We love the winter season for walks! Crisp mornings, clear skies and maybe even a bit of snow…
Here are some of the best walks in the area suggested by local walkers.
Thanks for all your suggestions!
WALK 1: Glynmeddig
The walks vary in length from 4 to 10 miles but all have loops back to base for those not wanting a whole day hike. Glynmeddig is situated in the pretty Cilieni Valley – a tributary feeding the Usk River in the western area of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Where: From Glynmeddig Barn– a circular walk up to the Epynt Moor and back.
How far: 8 miles
What to see & do along the way:
The Epynt Mountains – The Epynt has for many years been owned by the army and the 35,000 acres that they own is the third largest army training area in the UK.
Llandeilo’r Fan – See the Church of St Teilo, which is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Maescar.
The church is a simple structure with a nave and chancel in one, and a small bell turret; the windows are Victorian and there is little diagnostic architectural detail, apart from a blocked priest’s door.
Pentrebach – is a small peaceful hamlet on the Cilieni. The recent history of the local pub (The Shoemakers Arms or, in Welsh, Tafarn Y Crydd) is anything but!
Why is it Special? This is an area that has been very rarely walked and has stunning views to the Carmarthen Fans as well as back towards the Brecon Beacons. Real ales and food are served at the locally owned Shoemaker’s Arms pub in Pentrebach and makes a good stop off with the most of the walk already done by the time it is reached. The Red Kite is a regular sight in this valley along with a wealth of other birds of prey, an occasional hare and if you are lucky an otter
WALK 2: Hay-on-Wye Circular and a Taste of Offa’s Dyke
DISTANCE : 8kms (5 miles)
START POINT : Hay on Wye Public Car Park
Hay on Wye is well known for its bookshops but is also a wonderful base for walking. This circular 5-mile walk takes you into the foothills of the Black Mountains and offers lovely views of the town and surrounding countryside – to the Central Brecon Beacons and beyond on a clear day. Follow the Offa’s Dyke Path, a long-distance path which runs for nearly 180 miles along the English-Welsh border. It follows, roughly, the line of a defensive earthwork built by King Offa in the 8th century AD. This is a National Trail and marked by the acorn symbol which you will see regularly as you follow the footpath.Cross a footbridge over a stream which runs down into the Dulas Brook which, despite it’s small size, forms the border between England and Wales.
Many of the fields are small and oddly shaped in these foothills of the Black Mountains! This pattern is a relic of medieval and early post-medieval enclosure which was characterised by small irregular fields. The mixed woodland and, where they survive, hedges of hawthorn, hazel and ash are also centuries-old features of the landscape.
WALK 3: Grwyne Fawr picnic walk, with bread and cake stop en route!
DISTANCE: 4.5 miles
Perfect with kids, or just for a nice couple of hours of fresh air, is right from the front door of our offices high up by the Grwyne Fawr Reservoir. The key feature of the walk is the reservoir itself, built over a twenty-year period at the turn of the last century; it was an enormous project in its day, employing a huge workforce. A whole village of four hundred people lived and worked at the top end of the valley throughout its construction, complete with a hospital, school and jail! Remains of the village school can be seen in the woods to your left at the start of the walk and the original foreman’s house still stands today. Drive up and through the Mynydd Du Forest, which clothes both sides of the valley with huge pine trees. Then follow the old railway line where steam trains would have hauled coal and stone to the top for the building of the dam wall. Just past the reservoir there are spectacular views of the Black Mountains. Once finished, cross the reservoir (note the signs for no abseiling, put in place after Prince Harry was caught zipping down there in his deck shoes).
WALK 4: Four Peaks from Danyfan
Length: 11.5 miles
This is a moderate but long circular walk of around five hours duration that takes in all four majestic peaks of the Brecon Beacons. Excellent views along the main ridge of the Beacons, and north to the Usk valley. The pathway now climbs steeply up the beautiful Cwm Llwch valley, with Pen y Fan and Corn Du coming into view. After crossing a stile into National Trust land a short detour can be made to take a closer look at the picturesque waterfall to the east of the route. Take care on the steep ground adjacent to the watercourse. On a clear day you will have commanding views of all the tops of the Beacons. From here it is a short distance to the broad summit plateau of Pen y Fan, at 886m the highest peak in Southern Britain.
WALK 5: The Blorenge (a walk on top of the Blorenge with wonderful views of Abergavenny and the Usk valley)
Where (from and to): From The Angel Hotel (where they could stop for Breakfast or Lunch before the walk or for tea or dinner after the walk) to the top of The Blorenge
How far: Approx. 1½ miles (2.5km), 50 metres of ascent, 1 hour
What to see/do along the way:
· The River Usk – you should be able to trace the path of the river as it meanders through the valley
· The Town Hall with its distinctive weathered copper roof
· The Castle ruins a short distance from the town hall
· The Sugar Loaf mountain, north of the Blorenge, the highest mountain around Abergavenny. It has three spurs running off it, Llanwenarth Breast, the Rholben and the Deri (from left to right).
· The Skirrid Fawr mountain, to the right of the Sugar Loaf. Historically considered a holy mountain, there is a rich mythology attached to this mountain. Its distinctive shape comprises a long with a jagged western side resulting from ice age landslips.
· On a fine day, you’ll see the central Brecon Beacons to the north-west, and the Malvern hills to the north-east.
· Look out for the Foxhunter memorial as you leave the car park. The Foxhunter car park is named after the horse Foxhunter, which was ridden by Sir Harry Llewellyn when he won gold in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. The remains of the horse are buried near the car park, with a small memorial dedicated to him. Sir Harry Llewellyn died at the age of 88 in November 1999, at his home in Abergavenny. His ashes were scattered over the Blorenge mountain.
Difficulty level: Easy
Why it’s special: You are rewarded with one of the best views in the area – a bird’s eye view of Abergavenny nestling in the beautiful valley
WALK 6: Where (from and to): ‘The Swan Walk’ From The Bell Skenfrith circular
How far: 6 ¼ miles
What to see/do along the way: St Maughans Church, pst the SWHP Horse Sanctuary, along the River Monnow, Cider tasting at Apple County Cider at Whitehouse Farm, along orchards, Skenfrith Castle, Skenfrith Village and St Bridgets church
Difficulty level: Moderate – two climbs one of 330ft (100m) and one of 440ft (135m)
Why it’s special: Stunning countryside looking down the Monnow Valley and see the river and castle with two ancient churches.