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river sources

Remember when I was on a mission to walk/cycle/kayak the whole river Wye?

Well, I still am - just keep getting distracted by other stuff and rubbish weather.

Anway, it was nice the other weekend and I had no other plans so on Friday afternoon I drove up to Llangurig.  After a brief evening stroll from the campsite into the village and back, I sat with a bag of chips watching the sun set.  Lovely.

Saturday was a little less relaxed.  I got up and drove to Rhyd y Benwch in the Hafren Forest.  A really nice (and quite popular, it seems) Forestry... continue reading »

Llanwrthwl

Last weekend I got a little bit more Wye ticked off. Nearly there now - just got to get from Llangurig up to the source.  I reckon two more days of effort and I'll be done!

Filling in the gap between vaguely Rhayader and Newbridge - I took the bike to Llanwrthwl and did a little figure of eight.  Up to the Elan confluence, then all the way down to where I'd ended my previous ride, and back.  All on NCN8, so a slightly different route in places to the WVW footpath.

Not a huge amount to say about this one really. ... continue reading »

Builth Wells and beyond

Moving house has eaten up far more of my weekends/spare time than I'd have liked.  But spring has appeared and things have settled down, so a gloriously warm sunny Sunday seemed like the perfect opportunity to carry on hacking away at the Wye.

So off I went to Builth Wells - armed with a bike, a map, and the NCN8 guidebook.  (not that I used the last two, hurrah for well signed routes).

Plans were fairly fluid, depending on time and how knackering I found the hilly cycling - either get to Newbridge on Wye (13km), or to Llanwrthwl (23km).  And then... continue reading »

Wye/Usk walking

First little bit of Wye for 2012!

Not hugely much to say about this one really... supposed to be kayaking, but I wasn't feeling well enough to want to sit in a boat all day, so instead went for a short walk from Rhayader down the to Elan confluence (then slept in the car until the others returned).

Crossing the Elan is a ridiculously wobbly footbridge, which actually made me feel seasick - this is a very rare thing!

On Sunday the Usk looked low and I didn't fancy it (the middle usk isn't my favourite bit of river, for whatever reason), so... continue reading »

Glasbury, Boughrood and Llanstephan

Probably the last bit of Wye Valley Walking for 2011 - Glasbury to Boughrood, and back again.

Mostly flat, walking through fields alongside the river, plus a little bit of road at Boughrood Brest.

When I reached Boughrood I stopped for lunch, then walked back to Glasbury along the road (the B4350).  I'd hoped to cut a corner of that with a footpath, but what was visible on the map was not obvious in real life!

Did randomly discover a roadside bird hide though - looking across Pwllpatti nature reserve.

Rather than driving straight home once I had a little detour further upriver, for... continue reading »

Builth to Erwood

Just because the map says 'bridleway' does not necessarily mean 'this will be a nice route to cycle rather than walk'.

I should probably learn this lesson, and do more google maps spying when planning stuff (in fairness, I had done some...).  Especially when the bridleway in question is on top of a small Welsh hill where it's been raining on and off for a few days...

Builth Wells to Erwood, along the Wye Valley Walk. Starts off on country roads and tracks (including some steep bits which I walked). Then you get further up the hill, and the path heads off... continue reading »

Glasbury

So, the day after buying new boots (and wandering up my local hill in them) I headed over to Glasbury to do another section of the Wye Valley Walk.

Two options from Glasbury: walk back to Llowes (about 4km), or walk upstream to Boughrood (about 5k)

I was contemplating getting both bits done in one day, so leaving the car in the middle of a vague figure of 8.

As it turned out, this didn't happen.  After walking to Llowes and back, the new boots were rubbing my heels a bit, so I decided it would be silly (and probably painful) to walk... continue reading »

two walks in one day

Last weekend was the start of October.  Yet we had 27° and glorious sunshine.  What's that all about?  Supposed to be autumn, not a very late summer...

Anyway Saturday was far too hot and stuffy for me to feel motivated to do anything, so I chilled out at home and read an entire book.

On Sunday I got up early for the rugby, then headed off in a Hay-on-Wye direction for yet more walking.  Once I got the other side of Hereford the sun vanished, but my car was still telling me it was 25°.

Parked up near Priory Wood, and headed off... continue reading »

a town made of books

I'm spending a large amount of my spare time at the moment editing photos.  This is the one 'downside' of spending weekends out and about!  It also creates backlogs of actual blog posts (ie the words to go with the pictures!), oops.

Here's a small hint about where I went walking last Sunday:

Books and bookshops wherever you look.  Must be Hay on Wye!

I arrived around lunchtime, having got up early to watch Wales put in a fantastic effort against South Africa in their opening game of the rugby world cup (far more entertaining than watching England miss kicks the previous morning... continue reading »

Merbach Hill

Next up on the Wye Valley Walk: Bredwardine to Castleton.  Starting from the Red Lion pub car park, which was the turnaround point when I cycled the adjacent bit.

Easing into the walk might have been nice, but nooo.. instead we start with a 1 in 4 hill to walk up.  That certainly woke my calf muscles up!

From here the path moves onto bridleway, and heads across some fields towards the top of Merbach Hill.

I had planned to eat lunch at the trig point, but never found it.  Analysis of my GPS trace once I was home showed that I was... continue reading »

a walk of two halves

Lower Lydbrook to Ross-on-Wye.  Another 10 miles of Wye Valley Walk, made possible once again by mum's taxis (thanks mum!)

Started off by crossing the river, over the old railway bridge - which I am much more used to seeing from river level, complete with "canoes keep left.  no stopping! no landing!" etc scribbled on the pillars.

The first few miles follows the riverside, past Welsh Bicknor church/youth hostel, and through fields.  Loads of people out enjoying the river in canoes and kayaks (and I think I spotted some rafty things?).  Quite a few other walkers around too.

Eventually, I reached Kerne Bridge. ... continue reading »

two lots of cycling, a walk, and some overpriced Pimm's

The final weekend of July (a five weekend month!) was a busy one, even by my standards.

On Friday evening I headed over to see the parents, who provided food and a lift into town so I could see the mighty Goldie Lookin' Chain playing the festival.  Which was generally rather entertaining.  I was less amused at the cost of a small cup of Pimm's from the bar mind you...

On Saturday I ticked off a bit more of the Wye.  Monmouth to Symonds Yat (and back again), on my bike via the Peregrine Path.  A really nice cycle route actually -... continue reading »

the boring side of Hereford

Last weekend's walking takes the dubious honour of being the most boring bit of Wye Valley Walk so far...

It started with a short bus journey into Hereford, where I got my passport stamped, had lunch, and wandered around the market for a bit.  So far, so good..

The path closely follows the river bank for about 4km out of Hereford.  Not that I could see the river, because of loads of hedge/bushes in the way (and butterflies, ick).  And on the other side of the narrow footpath?  A barbed wire fence, and some very boring fields.

After 45 mins of boredom, the... continue reading »

Walking the Upper Wye

Part two of "making the most of days off work" - a weekend walking in Rhayader.  (by 'weekend' here I mean Sunday and Monday, but that's a minor technicality).

This plan wasn't decided until Sunday lunchtime, and since it's a 2 hour drive away I think I did quite well to start walking at half 3!

I'd paddled a small section of the Upper Wye in February, so decided to spend a couple of days completing this stretch.  Started from the layby at Pont Marteg, I walked up through Gilfach nature reserve (next to the Afon Marteg) then over a hill and... continue reading »

Bredwardine by bike

June = end of the holiday year at work.  As usual, I've ended up with a couple more days left than I can carry over, so decided to put them to good use.

Walking the Wye is all very well, but it's slow progress.  I found a nice chunk that happens to be bridleway, and last Wednesday took the bike for a day out.

Credenhill to Bredwardine, 30km in total.  Some road, some farm track, and then on the way back, several fields full of sheep and sheep poo (at this point attempting to follow the "Three Rivers Ride", apparently).

To be honest,... continue reading »

Llandogo to Monmouth

Making use of "mum's taxis" for this one - aka getting a lift to Llandogo and walking back.

For some reason most of the photos I took are of bridges.  Probably because that's about all there is on this stretch to bother taking pics of!

Nah, it's not that boring really - another section I'm relatively familiar with due to Scouting activities as a teenager.

From my previous end point above Llandogo, I continued on through Cuckoo Woods, with the occasional sneaky glimpse down to Bigsweir Bridge (currently being repaired).  The path then drops down to meet the river in Whitebrook, and continues... continue reading »

Chepstow to Llandogo

The postman brought me two exciting things on Saturday morning.  First up, my FSRT certificate, and secondly a shiny brand new map.

So I tootled off to Llandogo, parked the car and jumped on the bus.  £3.05 and 25 minutes later I arrived in Chepstow.

Chepstow Castle marks the start (or finish, depending how you look at it) of the Wye Valley Walk.  There's a big lump of stone there to prove this, taken from Plynlimon.  Apparently there's a bit of Chepstow rock at the other end too, which I will see later on this year!

From Chepstow the walk goes through the... continue reading »

Brockhamptonish

Hurrah, I have completed an entire section of the WVW - between Ross-on-Wye and Hereford! 

Last weekend featured Brockhampton (reached on my first walk) through How Caple to Hole in the Wall (where I ended up last time).  And back again.

A relatively short and easy journey - 13.5km - but quite pleasant and peaceful.  A bit too close to being a straight 'there and back' for my liking though - I did the return leg along the road to avoid completely retracing my steps!

As it had been a fairly easy walk, I still had enough energy left on Sunday for a... continue reading »

Easter walking

Easter was vaguely planned to be a multi activity weekend of fun... somewhat typically that didn't quite happen, for various reasons.  But I did get some good walking in, so it wasn't all bad!

On Good Friday I ticked off a bit more Wye Valley Walk - starting in Ross on Wye up to Hole in the Wall (home of PGL, fact fans) and back again along the Herefordshire Trail.

Ross was heaving - lots of sunburnt people lazing about by the riverside.  And walking slowly in my way.  But I soon got past them, and out into the fields.  Horrible smelly... continue reading »

Hereford to Mordiford

Another sunny weekend with not enough water in the rivers for kayaking... so I've ticked off a bit more Wye Valley Walk!  For extra novelty points, I used public transport too.  Been a while since I've done that, hah.

Having driven to Mordiford, I parked the car and ate lunch whilst waiting for the bus to Hereford, and was a little surprised when it actually arrived, bang on time! (I did have a back up plan of a circular walk, just in case).

I've not been to Hereford for ages - obviously no time for shopping this time though!  Some fairly impressive... continue reading »

Capler to Fownhope

Saturday: sunshine, blue skies, warmth and general springyness.  Not a day to be spent cooped up indoors!  So I decided to go walkies.

2011's challenge is the River Wye.  I paddled a very short stretch of it last month, but 4km out of 215 isn't really much to show a quarter of the way through the year!

So I added another 5.5km of the Wye Valley Walk - from a total of 16km, starting (and ending) at Capler viewpoint (that's in Herefordshire, by the way).  Walking anticlockwise around this loop:

I set off following the Wye Valley Walk up past Capler Camp Hill... continue reading »