwll-y-Wrach’ which is where we’re headed.
The sign, probably put there by the farmer when he got fed up with giving directions, points to a half sized five bar gate and leads you to a stony track (very stony, many of them loose) heading down hill in to the Cwm Pwll-y-Wrach or in English Witches’ Pool Valley.
At the bottom of the track you will need to waddle through a small stream – not a problem if you’ve got a decent pair of boots on. If not you can always take your footwear off and have a paddle. (go on you know you want to). Also a good chance for the Mili’s of this world to top up the doggyhydration.
Once you’ve played in and/or crossed the stream, head down the wooded path to the right of the hedge that faces you (sounds odd but you’ll see what I mean) and through the gate.
This leads you down a path, sheltered on either side by trees, which can get very boggy so you may need to dodge in and out of the undergrowth to keep your boots clean.
This path leads you down the side of a steep hill to a gate and by now you may be relieved to see it leads to a road.
Turn right and head down the road (if you’re following the flow of the stream you’re going the right way).
The River Ennig which flows down Cwm Pwll-y-wrach
As you head down the road, past a house with yet another red phone box, filled with tourist info leaflets and adorned with Welsh Dragons, you will see a sign and a stile for Pwll-y-Wrach waterfall and nature reserve.
You have the choice here – you can either continue on down the tarmac which will bring you back to Talgarth and that bread you smelled on the way up or you can head in to the woods and see the Witches’ Pool and the waterfall that feeds it.
Once you’ve seen the brilliant waterfall and wondered if skinny dipping is an option (you know you were thinking it) follow the track through the woods which will eventually bring you out on to the road leading back to town. Keep an eye out for the information board which gives you a brief synopsis of the work that Brecknock Wildlife Trust is doing in the woods.
Choice of cafes, pubs etc, all of them good, in Talgarth if you want to have a bite and it might be worth taking a tour of Melin Talgarth Mill (not open on Mondays).
Opposite the mill is the Talgarth Information and Rescource Centre – the staff there, all volunteers, will be happy to tell you about more walks you can do and lots of other attractions and places to visit in the area.
Meanwhile Mili is heading for her bath….
Talgarth is one of the first towns in Wales to be granted Walkers are Welcome status so hopefully this will lead to a huge improvement in stiles, way marking and signposting in the near future.”
Some useful links: