Good grief, two days without rain – so we are back out on field work. Also my neighbours’ dogs are off on holiday so I am focusing on things I can’t do with a dog in tow – eg anything involving stiles.
First up was checking the bit just north of Llanthony. I did some work on it back in December (https://cistercianway.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/visions-and-revisions/ ) and suggested that the footpath past Trevelog and Deri-duon probably wasn’t worth struggling with. The problem is that there are several deep stream valleys cutting across the path, with dangerously steep and muddy banks. There are also some heavily overgrown sections. These could be dealt with, but the steep banks need steps – which would decay and need repair and eventually replacing. Not viable in the present climate.
I then suggested that the (unwaymarked) footpath through the gate at SO 27800 29048
should lead to the path past Llwyn-on at SO 27870 28961- and it does. Go through the gate and walk along the hedge to your right
then pass below Llwyn-on, turn up to your left and keep contouring round on the same line past SO 27997 28789 and SO 28099 28639. Pass above Broadley Farm and keep on the same line past SO 28292 28423. At SO 28415 28343 cross a stile by a gate. Walk along the lower edge of the woods and ford a small stream. Cross a stile out of the woods at SO 28482 28271 and bear right across the next field, past the new barns to rejoin the road down the valley at SO 28498 28092.
I wanted to recheck it to make sure there were no more problems. It’s all well stiled and waymarked. You do have to ford several streams but even after the recent rain they are shallow and easy to cross.
Take the path below the ruins of the abbey gatehouse. After exploring the abbey, retrace your steps, turn right round the west end of the Abbey Hotel and right again to walk above the outer wall of the abbey precinct, following fingerposts and waymarks to ‘Hatterall Ridge South’. Past the abbey church, go through a gate at SO 28959 27882. Bear left across the next field and up hill to a gate in the top hedge at SO 29242 27913.
Continue on the track through the trees, bearing right across a little stream. At the top of the wood turn left through a gate
and walk along the fence to your right. At SO 29445 27887 go through the gate to your right.
Walk ahead keeping to the same contour, passing well below two ruined farmsteads.
(The whole valley was intensively settled with hundreds of farms and smallholdings until bottom fell out of British farming in the nineteenth century and most of the young men left to work in industry.) Don’t be distracted by the waymarked stile in the trees at the top left corner of the field
– it’s a difficult scramble across the stream and the track from it is overgrown. The right of way goes through the gate a little further down the hedge, at SO 29750 27537, and past another ruined barn.
Bear up to the left on a faint track
and join a clearer track which continues on the same contour line down the valley.
Go through several waymarked gates. Keep to the same line above Maes-y-beran farm
and head for the stile at SO 30180 26611.
Pass below a stand of conifers (not on the map). Continue on the same line above another stand of conifers (this one is on the map) and through a ruined farmstead at SO 30134 25823. The path continues on the same line, going gradually downhill. At SO 29928 25599, just before a stream and a belt of trees,
turn sharp right and walk downhill. Turn left to walk through the ruins of Weild,
another substantial farm which has been completely abandoned. From here the path slopes gradually down hill to SO 29533 25286, SO 29309 25090 and SO 29201 24962. At SO 29109 24794, just before the bridge, ignore the waypost pointing to Cwm-iou along the road and turn left following the signs for Darran.
That was as far as I could get today. I walked back along the road – a very new lamb in the field
and the deserted chapel at Henllan
(some of the stones in the wall look awfully like tombstones).
Back at Llanthony I was recalling T. S. Eliot’s
… hundred visions and revisions
Before the taking of a toast and tea
– and lo and behold, a sign for Treats of Llanthony (http://www.llanthonytreats.co.uk/ ), just below the road towards the river.
As well as the cafe there is a cabin, bunkhouse B&B and room for camping. Sue was supposed to be ironing towels after a busy weekend and with more guests arriving but she kindly did me a cuppa – then tea and cake for another random walker – then more tea and cake for two lads on bikes – did she ever get the ironing done, I wonder? Treats basically seems to be open whenever you want it to be, though of course Sue does have to go and do things like shopping occasionally. She says that if you are walking in the area you can always ring ahead and check – 01873 890867.
Another fine day and I should get past Cwm-iou.