Weekend in Wales and the Teifi Pools   12 comments

September is the ideal month to visit my parent’s caravan in mid-Wales for an easy weekend away. It’s only about 90 minutes away and regardless of the weather it’s a great way to chill out. There are no household chores to do and no pressure to do anything else. If the weather is good there are loads of great things to do and see and plenty of walks. If the weather isn’t so good then we just potter on the beach, have a lie in a generally take it easy.

Nant Egnant

Nant Egnant

We took one of these weekends in mid-September and on the Saturday the weather was dry but cloudy and I decided to take a look at the Teifi Pools area just out to the east. I’ve had this walk in mind for a couple of years as it’s in a couple of my walking guides.

6.5 miles, 1,200 feet of ascent

I was also inspired by a write up by James Boulter over at Backpackingbongos and the area looked wild and untamed despite being so close to civilisation. I figured it would introduce the kids to a small area of wild upland without being too crowded.

Nant Egnant

Nant Egnant

We parked up in a tiny space at the end of the road up from Strata Florida Abbey. The walk takes you up through the Nant Egnant Valley and it’s gorgeous, a small stream tumbling over a succession of small falls with Red Kites and Buzzards overhead to keep us company.

Nant Egnant

Nant Egnant

As the path climbs the way becomes more moorland in nature, soggier underfoot with views across to grassy hills that must rarely see a walker’s footprint. We stopped for lunch on the grass and it really felt as if were completely alone in the hills.

Nant Egnant

Lunch in upper Nant Egnant

A sense of space and solitude that these rolling hills of mid-Wales supply in great quantities. What they lack in dramatic crags and peaks they more than make up for in open space and wilderness. I’m entranced by these hills although I’m not so sure the rest of the family share the passion (probably just as well I didn’t indulge my passion to explore the small rocky knolls that smother the highest areas, going off-piste round here would mean wet feet!)

Nant Egnant

Nant Egnant

The path wanders across some squelchy moorland until you suddenly come across the dam for Llyn Egnant, one of the larger of the lakes and water board reservoirs that dot this upland plateau.

Llyn Egnant

D approaches Llyn Egnant

The walking from here was much easier, along the water board road. I imagine on a warm summer’s day this would be a stunning spot for a picnic. Today under the leaden grey skies the water looked dark and forbidding.

Llyn Egnant

Llyn Egnant

Eventually you come out at the end of the metalled road. To the right it continues as a track through some truly wild country that eventually brings you out at the far end of the Claerwen reservoir, one of the Elan valley reservoirs that supply the West Midlands with its water. It would be a fine wild mountain bike route and indeed we saw our first people of the day biking out into the back of beyond.

Llyn Hir, Llyn Teifi

Llyn Hir & Llyn Teifi

We walked back along the road to past the smaller Llyn Hir and took the Water Board road down towards Llyn Teifi the largest of the reservoirs. As the name suggests, birthplace of the River Teifi that ends its journey down the coast at Cardigan.

Llyn Teifi

Dam at Llyn Teifi

From there the route follows the infant Teifi and it’s another highlight with a succession of green paths through low hills (with a couple of rather nice secretive wild camp sites by the river.

Teifi Valley

Teifi Valley

Teifi Valley

Teifi Valley

The kids seemed to enjoy this stretch as well with nice easy walking on splendid paths.

Teifi Valley

TBF & J Striding Out

We approached civilisation at Frongoch Farm that was absolutely swarming with sheep, hundreds of them. Not sure why, considering sheep are inoffensive creatures, but I always find wandering through their massed noisy ranks a little intimidating. Here they were in their usual blind panic of running about a hundred directions at once and bouncing over walls and fences. The farmer appeared on his quad bike clearly in the process of herding them into the right fields. I was a little apprehensive as I’ve read a number of tales of unfriendly landowners in this part of Wales, even though we were on a right of way. However he gave us a smile and a wave as a he breezed past and as we continued down we watched in awe as he and his dogs skilfully manoeuvred the sheep into a succession of fields.

The walk finished as the path crested and traversed a steep slope above, and down to the valley we’d set off from.

Nant Egnant

Nant Egnant

A really enjoyable walk that wasn’t spoilt by the overcast conditions, in fact they added to the sense of adventure.

The rest of the weekend was wet, cold and windy but we still managed a little potter across the beach before the worst of it.

Clarach Bay

TBF in action

Clarach Bay

Beach pottering

Clarach Bay

The cave of doom

Just before we headed home we were treated to a stunning sunset across the caravan site.

Clarach Bay

Sunset over the Caravan Park

 

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12 responses to “Weekend in Wales and the Teifi Pools

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  1. Lovely area round there Andy, loads of opportunities for a quiet backpack and a wild camp.

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    backpackingbongos
    • I fell in love with the place, the accompanying sounds of the red kites above us just added to the majesty. Some wild camping needs to be done round there I think. That combination of wild tarns and rivers with isloated rocky knolls is just my thing

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  2. That’s a very good launch point for the wide grasslands of the Elan Valley, brings back memories of a couple of great tent pitches near the Teifi Pools. Strata Florida was a bit of a puzzle: we thought the car park and mapped trail would make it a busy spot but the whole area was deserted on our visits – were there many there?.

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    • The spot down by the Teifi just below the reservoir was a cracker. I need to follow some of your routes around the Elan Valley, you’ve got some stunning photos on your blog that tempt the legs 🙂

      Apart from the mountain bikers we saw by the road head and the farmer at Frongoch we didn’t see a soul all day. I don’t think many people venture inland from the coast to the hills and moors. These areas are not really what the new breed of outdoor types are after. They want summits and well known peaks you find in the Lakes and Snowdonia and Brecons to a lesser extent. I’ve been trying to seek out the lesser known spots and by and large I see few people.

      Had a wander in the Preseli Hills a couple oif weekends back and they were almost deserted as well despite it being a cloudless day

      You been out much recently Geoff?

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  3. The area looks so peaceful! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Looks like a couple of wild and wooly days there. Is that anywhere near where the EWO did a stint of volunteer wardening? Those hills were ultra-quiet and splendidly occupied by numerous buzzards and a fair few red kites. I should lend you ‘Deep Country’ which is an account of living, for five years, virtually off-grid in a remote spot in the Welsh hills.

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    beatingthebounds
    • I think the EWO and TYG both did a warden stint down that way (bit further south, Dolgoch I think, although it may not be a YH anymore). The charms of these hills are subtle but they are majestic expanses of true wild country, and there is alot of it to explore without the accompanying crowds

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  5. It’s always an area that first springs to mind when wondering where to go, new routes are getting difficult now.
    We had one unpublished short outing, but I’ve been exceedingly busy with different hats on since July.

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    • Have to say you are the master of the the unexplored parts of mid-Wales. I really need a decent mobile broadband connection when I’m at the caravan so I can check your site for inspiration when I’m planning a walk 🙂

      After a the summer washout I’m getting back into my walking routes again. Its such a great time of year and I’ve been pretty lucky with the weather the last couple of months

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  6. There used to be an outdoor center near Tregaron, and one near Llanddewi brefi, both are closed now. Loads of teenagers were introduced to the wilder walks over four days. I walked the route that took us up the Egnant valley, and I returned about 20 years later, and it had hardly changed. Another great walk is the trail from Soar y Mynydd, up to Pen y Gurnos, and along the Doethie valley to Tyncornel, and then back along the track to Soar y Mynydd. The only sounds you’ll hear are sheep, buzzards, kites and the river.
    Strata Florida Abbey is being developed with the help of Trinity St David’s University.

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    • Hi Ern, welcome to my little blog!
      It’s a superb area, wild, untamed and very quiet, just how I like it 🙂
      That walk you described looks great, bookmarked for a walk very soon. Never really explored the area around Tregaron and Llyn Brianne so I need to correct that
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting

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