Archive for March 2021

The New Favourite   8 comments

While I was between contracts last year and just before all this madness started I discovered this walk from Kington Golf Club. Since then its become a firm favourite and is now my go to walk when I need a short stroll away from the mountains. Due the recent restrictions its been a life saver.

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This walk was the day after our “above the clouds” day in the previous post and the weather was still set clear and sunny. There was almost a spring-like feel in the air, the sun delivering some warmth. Almost a day for shorts.

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It’s become a familiar stroll with the various features, old and trusted friends. This line of trees.

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The massive open fields of Rushock Hill.

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Offas Dyke.

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This is one of the places where its quite distinct and it makes a fine walk along its crest.

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No-one is entirely sure how it was built over such a large distance and more importantly, why. Its not exactly much of a deterrent to invasion.

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Onwards to Herrock Hill, crowning glory of this walk.

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A superb and airy perch above Radnorshire and a fine place for lunch. It’s well away from anywhere and its rare to see more than a couple of people up here.

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To return to the car involves a drop into a gorgeous little valley between Herrock and Bradnor Hills.

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Both hills are open access land but there is no easy right of way between the two.

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On previous outings we’ve had to sneak over a fence after a steep climb through some woods which I’ve never been very happy with. This time we followed the path down the valley to see if there was any way to reach the access land from lower down. My map showed a path along the inside edge and we found an unlocked gate to access it. A much better route and we found one of the broad grassy paths that climbs up to the Golf Course.

Great views back to Herrock Hill.

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Over to the Radnor Hills.

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And the steep and wooded, Stanner Rocks. More on that in the next post.

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TBF and Herrock Hill.

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Looking back to Rushock Hill.

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Just the easy stroll back across the Golf Course to the car. Easy to see why this one has become a favourite.

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Above the Clouds Part 2   6 comments

Enough of grey cold days and wanders around local fields, time for some sunshine and some mountains.

Our new approach of early starts delivered big time. It was cold and foggy when we set out from home but 30 minutes later we through and above it at the Cats Back Car Park with sensational views.

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Not quite as spectacular as our visit to Hergest Ridge in November but not too shabby and an altogether sunnier day.

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Most of the Shire was blanketed in fog with just a few isolated small hills poking through. Not only that, at this early hour we had the hills to ourselves.

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The sky was a spectacular clear blue and the walk along the Cats Back was amazing, awesome etc, choose your own adjective.

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The fog bank below showed no signs of clearing so the white wonderland beneath our feet stayed with us most of the day.

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I’d dressed for winter but with almost no wind and the sun starting to generate some warmth as winter recedes I was soon removing thermals.

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The ridge is a pretty special walk on most days but under these conditions was truly wonderful.

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A mile or so grassy ridges with the odd rocky outcrop. A ridge like this is very unusual in South Wales.

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It took us a long while to walk its length such were the frequency and length of the stops to take it all in and capture some images.

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This is looking across to Aconbury Hill and Garway Hill – two of our little local hills.

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The colour of the sky is amazing at this early hour – well worth the 7am alarm call.

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The ridge comes to an end at Black Hill, all too soon really.

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We agreed that the walk out to Hay Bluff was worth it today. Its a long stretch but we wanted to see if there was some “above the clouds”effects in the Wye Valley.

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Its an easy and pretty much level stroll so hardly a chore on a day like this.

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Clouds hugging the top of Lord Hereford’s Knob.

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TBF enjoying a short break on the top of Hay Bluff

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And our reward, a spectacular cloud inversion over the Wye Valley

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And the author enjoying the day (I find it hard to smile in a selfie)

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We had bent the rules a little as the stretch across the background is actually entirely in Wales! Rest assured we parked up in England and the vast majority of the walk is either in England or along the border.

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As we took the long easy amble along Offa’s Dyke atop the main ridge the mists still seemed to be hugging the low lying land to the east of the mountains.

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We had our only tweak of ill luck when planning a lunch stop. The sky was still largely blue but there was a static and persistent block of cloud that obscured the sun just where we wanted to stop. The next couple of images make it look like the weather had turned but either side of this cloud bank all was sunny.

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Still with expansive views across the Olchon Valley you can’t grumble.

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The fog seemed to clear almost without noticing in a very short time period. By the time we were back at the car about an hour later, it had all gone and the skies were clear and blue and the sun shining abundantly again.

A superb 3/4 day out and back in time for afternoon games.

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Escape Valve   10 comments

Staying local has needed some places to head for walk away from the crowds and away from being stuck inside the house – hence the post title.

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Garway Hill has been one of those “Escape Valves”, a short 20 minute drive from home and for the most part pretty deserted and unspoilt (although over the Xmas holidays it became a little more popular).

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These photos are taken from 2 or maybe 3 walks up there over the past two months or so. We head up early before breakfast to have the place to ourselves and be back to make something of the rest of the day with TJF.

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A couple of the days were cold and frosty, hence the frozen pond on the summit.

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Fading sunrise in the east.

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Views over The Shire.

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The summit.

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Across to Wales, Ysgyryd Fawr and The Sugar Loaf.

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Monmouthshire and The Forest of Dean

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Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.

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Wild Ponies and Sheep living in perfect harmony.

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Orcop Hill.

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Took us a few years of living here to appreciate its charms (one of which is being able to drive most of the way up!) We have a standard walk with a couple of options (or just walk the route the other way round). Its been one of Lockdown escapes to release the pressure

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Cold!   6 comments

A short post remembering that winter is still fresh in the memory now that we have the first signs of spring appearing.

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One of our go-to short walks in the Black Mountains, a circuit of the landslip at Black Darren above Longtown. Another early start to fit in walk before the forecast snow arrived in the afternoon.

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Not that many photos, partly due to the fact it was a bleak grey day and partly because it was shockingly cold. Car was showing -5C when we parked up and the brisk wind made taking hands out of gloves for a photo an undesirable experience. Easily feeling well into minus double figures with windchill.

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It was bracing to be out and we had the hills to ourselves at an early hour on a chilly day.

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The walk back along the lane to the car had its interest. Wet roads had frozen into solid patches of ice that needed some precarious traverses to get past. Out, walked and back home before 11am for late breakfast and our now regular weekend activity of board and card games.

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Notes On a Small Village   8 comments

A few photos going back to January. In between the cold snowy weather and blue skies there were some spells of dreary greyness and wet roads/floods that made cycling for my daily exercise a rather undesirable option. Instead after a long day sat in front of screen, in the same room I have a local circuit of the village around the fields.

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I always head out just as the sun goes down which gives some nice light effects.

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Our local Norman Church.

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Fantastic clouds.

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And my personal favourite, winter trees without the cloak of leaves.

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Looking back to the village.

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Golden trees.

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The walk takes less than an hour and I’m never more than a few minutes from the front door as my house is at the centre of the circle.

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In this most difficult of times I’ve sometimes found myself grumbling about the restrictions, the fact that my local Welsh Mountains have been out of bounds for pretty much a whole year, that this walk is often muddy and “boring” . When I look at these photos it makes me realise just what a foolish standpoint that is. To have this on my doorstep I should be counting my blessings and remembering how many millions of people don’t have such an escape valve.

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Posted March 9, 2021 by surfnslide in herefordshire, Local Walks

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