A 7 mile walk  circular walk  from Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog in North Wales, following a small section of the Upper Ceiriog Way .

Date walked: 9th May 2017

Distance: around 7 miles

Map used: OS Explorer 255 Llangollen and Berwyn

Guide to walks: Walks around the Berwyn Mountains and the Ceiriog valley by David Berry

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I have the impression that the Berwyn Range of hills in north Wales (wrongly lodged in my head as “The Berwyns”, but not mountains IMHO)  are not very well-known.  The wikipedia entry  refers to them as wild and isolated, which might explain why (though they are not especially wild). And I must offer an apology to start with that you are not going to get to know them much better from this post or the next.

Bob and I were booked into The Hand in the middle of the tiny village of Llanarmon.

The Hand at llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, photo courtesy of the owners

Wow, someone likes their polarizing filter – thanks to the owners for the image

The village boasts two pubs, a hall, a church but no shop. To Bobs surprise (but not mine)  it does have a bus service. We had been here quite a few years ago and had stayed at The West Arms Hotel, which stands directly opposite The Hand.  I had chosen it as it is in the Good Food Guide and I confess that I thought that this was where I had booked again for this stay (well, it makes a change form being wrong about my routes). However, I had made a good bargain based on eating at The Hand both nights and we both thought it looked a great place.

Bob had very kindly agreed to pick me up at Shrewsbury railway station.  My journey from Chepstow, changing at Newport on  the (privately run) Arriva trains went perfectly. Bobs journey on the (nationalised) motorways was subject to a lot of congestion.  A cheap point, perhaps, but Bob, amongst, it seems, millions of others, appear to want a government that will nationalise our utilities, railways, rabbit hutches etc. If you are one of them I think you are bonkers.

Outside the Hand at Llanarmon, photographed by Charles Hawes

A proud Corbynista

We arrived at the pub too early to get into our rooms but we received a warm welcome from our hosts and enjoyed an excellent sandwich and a naughty pint outside in the sunshine, by which time our very pleasant and comfortable rooms were ready.

If you have read this blog at all in the last few months, I  have a knee with a torn meniscus, In normal use it gives me no problems at all but to be on the safe side and given the time, we agreed to start off with a gentle walk and see how it went.  And besides it was really warm, so we didn’t want to tax ourselves.

The little road south out of the village actually follows the Upper Ceiriog Way.

I noticed that  BT Openreach (spits twice) has blessed this isolated settlement with  Superfast Broadband  whilst our own, just 5 miles from Chepstow and despite many false assurances for the Welsh Government is still experiencing derisory speeds on ancient copper wires. Its infuriating.

Fibre broadband connection in Llanarmon, Wales, photographed by Charles Hawes

My letters to WG officials on this issue are getting quite rude.

After about half a mile of flat ground  we climbed quite steeply  for about a mile. On the hillside opposite a tractor pulling a trailer of fertiliser on a steep gradient amazed and caused us anxiety in equal measure.

Tractor on hill by llanarmon, photographed by Charles Hawes.

It looked far, far steeper than this.

Next to us, another field was being ploughed on an equally challenging slope.

Ploughed field outside Llanarmon, photographed from the Upper Ceiriog way by Charles Hawes

Giving rise to questions about what crop they would be sowing and about soil erosion

 

Ploughing field outside Llanarmon, photographed from the Upper Ceiriog way by Charles Hawes

We paused to catch breath and admire his bravery

The brow of the hill was at around 1,400 feet and just past that, at Lidiart Cae hir, we turned sharply left to leave the road and continue on a wide track heading north-east.

Lidiart Cae Hir, photographed from the Upper Ceiriog way by Charles Hawes

Always best to check ones map at a turning

The track climbed for about half a mile …

The Upper Ceiriog Way at Cefn Hir-Fynydd, photographed by Charles Hawes

We have sheep

…to reach a summit at  1522 feet at Cefn-Hir-fynydd. Here a tall mast was providing much-needed entertainment to the local communities.

Mast on Cafn-Hir-Fynydd, photographed from the Upper Ceiriog Way by Charles Hawes

That was my best guess anyway- alternative opinions welcome

For the next mile-and- a-half the path keeps to the ridge of this hill, affording us a fine view of the surrounding countryside.

View from the Upper Ceiriog Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

More sheep – not a view of Berwyn, though

We left the Upper Ceiriog Way above the village of Tregeiriog. 

view of Tregeiriog from the Upper Ceiriog Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

Even the smallest places have an interesting history

The Battle of Crogen, between Welsh forces under Owain Gwynedd and English forces under Henry II of England, took place near Tregeirog in 1165. You didn’t know that, did you?

The grass path gave us a gentle descent to The Mill (sorry no pic but we didn’t see ‘owt looking like a mill).

Path to Tregeiriog from the Upper Ceiriog Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

What we did see was a for sale sign, but not what was for sale (well, we might have seen it but we did not know that we had – if you see what I mean).

At this point we took a path turning left back towards Llanarmon through a field by the River Ceiriog.

River Ceiriog near Tregeiriog, photographed by Charles Hawes

As well as being a home to trout the first grayling to be artificially reared in Wales were released into the river in 2009

The field was occupied by a herd of inquisitive cows and their calves so we upped our pace and made a bee-line for the far gate.

Cows and calves in field near Tregeiriog, photographed by Charles Hawes

Always best to be a little cautious

Cow in field near Tregeiriog, photographed by Charles Hawes

I’ve got my eye on you

Having cocked a friendly snook at the cows, the path climbed gently through the next field…

Walking near the River Ceiriog, photographed by Charles Hawes

Now, Bob, I have told you before to lift your head up

….. and then entered a small nameless wood of mostly broad-leaved  trees with bluebells.

View to the river Ceiriog from footpath near llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, photographed by Charles Hawes

Wood near the River Ceiriog, photographed by Charles Hawes

OK, so not a carpet as such but very nice nevertheless

On the far side of the wood we crossed a couple of small fields with trees where sheep were enjoying the shade…

Public footpath near Llanarmon, photographed by Charles Hawes

… before entering a very small confier plantation that reached down to the river.

small conifer plantation near Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, photographed by Charles Hawes

Whether by the hand of man or God, the wood was in a bit of state with many fallen trees. At the bottom a weir was marked on the map but we didn’t see any evidence of any possible crossing so we returned on the track we had taken and then spied a stile leading us back to the straight and narrow.

Stile at the eadge of a small conifer wood near llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, photographed by Charles Hawes

The next field brought us to the edge of the churchyard…

… where we paused to admire the unusual architecture of  the Victorian church of St Garmon.

St Garmon church, Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, photographed by Charles Hawes

From there was just a couple of hundred yards to the pub where, after a shower, we enjoyed a couple of pints with some crib (small win by me), a good meal (duck for me, steak for Bob) and then rather a lot more pints in the bar.  How was the knee, you ask? No problems, thanks.

 

 

 

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Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)