Photo: The Garden Visiting Group
by Jane Malvern

Walking Group

Group Leader: Elsa Harflett - elsa@u3a-llandrindod.org.uk   or phone 01597 860894.

Walks are on the 4th Monday of the month.

Walkers meet at the Lake, Llandrindod Wells at 10:00am to car share to the start of walks, which are approximately 4 miles long and are taken at a pace to suit the group

Please wear appropriate footwear and clothing.

At the end of the walk we usually go to a local pub for lunch.

New Walkers are welcome.

 

Programme of Walks for 2019

January 28th - Llanbadarn Fynydd area, led by Bill Jameson. The walk follows a section of Owain Glyndŵr's Way before cutting though farmland back to the village. We will experience some beautiful views along the walk. Lunch will be at the Lion Hotel, Llanbister.

February 25th - Llysdinam area above Newbridge-on-Wye. Once again we will explore the hills, looking towards Cwm Chwefre on one side and Llanwrthwl on the other.

Stephen Ashley will meet walkers at the Llandrindod Lake at 10:00am, and escort them to Newbridge-on-Wye. We will then meet at the car park opposite the New Inn in Newbridge between 10:10 and 10:15, to share cars up to the start of the walk at the top of the hill. I have negotiated with the New Inn, who will allow some of us to park cars at the far end of their car park (not in front of the pub) if there is not enough room in the village car park.

March 25th - Gilfach Nature Reserve.

April 22nd (Easter Monday) OR 29th (to be decided by the group nearer the time) - Happy Valley near Cefnllys, Llandrindod. Will we be too early for the bluebells?

May 27th - Whimble Hill, New Radnor and more spectacular views. Lunch will be at the Fforest Inn, Llanfihangel-nant-Melan.

June 24th - Llanwrtyd Wells: a circular walk in the hills around the town. Lunch will be at the Neuadd Arms, Llanwrtyd Wells.

July 22nd - A circular walk to Howey, beginning and ending at the Old Parish Church, Llandrindod. Lunch at Llandrindod Golf Club.

August 26th - Rhulen and Llanbedr hills, near Painscastle. Lunch will probably be at the Hundred House Inn.

September 23rd - Elan Valley. Starting at Penbont Car Park, a circular walk in the hills returning via Pen-y-Garreg Farm. The walk is steep in places, but we will take our time, and providing the visibility is good, the views are spectacular. Lunch will be at the Eagles Inn in Rhayader.

October 28th - Builth area. The walk will be led by Pat Borland. Meet as usual at 10.00 am at the Lake, then Joan Annetts will lead the group to the starting point in Builth.

November 25th - Nantglas area. We will head up the slopes of Caerhyddwen above the Stone Quarry near the A 470. Along the way we will look across to the trig point at the Druid's Circle near Carn Wen.

December - no walk.

 

Programme of Walks for 2020

January 27th - Elan Valley. Starting from Dolyfallon Bridge, this is an easy circular walk along quiet lanes to the Elan Village and Visitor Centre, and back along the cycle path.

 

September walk - Elan Valley

Starting at Penbont Car Park in the Elan Valley, we headed up into the hills towards Bwlch Croesnewydd.

Here is the group roughly halfway along the track, with Penygarreg Reservoir in the background.

Photo by Elsa Harflett

At the top of the track. Behind the group the hills stretch out towards Dolfor and Newtown. Circling around we crossed the head of the Nant y Blymbren Valley, making our way towards Crugyn Ci, then we turned round and followed the track along the other side of the valley, down to Penygarreg Farm.

Photo by Elsa Harflett

Here we found the local farmers gathered together, hand-shearing the sheep. In the foreground is Dean Addison of Penygarreg Farm. We stopped for a while to watch and photograph the shearing. Brian Lewis of Troedrhiwdraen Farm, the other side of Penygarreg Reservoir, was having a tea break, so he was able to give us a most interesting commentary before we tore ourselves away and headed back to Penbont.

Photo by Elsa Harflett

On our way we passed a shady pool by the side of the track...

Photo by Elsa Harflett

...and some small waterfalls in the woods.

Photo by Elsa Harflett

 

August walk - Llanbedr and Rhulen Hills.

We parked our cars on Llanbedr Hill, and as we started the walk a group of wild ponies loomed up out of the thick mist. Sadly they were too indistinct to photograph. We headed across the grouse moors towards Red Hill, at that time unable to look down to Rhulen Church in the valley below due to the fog. We then circled around to follow the track back along the ridge of Llanbedr Hill towards Gareg Lwyd and Craig y Fudal.

Photo by Elsa Harflett

At last the mist began to lift and the sun started to peep through. To our left it was still too misty to make out the Brecon Beacons, though some of us had seen them from the track on a previous occasion. As we walked we could see Rhulen Hill to our right, with the blue skies reflected in the waters of Mawn Pool a little distance away. Further down the track we could see the Roundabout (the highest point of the Begwns) in the distance on our left. Reaching a crossroads we turned back along a lower track which would take us back to the cars, passing the charmingly named 'Dancing Ground' before skirting around the Mawn Pool.

Photo by Elsa Harflett

By this time the sun was a deep blue, and the sun was blazing down. Here is the group on the lower slopes of Rhulen Hill, with the inevitable sheep making their way through the deep purple heather and the dark green bracken.

Photo by Elsa Harflett

Here, a group of hawthorn trees provides some shade for the sheep, with Red Hill in the distance.

Photo by Elsa Harflett

Back to the parking area, with Rhulen Hill in the background. At last, with clear skies, we were able to look down at Rhulen Church, and the farmsteads nestled in the valley, the beautiful views of the other side of the valley, and right across the rolling hills towards the Epynt in the distance.

 

July walk - Howey.

Starting from the Old Parish Church near the Llandrindod Golf Course, we headed downhill across grassy tracks towards Howey (photo 1). Once in Howey we cut across the fields (photo 2) towards the Hundred House Road, startling a group of Canada Geese into flight as we approached (photo 3). At one point we encountered a stile leading into the garden of a farm. This caused much amusement from the group as everyone tried to cross the stile in style. Jackie concentrating hard (photo 4), then Chris with a forward leg movement (photo 5), followed by Llewelyn, who needed a little help from his friends (photo 6), Barbara, who showed great flair (photo 7), and finally Meg, the most stylish of all (photo 8). Leaving Howey, we entered a field which Julian told us contained an ancient earthwork enclosure (known as Caer Du) in one corner. We tracked across the field and climbed onto the embankment, before continuing our walk back up the hill. We encountered yet another stile on our way towards Pentrosfa Mire. Photo 9 shows Paul tackling the top bar, closely followed by Bill, while Julian cradles Tilly who had also needed some assistance (photo 10).

Photo 1 by Elsa Harflett

Photo 2 by Elsa Harflett

Photo 3 by Elsa Harflett

Photo 4 by Elsa Harflett

Photo 5 by Elsa Harflett

Photo 6 by Elsa Harflett

Photo 7 by Elsa Harflett

Photo 8 by Elsa Harflett

Photo 9 by Elsa Harflett

Photo 10 by Elsa Harflett

Photo 11, an aerial photograph of the earthwork enclosure taken by Julian Ravest.

 

We altered the route (and time) of the Llanwrtyd walk because the weather forecast predicted storms in the morning, and we guessed that the original route would probably be very muddy after the torrential rain over the weekend. Instead, we met for lunch at the Neuadd Arms, then walked in the afternoon. The sun came out just as we set out and we had blue skies and sunshine for our entire walk. We walked towards Victoria Wells, then branched up through the woods onto the track just below Spion Kop. This eventually led to the old church of St David which we explored (photo 1). We then made our way back to Llanwrtyd, following the River Irfon through the Park.

Photo by Elsa Harflett

Photo by Elsa Harflett

Photo by Kathryn Hunt

 

In May the group walked around the Whimble Hill above New Radnor, enjoying views across the Walton Basin towards Hergest Ridge and Stannah Rocks on the way up, and Water Break its Neck, Harley Dingle and Haine's Mill as we returned. Although cloudy at times, and with some blustery winds as we reached the highest point of the walk, we were also blessed by several sunny spells. Everyone enjoyed the walk.

 Photo by Elsa Harflett

 Photo by Meg Lewis

 

Our April walk was on Easter Monday, with just six of us enjoying the sunshine. Starting at Shaky Bridge we walked through Happy Valley where the bluebells were just beginning to flower - a pale blue haze amongst the trees. We continued up the hill and skirted the Careg-wiber Bank, past the pools near Bwlchyfedwen, which were teaming with waders, ducks and geese. Then we made our way down through farm tracks to Cwmbrith and back along the lane to Shaky Bridge. Along the way we passed flocks of sheep with their lambs, and viewed the magnificent Cefnllys Castle Bank across fields of celandines.

 Bluebells were just a blue haze.  Photo by Elsa Harflett

 On the way up towards the Careg-wiber Bank.  Photo by Elsa Harflett

 On the way up towards the Careg-wiber Bank.  Photo by Elsa Harflett

 One of the pools near Bwlchyfedwen.   Photo by Elsa Harflett

 Twin lambs near the Castle Bank.  Photo by Elsa Harflett

 Looking across a field of celandines towards the Ithon River and Cefnllys Castle Bank.  Photo by Elsa Harflett

 

For their March walk, the group walked at the Gilfach Nature Reserve near Rhayader.

On the Monk's Trod. Back row L-R: Julian, Terry, Baz, Pat and Bill; seated L-R: Meg, Stephen, Helen with Rhubarb, Jackie and Jill   Photo by Elsa Harflett

On the Monk's Trod.   Jill, Bill, Pat, Elsa, Baz, Terry, Helen and Rhubarb, Meg, Jackie and Julian Photo by Stephen Ashley

Walking back to the Old Farmyard from the Oak Woodland  Photo by Julian Ravest

By the Salmon Leap Waterfall: Pat, Helen (Rhubarb), Meg and Stephen with Jackie behind, Elsa, Terry, Bill and Baz  Photo by Julian Ravest

 

Once again the Walking Group was blessed with glorious sunshine and warm weather, for our February walk in the hills above Llysdinam. As we climbed up to the heights, with blue skies all around us, we looked across the Wye Valley which was still shrouded in mist. Further on in a different direction, we could see the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains in the distance. For the naturalists among us, we were delighted to see a yellowhammer, meadow pipits and skylarks displaying (and singing), great tits, red kites, buzzards and ravens, several horses and ponies, as well as the inevitable sheep. We also saw many signs of spring, with snowdrops, crocuses and masses of catkins. For those interested in landscape history there were several cairns and other historical features to be seen, one of which may have been either a prehistoric ringwork or a medieval motte and bailey - more research needs to be done! We rounded off our walk with lunch at the New Inn in Newbridge-on-Wye.

The group on the hills above Llysdinam.  Photo by Julian Ravest

The view across the Wye Valley which was shrouded in mist.  Photo by Julian Ravest

Stephen on gate duty.  Photo by Elsa Harflett

Homeward bound in the valley looking towards Craigol-isaf.  Photo by Julian Ravest

 

In January, the group walked from Llanbadarn Fynydd, along Glyndŵr's Way. Once again we were blessed by sunshine and blue skies!

Left to right: Bill, Chris V, Chris C, Kathryn, Paul, Jackie, Meg, Julian, Jenny, Stephen, Val and Roy.  Photo by Elsa Harflett

Some of the group along the way.  Photo by Elsa Harflett

Admiring the panoramic views surrounding us.  Photo by Elsa Harflett

The Hill Fort of Castell Tinboeth across the Ithon Valley.   Photo by Elsa Harflett

One of the many little patches of snowdrops we passed along the walk.  Photo by Elsa Harflett

 

More photos and information about the group's activities are available on the Walking Group's archive pages: