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