Archive for the ‘Llanthony Priory’ Tag

Vale of Ewyas Round   13 comments

The weekend when the scale of risk of the COVID-19 crisis was really beginning to hit home was also when winter ended and spring arrived. Back on March 21st, amidst closing pubs and restaurants and the first signs that the word “Lockdown” would become our new watchword, me and TBF went out for a couple of walks. The long, wet and miserable winter had us yearning for a walk in the sunshine.

We debated long and hard as to whether we should or not but with extensive local knowledge of the The Black Mountains we felt we could find a route that was easy, quiet and avoid any “crowds” or indeed any more than a handful of people. Having said that I’ve walked the Black Mountains extensively over the past 16 years and have never seen them “crowded” at any point. That is normally reserved for Pen y Fan and the popular routes to South Wales highest summit.

I even debated wether I should post about these walks, such was was my self-conscious worry as to whether I should have gone out in the first place. Two months later and I now feel that we were ok based on the circumstances at the time (it was the weekend before lockdown was formally put in place) and what we knew and practised diligently about Social Distancing.

We planned a route around the bottom end of the Vale of Ewyas, taking in the hill fort of Twyn y Gaer, Llanthony and back via Hatterrall Hill.


It was a gorgeous day, warm in the sunshine but with a very brisk and very cold wind. A day for stretching the legs rather than stopping.


Its a long plod up the road the the slopes of the hill fort but on top the views were wonderful. As per my plan to keep things low profile there was, as expected no-one up there as its a long way of what passes for the beaten track in the range.


On a calmer day it would make a wonderful spot for a long lazy lunch but the biting wind forced us to push on.


Its a long steady walk along the ridge to Bal Mawr where we planned to drop down into the valley before returning on the ridge on the other side.


We managed to find a sheltered spot beside a small woodland for a short rest.


The cairn and remains of some sort of burial mound on Garn Wen


Its a lovely walk down to Llanthony via Cwm Bwchel with views to the priory.


The priory itself was deserted as it was late in the day by the time we passed through. The path we followed avoids the car park and the main priory itself, heading around the back as it were.


We followed the Beacons Way back up to the ridge, a splendid gently rising traverse that I’ve not walked before turning this into a new favourite route.


This was before the clocks went back and this late in the day the light was starting to fade. We were also under pressure of time as TJF had informed us she’d gone out for the day to work without her keys and would likely be waiting outside on the doorstep before we got home!


It was a very brisk walk back down to the car on that basis. A really enjoyable walk albeit with a constant nagging doubt as to whether we’d done the right thing. In the event we’d seen less than 10 people across the whole six hour walk and we were diligent in making sure we stepped well away, well more than the stated 2m, on the couple of occasions we passed people on the path.


Short Walk from Llanthony   2 comments

Clue is in the title. A short post about a short walk on a very grey and windy day before rain and storms swept in a couple of weekends past. The warm sunshine of the Malverns the weekend before was long gone.


I’d planned a short walk from Cwmyoy but there was some kind of Countryside “Event” on so the Barbour Jacket brigade were out in full force and occupying all the parking spaces. Always eager for a new route I parked up in Llanthony and plotted a new route on the fly.


Across the Honddu river and up onto the ridge to the west via Cwm Bwchel. Views of Llanthony priory as I climbed.


It was a wild and windy day and it looked like it could rain at any minute although it never did.


Not a day for stopping as at times I could barely stand up in the wind. Taste of what seems like the endless winds and storms to come. Bal Bach and Garn Wen quickly came and went.


I walked as far as I could stand the wind and then plunged back down into the Vale of Ewyas and out of the wind.


I was a much more pleasant stroll along the valley through Llanthony Wood and back into Llanthony itself.


A brief but very quiet wander (I saw not another soul other than near the priory)


A short stroll from Llanthony Priory   8 comments

Still playing catch up with the blog. Been busy planning a major family trip for next summer so I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties. This one is from mid April after the cold weather from Easter had gone for good. Me and TJS stole an afternoon for a quick jaunt into the Black Mountains from Llanthony Priory

5 Miles, 1,250 feet of ascent

5 Miles, 1,250 feet of ascent

It’s a splendid spot situated in the fine Vale of Ewyas. In my humble opinion it’s one of the finest valleys in Britain and deserves to be better known. I’d neglected to pack my camera so the photos are taken with my iPhone. I know that people claim that phones take as good a picture as most compact camera’s but I’m not convinced. I rarely take photos with the phone but one thing I would say is that they are very handy fall-back for muppets like me who forget their camera when out walking!

Vale of Ewyas, Llanthony Priory

Loxidge Tump

Vale of Ewyas, Llanthony Priory

The climb to the ridge is through open fields, woodland and then up over Loxidge Tump and onto the open fellside. It’s been such a while since I did this walk and due to the limited photos I only have  a vague recollection of the finer points of the day. I do recall hearing birdsong near the ridge and thinking it was the first I’d heard this year and how perhaps winter was now officially over!

Vale of Ewyas, Llanthony Priory

Vale of Ewyas, Llanthony Priory

Vale of Ewyas, Llanthony Priory

Vale of Ewyas, Llanthony Priory

The stroll along Offa’s Dyke and down the ridge was as always pleasant and easy going. I’ve walked part of this section on many occasions from the opposite side to take in the Black Darren landslip (the most recent walk is here).

Vale of Ewyas, Llanthony Priory

Vale of Ewyas, Llanthony Priory

It was hard to imagine that only a few weeks previously the whole area was blanketed in snow. Despite it being a sunny day there was a chill wind blowing and we had to drop down to the NE slopes to find some shelter for the usual routine of packed lunch and fresh cuppa.

Black Mountains

Black Mountains

Black Mountains

We continued along the ridge towards Hatterall Hill and then turned sharp right back onto the Brecons Way. The path is another of those high level and gently traversing paths above the valley that I love so much. You can cover the ground with ease while still taking in the expansive views. The summit ridge is so broad that the views are a little restricted but on these paths the views are much more open and interesting.

Black Mountains

Vale of Ewyas, Llanthony Priory

Vale of Ewyas, Llanthony Priory

We chatted about the possible plans for our big holiday next year (more to follow when I’ve sorted it) and almost before we knew it we were heading over the fields back to the priory. A short day, but a good one – from what I remember anyway.

Black Mountains

Vale of Ewyas, Llanthony Priory

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