Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Baskerville Hall to The Roundabout, The Begwns - Wales 1 June 2018

Baskerville Hall to The Roundabout
The Begwns
Distance 17.4km Climb 390m
Friday 1 June 2018

We had no events planned for today at the Hay Book Festival, and as Our
David had returned home, we decided to go for a walk. The sun was shinning and it was warm but because of the previous days where we had had rain, we decided to still take our coats. Leaving the Baskerville Hall Hotel campsite, we walked up to the Hotel and started walking north east down the drive. We could see the park and ride filling up. 

Today I was keen to see if I could spot any of the natural signs I had heard about during the two Tristan Gooley The Natural Navigator events I had attended the previous day. One had been a walk in the morning and I was very lucky to get a ticket. The other had been a talk in the afternoon. If you would like more information on Tristan then please follow the link above.  

At the Baskerville Hall Hotel gates we turned left onto the A438 walking slightly north east further into Clyro.

From the A438 we took the second left turning towards the Church in the centre of Clyro Village.

At the church of St Michaels we took the left fork towards Painscastle.

Heading almost north, after a hundred meters the road bends towards the north west. It is a gentle climb out of Clyro and we took care once the pavement ran out and stood into the side when ever a car passed. A little further up the road just as it levels it bends further west. After about 2km we reached the track for Lower Cwmgwannon.

Continuing along the track, we were looking for a footpath that runs on the left hand side. Much like Tuesday we could not find it so walked up the track until we reached a gate. Entering through the gate we saw what was left of the footpath, very much overgrown going down hill to our left. We were going up to the right so followed the grass track up hill. The footpath we were looking for entered a field of angry looking sheep that ran downhill towards us. Not the usual docile sheep that tend to run away, so we continued into the next field where we saw this strange pile of stones.

All the way along I had been looking and trying to identify things that Tristan had pointed out the day before. Trying to look at things differently I had noticed the base stone had no lichen on it, indicating to me that it had fairly recently been placed there. With the other stones which had had more exposure to the elements being placed on top. In the sheep field we could see a big hole had been excavated, so it may have been where the large base stone had come from and the land owner was trying to turn it into a feature.

Walking to the top of the field we saw a red kite flying in its spiral upwards just in front of us. On reaching the top of the field we turned right and crossed into the sheep field to re-join the footpath. Fortunately the sheep all stayed at the bottom of the field.

Leaving the sheep field by the footpath gate we continued up the track.

Walking up the side of the wood we could still see the red kite rising up to our left. At the top of the track at a junction, there were no footpath signs so we took the track to the left that bypassed Lower Cwmgwannon. 

This led up and round to the right, passing a building to our left the track dropped down towards another building covered in security cameras. Here the track turned almost 90 degrees to the left and levelled off. Along here a dog barked and snapped at us as we walked by. Continuing west we passed a horse barn and paddock down on our right. Going through a gate the track turned into a grass path.

After a couple of gates we reached Upper Cwmgwannon. I could see from the map the footpath went around the northern side of the buildings. Looking for natural signs I thought the tall buttercups indicates to me that the ground was usually wet. The further we moved through them I could hear running water down to our right as we move across over to the high ground.

Up on the rise I thought we were on what I would say was a very old path. I thought it looked as thought the path had been worn down rather than the sides being built up.

At the top of the old path there was a gate that led us into a meadow. The grass was almost waist high, the map shows the footpath goes straight across, but there were no signs of anyone walking across here for some time, so we tried to keep to the edges as best we could. Another couple of gates and we reached the road. Turning right and once over the cattle gate we were on The Begwns, where we had a short rest.

It was lovely up here and the sun was shinning. As we moved across The Begwns the views opened up all around us.

As we twisted and turned along the grass paths I was using my shadow and the height of the sun, identifying where south/north was in relation to the direction we were walking. We were still walking roughly east to west so my shadow was mainly over my right shoulder.

I noticed a couple of other features Tristan had pointed out. One was the wedge effect. Unfortunately I did not get a photo and there was only two young trees. One was the shelter for the other. The one on the wind side, south west, was shorter and not so bushy as its neighbour.

Another thing was the tick effect. I thought this tree was an example of the tick effect but looking closer and thinking about it, I was wrong as everything was in reverse? On checking Tristan's book this is the wind tunnel effect. I am still learning.

A couple of rises later and we dropped down to cross a road.

Over the road and it was a short climb up to The Roundabout and The Begwns Trig Point at 414m.

Checking The Roundabout out when I got home. Google shows this once belonged to the De Winton family, a name I came across on my Tuesday walk. The De Winton's passed the land to the National Trust.

Google also shows the wall was build to protect the trees and was built for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Being rebuilt and repaired for the Millennium in 2000, along with the circular seat. Steve my friend told me that he had heard it was the site of the last battle against dragons. Other than the scorched earth in the photo below, I could not find anything to confirm or deny this, a good story though.

It was very warm and sheltered in the circle.

Looking to our south east we could see towards Hay Bluff and Lord Hereford's Knob. After a short rest, enjoying the views we set off returning to Baskerville Hall. It looked briefly like rain clouds were gathering to the east. But they did not amount to anything.

We soon returned to the edge of the Begwns.

Another short rest and it was all mainly downhill from here. Across the fields down the ancient path to Upper Cwmgwannon. Along the grass track, passed the paddock, the noisy snappy dog and the house with lots of security cameras. Then the last short climb around Lower Cwmgwannon.

Continuing down, we stayed on the track rather than cross the sheep field to re-join the road. It did not take us long to walk the couple of km into Clyro. Passed St Michaels Church where we noticed the name on the War Memorial, Ralph Horton Baskerville.

Instead of returning to the campsite, we turned left and walked further into the village, seeking refreshment at the Baskerville Arms. This was where we met this interesting chap. Notices show that he used to be on a wall outside where he used to scare young children on their way to school, many years ago. Before being knocked off. Another notice shows he was found while doing work on an extension and was brought inside. It was thought that he was Roman but the notice show experts have since identified him as pre-Roman possibly early Britain or possibly Danish extraction. All very interesting.

After our refreshment we left the Baskerville Arms and crossed the road, passing Ashbrooke House where Reverend Francis Kilvert lived and wrote his diaries. These are seen as an important social history record of the time.

Returning back along the road to St Michaels, we turned left then right onto the A438. After a few hundred meters we turned right and walked back up the drive to the campsite.

A little more refreshment before retiring to the bar. It had been a great day. We had covered 17.4km with a 390m climb.

We always enjoy our stay at  the Baskerville Hall Hotel campsite. and are already planning a return next year if not before.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to my previous walk from Baskerville Hall, Baskerville Hall to The Hay Book Festival via Glasbury.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Baskerville Hall to The Hay Book Festival via Glasbury, Hay-on-Wye - Wales 29 May 2018

Baskerville Hall to The Hay Book Festival via Glasbury
Distance 22.8km Climb 390m
Tuesday 29 May 2018

As an alternative to yesterday's walk I decided today I would walk to The Hay Book Festival via the other bridge across the Wye at Glasbury.

Leaving Anne and David at the Baskerville Hall Hotel campsite, we arranged to meet up later at the Festival Site. However due to few things on the way, timings slipped a little. As you will see if you read on.

I left the campsite passing the front of the House. 

I must add a NOTE here. Just before I posted this walk I was checking it out when I noticed in this photo a sentinel bird. On the Thursday following this walk I was fortunate to obtain a ticket to join Tristan Gooley on his walking event as part of the Hay Book Festival. A sentinel bird was just one of the many interesting features Tristan pointed out in just a short time. Just to point out, it is not the carved bird on the right but what looks like a crow at the very top of the tree. If you would like more information on Tristan, The Natural Navigator then please follow the link.

Walking around the House and up the steps I had walked with Anne yesterday into the edge of Cwmsirhwy Wood. Not a squirrel was in sight today. Instead of turning left in the Wood as we had yesterday, today I walked further up the rise slightly to the right and found the headstones for the Hounds of the House. These were dated over a number of years from what looks like 1898 to one marked 2007.

Leaving the headstones I continued uphill westwards.

I was heading for the far western corner of the wood where my map shows I would find a footpath. It took me longer than I thought, crashing through the trees, up and down, slipping, sliding. Eventually I found the fence near Cwm-Sirhy.

It was very warm, but the sky was overcast as it had been the previous few days and the threat of rain was never very far away.

Once over the fence it took me a little while to join the footpath I was looking for. I was now heading towards a farm called Hendom.

I had my route planned before leaving the tent, but when I was out on the ground I had a little dither. Should I stick to my plan or change the route, more time wasted. I made the decision to stick with my plan and turned right, north west up the road before turning left, south west onto a footpath that ran beside hedgerows on the edge of fields, across fields to Pen-y-lan.

I should say in many places the footpath signs did not exist, so at times I was unsure if I was on a correct footpath.

From Pen-y-lan I continued west by a hedge into a field that ran downhill. It was very painful walking across this field. It was full of nettles, thistles, bracken and dog roses all about waist height. I had came out wearing shorts, I could not go on I had to leave the field. I made my way to cross a style on the north edge. Walking outside along the northern edge of the field I crossed back into it further down the hill near a stream.

Across the stream, the place where a fence crossing should have been was now a new fence and the post showing it as a footpath was lying on the ground. So I jumped the fence. I was starting to get the idea walkers were not welcome.

After a short rise I started to head towards Dolybongham, again no footpath signs. My map shows the footpath runs to the south of the building so that was were I headed.

Passed the buildings I saw a footpath sign. I crossed the style and turned left onto a narrow road that headed south westerly.

At the T junction at the end of the road I turned right, passing Moity Farm.

A little further up the road I saw this interesting little building. It is the New Zion Chapel for Primitive Methodists.

A little passed the Chapel I took the footpath on my left. Can you spot the footpath sign?

This led to a narrow stream.

The footbridge had moved slightly down stream. Across the stream a little further right than where the end of the footbridge is, there was a style into a field. I was now heading towards Gaer.

The footpath leads into the north of the farm. Turning left, south down a road passed the buildings a footpath sign and style on my right led me into another field. Walking slightly down hill, I disturbed what may have been a red kite. It swooped low to the ground and up into the trees that were down to my left. It was much too fast for me to take a picture, and it was too fast for me to try and identify it properly.

After crossing more fields the footpath turns left towards the wood, then drops downhill round the end of the wood. The footpath continues over a narrow footbridge before climbing away from the wood.

From the top of the rise I could see Ffynnon Gynydd in front of me. Only a couple of fields to cross! only a couple of fields with cows in them to cross. Curious cows don't normally bother me but these seemed to be a little more on edge.

I got across the first field, the cows there just stood and looked at me. As I entered the second field the cows there came charging towards me as I started crossing the field. They did not look inquisitive, they looked angry and upset. So rather than go on I back tracked to the hedge and keeping an eye on the cows I followed the hedge around the south end of the field. Fortunately they did not follow me.

Safely on the other side and out of the field I turned left onto the road and walked to the junction. It was time to check my phone for Geocaches. One was very close to the Walter Fenwick de Winton memorial.

Crossing the road and following a footpath sign over a style I was now heading south on a grass path across Ffynnon Gynydd Common. On my way across the common I picked up another Geocache.

The views were spectacular from here, still misty on the hills in the distance. Another Geocache near here.

I continued down hill south onto the road and picked up another Geocache. As the road reached the junction I collected yet another Geocache. Some very good caches.

I turned left at the junction turning south east. After a few meters I passed All Saints Church, this was the B4350.

The B4350 led me into Glasbury. On the War Memorial I saw the name Walter de Winton. I have had a quick look on the Google I suspect he may be related in someway to Walter Fenwick de Winton who's memorial I passed earlier, but unfortunately I could not find a connection.

I picked up my last Geocache of the day near Glasbury Bridge before crossing over to the south.

Over the bridge I was now pushed for time, so there was no time to waste. No easy or pleasant way to go so I just walked along the busy B4350 heading east as fast as I could.

I was tricky and slow as I was stopping every few meters to stand into the hedge as cars flew passed. Not to worry all done now.

I reached the entrance of the Hay Book Festival, late.

I found out Anne and David had walked into Hay, so I followed and we eventually met up. After a short break for refreshments we headed back to the Festival site and a talk we had tickets for. On arrival at the Festival site we had one of the famous ice-creams.

Even though my legs were stinging due to nettles, thistles and dog roses. I had covered 22.8km with a 390m climb. Found 6 out of 6 Geocaches. The rain that had threaten for part of the day had cleared, and it had been a good day for walking.

After the talk we took the bus back to Baskerville Hall Hotel campsite, where we almost ran down the road to the bar and I think was a well deserved drink.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to my previous walk Baskerville Hall to The Hay Book Festival 28 May 2018.
Follow link to my next walk Baskerville Hall to The Roundabout, The Begwns 1 June 2018