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Black Pudding Gaiters

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clwydian

First hill walk of 2020!

Lock down is tough.
I’m lucky, I’ve had a fairly easy time compared to many but; all trips abroad and a city break cancelled, concerts postponed or cancelled, no camping trips and unable to access the hills for months.

I have tried to average around 30 to 40 miles a week doing local walks (I’m determined to still complete the ViewRanger 1000 mile challenge!).
I’m lucky, I live near woods and quiet country lanes but Wirral is flat, very flat so, as soon as it was announced that Wales was opening it’s borders, I booked some time off work.

I’m very keen to try out the new MSR tent but I’m holding off any overnight stays at the moment as only self contained units (things with their own loo) can be used for overnight stays.
At least, I think that’s the current rule.
To make matters worse, on the drive up I passed signs saying Welsh Covid rules apply.
I don’t fully understand my own country’s rules!

The weather forecast was brilliant. A bonus blast around the country lanes in the Abarth with the top down perhaps.
Needless to say, the weather forecast changed considerably the day before and, to quote Half Man Half Biscuit, the cloud base was low on the Clwydian hills but, to quote HMHB again, no storm warning was going to stop me setting out again.

I parked up in my usual spot in Llanferres and walked through the Druid Inn car park to Rectory Lane. Just past the last house, I headed up hill.
Only a few minutes from the car and the views were lovely.

Clwydian Hills Views


It’s strange how Covid-19 has changed normal activities. Previously I’d think nothing of opening a gate. Now, it was a well planned manoeuvre involving one ‘dirty hand’, a foot and a squirt of hand sanitiser. Other than though, everything was as it has always been.

The first part of this walk was a route I knew well. Up Foel Fenlli and down towards the Bwlch Penbarra car park. The second part was (surprisingly!) new to me. I stayed to the west edge of the foot of Moel Famau then headed to the north of Coed Ceunant.
Shortly after joining a narrow road, I had planned on cutting across a field towards Llanbedr hall.
After crossing a small stream, I noticed a number of cows in the next field. They seemed content enough, munching away on their lunch.
I glanced down at the map, just continue in the direction I was heading, towards a gap in the fence.
I altered my route slightly to give the cows a wide berth.
They noticed me and started heading closer.
I moved further to the right, they started to group.
They were congregating between me and the gap in the fence which I discovered, led to another field of cows.
I wimped out and turned around and crossed back over the stream.
I knew the road would lead me down to the road in to Llanbedr and from there, I could get back on track.

Old St Peters Church Llanbedr

As it turned out, this wasn’t a bad decision. I headed up the track towards old St Peter’s Church.
After a good look around at the gravestones dating from the 17 and 1800s and getting the obligatory photos, I headed to the back of the grounds, through an old gate and on to a path.
I’m not entirely sure I should have been there, but it got me on to the lane where the cow field would have led to.

It was now getting close to midday. The temperature had increased and it had become rather muggy. I was glad of the drizzle to cool me off as the route slowly climbed back to Fenlli.
I stayed on the lower path around the hill before following the path I’d taken earlier to the car.

This route (with the cow detour!) is available to download as a GPX
I’ve also added a Relive Fly Through.

Tuesday was another walk, this time near Ruabon.
Not as hilly and not as scenic but a pleasant walk, despite a detour along the roads. A farmer had decided to grow the world’s biggest and thickest corn right across the path.

Wednesday was back to the realities of Covid, spending over two hours negotiating a full refund for another cancelled holiday, but the hills are back!

Walking Through Cwm

Yep, there is nothing like a rather rude sounding village to get me giggling like a stupid child but (surprisingly) walking through Cwm was a humorous coincidence. I was wondering where to walk, I opened the OS mapping on ViewRanger, found a place with some walks, check for car parking on Google Maps.
Dyserth ticked all the boxes, plenty of paths  and free parking. It was an easy drive there, M53, A55 then not far from the A5151. First impressions, Dyserth is a very hilly town!
I parked up in the waterfall car park. I had arrived early and there was only one other vehicle but I can imagine it can get very busy here.
After paying a visit to ‘Loo of the year 2009’,  I left the car park,  took a left and headed up hill. Following the road up to the traffic lights, I went straight across and joined Cwm Road (cue some giggles), a pleasant, hilly residential road. As I climbed up, I got some great views across to the coast below.
Shortly after taking a left on to Lower Foel road, I got on to the path through Foel woods.
Sign to Cwm North WalesAt the end of the woods I crossed a small road over to the farmland opposite, following the signs to Cwm.
Cwm itself is a small village containing a church and a nice looking pub, The Blue Lion The pub has extremely limited opening times (Thursday to Sunday from 18:00 to 24:00) and needless to say, was closed when I got there.

view from Mynydd y CwmLeaving Cwm, I took a footpath towards Mynydd y Cwm, one of the hills of the Clwydian Range  I skirted the base of the hill then joined the Offa’s Dyke path. This is a trail which is on my ‘Bucket List’. I’ve walked small sections of it many times but I’d love to do more of the 177 mile route. Today, I’d only be following the Acorn signs for a short distance initially to Marian Ffrith  where, on this lovely summers day, the views were fantastic. As with many of the hills in the area, this was once home to a hill fort.
Dropping back down the hill, I crossed the road and headed towards Marian Mill farm. Continuing on the Offa’s Dyke path, I crossed the A5151 road.
I left Offa’s Dyke when I reached the wide, tarmac North Wales Path. Initially I mistook it for a road given how wide and well surfaced it was. As it was school summer holiday, there were a large number of families walking and cycling. I felt rather over dressed in approach shoes, walking trousers and rucksack!
Dyserth WaterfallAs I got closer to Dyserth, I left the North Wales Path and took the path over the bridge through Maes Hiraddug nature reserve  and down towards the impressive 70 foot high waterfall at Dyserth.
After popping my 50p ‘entrance fee’   (Aug 2017 price)  in to the honesty box it was a short walk back to the car park.

The GPX file for this route is available to download.

The Sun Does Shine on the Clwydian Range

I know, I  go to the Clwydian Range a lot….a hell of a lot.
In my defence, it’s less than 40 minutes drive from home and there are so many routes. I’m still discovering new ones years after I first went.

I’ve recently started parking in Llanferres. I had parked in the same spot last week when I (finally) discovered the cave near Maeshafn (that’s one for another post!)  It is usually cold, wet and cloudy whenever I visit this part of the world, today, however, the forecast was good and the skies were clear!

After parking up, I walked towards the Druid pub and followed Rectory Lane to the end where it becomes a footpath. Here it’s a bit of a climb through fields, passing through a gate which isn’t clearly marked as being part of the footpath.
Dangerous gateThe path continues heading South West, ending up in a small woodland.
Not too sure about the barbed wire around the gate though!
I continued on this path, taking the next right, almost heading back on myself.
The views from around here were beautiful.
I had forgotten how good the Clwydian Range could look.

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Continuing on this horseshoe, I could look down from above onto the village of Llanferres where I had left the car. I made my way to the narrow road at Pen-y-waun, taking a left where the path joins the road and another left at the road junction.
Ahead of me was the Moel Famau car park and a handy stop to the use the ‘facilities’!

Not far from the car park is a small pull-in off the road on the left. Here a path  leads from the road towards the  Bwlch Penbarra car park.
From the far end of the car park, I  headed up Foel Fenlli, going up and over the top, around the location of the old fort before dropping down to Bwlch Crug-glas.

Coffee brewing on the meths burner
Coffee brewing on the meths burner

Passing a small woods on my left I walked through a large field of sheep and found a great sheltered spot to fire up the meths burner and make myself a cup of coffee,
Civilised waking!

After one of the nicest cups of instant coffee I’d drunk in a long while, I carried on along the path just skirting the route I had taken earlier in the day.
At the crossroads I continued straight on. The path here wasn’t too well signed. I headed roughly South East through the fields to a stile.
Once over the stile, the route became very difficult to see as I ducked under branches, stepped over fallen trees and made my way across the boggy terrain.

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Difficult to see where to join/leave this path!

There was no clear path through when I reached the road, it was a case of climbing over the fence.
It was difficult to see the ‘official’ route from the road.
It was over grown and a rusty set of gates stood in front of the public footpath sign.

Crossing the road, I took a right then walked down the first road on my left.  I stayed on this narrow, quiet road for a while until it became a path towards the quarry.
When reaching Burley Hill Quarry, I took the path to the left, though the woods alongside the now disused limestone quarry.
Apparently, this is a good spot for fossil hunting, I also spotted the entrance of a small ‘cave’.

At the end of the woods is the village of  Maeshafn, home to the Miners Arms pub. The food here looks amazing especially considering how far off the beaten track it is!

After the pub, I followed the road to the left. Just after crossing a bridge, I took the footpath on the left back to Llanferres.

The total walk was around 9 miles and was very enjoyable, obviously the clear blue skies helped A GPX of the route can be downloaded.

And to round off such a good day….a drive home with the top down in the Abarth 124!

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