Stormy Sunday Stroll

Usk Reservoir Walks

Wandering down towards the Usk Reservoir

I guess after our experiences so far, the title might be a more apt name for our Community Walks!

9 hardy souls ventured out on Sunday, all well equipped and ready for a couple of hours of thorough testing out of waterproofs and boots. In fairness, only around 30 minutes were actually spent out on the open moorland, experiencing a thoroughly natural and very efficient exfoliation from the elements, with plenty of shelter in the forestry for the rest of the walk and a change of start point to ensure some added shelter at the start and finish.

To quote local Brecon Beacons Ambassador, Carole Gledhill:

There is some perverse kind of pleasure in being out on open moorland in this kind of weather. Not sure why but there it is, that’s what we experienced on the community walk this afternoon! I expect it was the good company.

Initially venturing through Aled’s “20 metres of mud”, the route took us North of the Usk Reservoir, heading swiftly to the edge of the forestry and a brief description of the many hidden elements of Mynydd Myddfai and the Roman Road over Mynydd Bach Trecastell including ancient earthworks, cairns and the Roman Marching camps at Y Pigwn and Waun Ddu – the walking with Romans app is available from the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android)

brecon beacons mountain ponies

Mountain Ponies doing their best in the weather

Having being ignored by some equally unimpressed mountain ponies, we ventured over the moorland, eventually dropping back into the forestry some 100 metres from Physician’s well – try finding this spot without some local knowledge – where a few braved a taste of the healing waters.

Now nicely sheltered from the wind and drizzle, we wandered through the forestry, witnessing some brief views above the reservoir itself, before the cars and some dry conditions appeared.

Sadly we were finished too early to visit the Castle Coaching Inn, though we would like to take this opportunity to wish John, the landlord well as he goes into hospital for surgery this week.

Let’s hope for better health for John and better weather for our next walk on Sunday 30th March, details will be posted here.

Physician's Well usk reservoir

Usk Reservoir and Physician’s Well route map

Thanks to all that came along, we hope other’s will join us when the weather improves…..no wonder the Roman’s went home!

Reconstruction on the Roman fortlet at Waun Ddu:

Community Walks 2014

Usk Reservoir Car Park

Car Park next to the Usk Reservoir

The next Community Walk is on Sunday 23rd February 2014, starting from the Usk Reservoir Car Park and Picnic area at 2.00pm.

Sunday 23rd February – Meet at 2.00pm

Usk Reservoir Car Park

This month’s route takes us out on to Mynydd Myddfai, exploring the wilder side of the Upper Usk Valley area, with stunning panoramic views over the Towy and Usk Valley’s as well as tempting glances towards the Carmarthen Fans and the source of the Usk itself.

Dropping down off the common, we will enter the shelter of the forestry surrounding the Usk Reservoir, stumbling across the hidden Physician’s Well, the renowned healing water’s used the Physician’s of Myddfai, before trekking back through the forestry above the reservoir, quietly enjoying the peace and hopefully seeing woodcock, jay’s and woodpeckers on our return to the Car Park.

Some of the route involves walking on open moorland, therefore boots or wellies are required, the open moorland can be cold, so wrapping up warm is advisable, you may also want to bring a small drinking vessels if you feel like braving the water’s of the Physician’s Well.

Post walk gathering will be at the Castle Coaching Inn, Trecastle, where they may be the opportunity to warm up next to the open fire.

These free walks are being organised by Trecastle based activity provider – Expeditions Wales who run walking and camping activities for well over a 1000 people a year – so you’re in safe hands!

Upper Usk Valley Community Walks

Upper Usk Valley Community Walks

A walk on the wild (weather) side

Brecon Beacons Walks, Upper Usk Valley

Upper Usk Valley Community Walk Group

Our first Community Walk completed, big thanks to the 18 people who extracted themselves from the cosy surroundings of home, especially after a stormy Sunday morning.

A very pleasant mix of people came along, covering all ages and with some having travelled from Llanwrtyd Wells and Brecon to join us in our scenic surroundings. The route took in an ancient track past Maesydd Farm to the weir at Abersenni, with the Afon Senni flowing at an impressive rate.

It was then up to Twyn y Gaer – an iron age hill fort overlooking Defynnog & Sennybridge and offering great views over the Central Beacons and the Carmarthen Fans as well as the Senni & Crai Valleys, and unfortunately some great views of the incoming weather too!

Brecon Beacons Walking

Hail storm hurry’s group to Pub!

The exploration of the fort itself was cut short by some ominous grey clouds and we descended the final part of the route back to the Tanners Arms, Defynnog with the accompaniment of a hailstorm, sleet and even a clap of thunder, which made for a complete contrast to an hour or so of pleasant sunshine!

You can see more photo’s from the walk on our Upper Usk Valley Facebook Page.

Very pleasant to have everyone’s company and that everyone enjoyed – we look forward to the next walk on February 23rd in Trecastle.

Defynnog Walks

Twyn y Gaer Walk Route

Community Walks 2014

Upper Usk Valley Walking

The stunning Upper Usk Valley. Photo courtesy of Tomos Bidgood.

Explore the Upper Usk Valley with a series of Community Walks taking in some of the history and stunning views of the area during 2014.

Sunday 26th January 2014: Meet at 2.00pm

Tanners Arms, Defynnog

On the last Sunday of every month, we will visit a different part of the area, moving around the villages within the Upper Usk Valley, discovering more about the history, nature and scenery of the area, encouraging everyone to get out and explore what’s on their own doorstep.

From Roman Camps, hidden valleys, ancient bridges, waterfalls, reservoirs, mystic wells, legends  and old woodlands, the Upper Usk Valley offers some amazing landscapes and views, our aim is to explore these via a programme of short, social walks aimed at all levels, with each one taking 2-3 hours, just about enough to make you feel as if you’ve earned that drink at the end!

These free walks are being organised by Trecastle based activity provider – Expeditions Wales who run walking and camping activities for well over a 1000 people a year – so you’re in safe hands!

Defynnog 2

Looking over the Senni Valley towards Pen y Fan & Corn Du

Do I have to be fit to do these walks? No – our aim is that everybody can enjoy these walks at their own pace. The walk leaders from Expeditions Wales will normally be at the back to make sure everybody gets back safely.

Will there be big hills? To get the best views, we will need to go uphill at times, though we’ve set the routes out so the gradients are fairly gradual and there’s nothing wrong with stopping to gather your breath while you take in the views!

What if the weather’s bad? Luckily we aren’t going too high, so we’ll escape the worst of the wind and rain (although we’d like to promise that it’ll be sunny), most of the routes are sheltered, so nobody will get too cold. A waterproof jacket of some kind will keep the wind off and although they aren’t too bad, some of the routes will be a bit muddy after all the rain recently.

The path coming down from Twyn y Gaer

The path coming down from Twyn y Gaer

Do I need specialist kit? No – just what you’d normally wear outdoors, wellies or boots are fine and a waterproof jacket, hat, gloves and a pocketful of snacks will be enough for the few hours we’ll be out. The leaders will be carrying all the emergency equipment and first aid kits. It’s better to be dressed warmly and walk slowly, than feel cold and rush it to stay warm.

I’ve got a medical issue – can I still come? Of course, it is walking for all wherever possible. We will be asking for medical forms to be completed, though, if you are concerned at all, you can email Aled Davies (aled@expeditionswales.co.uk) or phone 07791 739025 if you have any questions. We’d rather know about any medical conditions in advance rather than have nasty surprises out on the hills.

Walk 1 is based from the Tanners Arms, Defynnog, where following the walk, there is the opportunity to try a small glass of local ale, or if you’re feeling brave, book yourself in for Sunday lunch, using our walk as an excuse for some post lunch exercise?

The route takes in Abersenni Bridge and weir, before exploring the old hill fort of Twyn y Gaer, offering excellent views over the Crai & Senni valleys and looking down onto Defynnog and Sennybridge.

This walk is 6km or 3.2miles long and should take around 2-3 hours at a relaxed pace, there are some muddy sections and about 30 minutes of walking uphill, though the views will be worth it! See the poster below, or email Aled Davies from Expeditions Wales (aled@expeditionswales.co.uk) with any questions or for more details.

For more about the area follow Upper Usk Valley on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Walks Poster January 2014