Hay on Wye to Pandy, Offa’s Dyke – Day 12

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Walked over 2 lovely September days. The sun casting an autumn amber glow, but warm enough to have burnt my scalp!

The walk starts off gently enough, we stopped to admire the house where my uncle had lived for a number of years, and even before we had walked through the first field we were in conversation with a couple from the USA and their great niece who were walking the path.

The first of many encounters with international visitors from Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands.

The first couple of fields lull me into a false sense of ease, but the path gets progressively steep . We loose sight of our American friends when we stop to pick field mushrooms, carefully avoiding the “magic” mushrooms.

Crossing a minor road the path gets even steeper, my breathing ragged, I was glad to reach a farmyard, catching up with the US walkers, chatting to the owners, who happily showed us the new born chicks, and reassured us that we would be out in open ground soon enough.

Sure enough, we were soon onto Crasswell Common heading for Hay Bluff. The path is well trodden, and further on, flagstones have been laid to stop more erosion. The Yellow brick road from the Wizard of Oz came to mind.

The steady climb “up the Bluff” was not too difficult, stopping to chat with a number of walkers.

The path evens out, we met a Scotsman trying to ring his wife, his biggest regret it seemed, that she was not well enough to join him on the Hatterall ridge walk.

I enjoyed the first mile or so of the moorland that followed, several chats with riders, mountain bikers and walkers.
The ponies that graze here were very disinterested in our presence, but they broke the monotony of the moorland. I was becoming bored, not an emotion I associate with walking.

We ran into a group of young lads, sitting around chatting and enjoying their lunch. We were later to speak to their leader who was concerned they hadn’t made it back to the rendezvous point. Words would have been spoken!

The Olchon Valley on our left was the setting for Owen Sheers’s Resistance. A little further on we were taking the route signposted to Llanthony on the right. A very steep, rutted path, but great views of Llanthony Priory.

We gave our friends from the US a lift back to Hay on Wye.

If you choose to break your journey in Llanthony you need to be aware of the descent and ascent. It could be easier to stick to the ridge.

We headed up to Hatterall Ridge from Llanthony, and loved the walk south, with stunning views of the Vale of Ewyas. The Skirrid stands out in the distance. The walk eases as we travel the ridge with stunning views down to Oldcastle

As we headed down off the ridge, We reach a house and a barn with a poem on the side, the words struck a chord.

The path descends gently, we were surprised to see autumn crocuses growing in the wild. Some more field mushrooms to be picked before eventually reaching a railway line, keeping ears and eyes open for oncoming trains, we knew we were now within a short distance from Pandy and our car.

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