Post image for Cambrian Way day 18: Cwmystwyth to Dyffryn Castell

Cambrian Way day 18: Cwmystwyth to Dyffryn Castell

June 11, 2017 · 15 comments

A  relatively gentle walk  followed by a dramatic crossing of the Rheidol river at Devil’s Bridge – rather spoiled in the second half of the day by a very painful knee.

Date walked: March 28th  2017

Distance: around 12 miles

Map used: OS Explorer 187 – Llandovery and OS Explorer 213- Aberystwyth and Cwm Rheidol

Guide book: The Cambrian Way (7th edition) by A.J.Drake

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The forecast wasn’t great for today, but it could have been worse. Having enjoyed our breakfast at the Black Lion Inn at Pontrhydfendigaid (I’m so glad that I won’t have to type that name out again) we drove Neil and Paul’s car to our finishing point, left Neil’s there and returned  to where we had  finished yesterday at Cwmystwyth leaving Paul’s car there (I do hope you have got the hang of this by now).

Starting the Cambrian Way from Cwmystwyth, photographed by Charles Hawes

Waterproofs at the ready

The day started with an upset as once again I saw that this out-of-the way settlement was receiving Superfast Broadband (when my not-out-of-the-way community is not).

Superfast broadband pole in Cwmystwyth, photographed by Charles Hawes

Though I have since realised that a sign on a pole does not mean that a connection has been made

We paused to admire the Siloam chapel...

Silome chapel, Cwmystwyth, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

I’m kicking myself that we did not see if we could go in

…. before we left the road and followed a track north in Cwm Glas. There was a curious little hut by the side of the track, similar to another in someones garden.

Hut in garden at Cwm Gla, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Actually this one in the garden was more ordinary

The Cwm contains a little lively stream called Nant Cae glas.

Nanyt Cae Glas, photographed from the Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

Thus providing a pleasant soundscape to start the day

The track  reached a little single storey cottage  called Ty’n -y-rhyd and stopped. We couldn’t see where we were supposed to go, so crossed the stream and skirted the property to reach a reedy field. The guidebook refers to an ill-defined path and boggy ground here and we concur.

Cambrian Way near Cwmystwyth, photographed by Charles Hawes

It was soft and wet underfoot and not much fun

After half a mile of this energy sapping terrain we entered a wood which was considerably easier walking.

Unmaned wood near Devils Bridge, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Well actually it was a bit tricky at times

In the middle of the wood Gelmast farm (it has an interesting history) had several acres of pasture, but what struck me was a colony of plants that I couldn’t name.

Gelmast Farm. Ceredigion, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

As ever, always keen to be informed by my readers

As we left the farm, we climbed a little higher, giving us a pleasant view over the surrounding countryside.

View from Gelmast farm. photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Though some might complain about the amount of plantation woodland

We crossed the road between Devils Bridge and Cwmystwyth where a stone arch, a picnic table and a car combined to make a mini Tourist Feature.

The Arch near Devils Bridge, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

If not very popular at this time of the year

With visitors, of course, comes the bagged dog poo.

Car park at The Arch, near Devil's Bridge, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I reckon there should be a hefty Dog Owner Tax

The arch was a commemorative  tribute to the jubilee of King George III in 1810.

Plaque on the arch near Devil's Bridge photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

See, I can read! Hafod, by the way is a nearby estate with the remnants of landscape garden in the Picturesque style

The road crossed, our path took a track heading in the direction of Devil’s Bridge, the misty atmosphere threatening but still failing to give us the soaking we had been expecting.

View towards Devil's Bridge, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I do love a bit of mist

On a nicer day, this would be a lovely drive.

Devil's Bridge to Cwmystwyth road, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Or bicycle ride – at least the downhill bit

After another half a mile walking through a conifer wood…

Wood above the Devil's Bridge to Cwmystwyth road, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Even conifer woods make for a pleasant tramp

… we emerged into open fields, where a new-born lamb lay on the ground, its mother still hovering around its lifeless body.

Body of a new born lamb, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

A sad sight – and difficult to explain

I’ll spare you the other corpse we came across.

We had agreed we were ready for a lunch stop and at the far end of the field, at the rather charmingly named Coed y Bobol….

Entrance to Coed y Bobol near Devil's Bridge, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

But who are The People?

…..we found a picnic table and benches. Hurrah.

Lunch in Coed y Bobol near Devil's Bridge, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Yes, I have 3G (thanks to Paul for making me look so rough)

At this point it seems that my camera had a breakdown and I found later that although it was pretending to take pictures, none appeared to get to the memory card, so from here on I am grateful to Neil and Paul for their  contributions.

After lunch we had another short walk through a field before arriving at the A4120 at Devil’s Bridge. Despite this village being at the heart of a major thread running through one of Neil and my  (but not Anne’s who can’t see Richard Harrington without groaning)  TV series  –Hinterland – I have no pics of the place to show you. So here’s a rather poor pic of a Kite I took earlier.

Kite photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

“Kite” – it’s an in-joke

Well, it was quite drizzly and it’s not much of a village really; just a lot of dead bodies scattered around and buried in gardens.

We crossed over the main road and began to descend into the Rheidol valley. Below us the Vale of Rheidol Railway snaked its way though the valley, heading for Aberystwyth.

Rheidol Valley railway, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Neil Smurthwaite

It was around here that I began to get a pain in my left knee.  And we still had a lot of descent to do.

The Rheidol Valley photographed from The Cambran Way by Neil Smurthwaite

And the going down is always harder on the knees than going up.

By the time we got to the bottom of the valley I was in quite a lot of pain so I paused at a footbridge to apply an ibuprofen gel and popped a couple of paracetamol. Sadly this went unrecorded by my companions.

The river crossed  (Check Point No.18 of the Cambrian Way), we turned sharp right, following a small road that  used to serve a nearby mine.  We stopped here for a mini- break. Behind us the old lead mine was fenced off, the high chain link fence carrying warning signs of serious health risk of poisoning from toxic waste to those considering climbing it.

Here’s an extract from wikipedia:

This mine, together with numerous other metal mines in the valley, has been a source of extreme metal pollution of the river right down to the sea. Even when the mine was closed, a major blowout of water contained in an adit in the late 1960s coloured the whole river an ochre orange colour and greatly added to the concentrations of lead and zinc in the river. Management of the waters still draining from the mine is by the use of constructed wetlands. Previous management includes a limestone filter bed, installed in the 1960s, which is now redundant. The filter bed is still in place and can be seen from the road.”

The river looked clean enough, but perhaps not a place to fill up your water bottle.

River Rheidol near Devil's Bridge, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Neil Smurthwaite

Probably best not to fish the river, either

Our route intended  that we make a steep climb up through Coed Pen-Rhiw towards Ystumtuen, but to try and avoid stressing my knee we agreed to take a longer horse-shoe route that forms part of the Borth to Devils Bridge to Pontrhydfendigaid (dam, I thought I had left that place behind) Trail.  We still had to climb quite a bit, giving us some great glimpses of the Rheidol valley…

The Rheidol Valley, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Paul Steer

A particularly beautiful pic from Paul here

…and then one of its tributaries, the Tuen.  The bracken covered slopes of this little valley were a delight.

The Tuen valley, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Neil Smurthwaite

Splendid – even on such a misty day. Neil’s, this one.

As were the trees, which had not yet broken into leaf.

The Tuen Valley photographed from The Cambrian Way by Neil Smurthwaite

This gem from Neil

Ystumtuen  was quiet. No signs of any hippies (read the link).

Ystumtuen, photographed from the Cambrian way by Paul Steer

I reckon all the hippies have left town

Or maybe they were holed up in the chapel

Chapel Ystumtuen photographed from the Cambrian Way by Paul Steer

Chapel Ystumtuen

I think we may have had a bit of rain here, as the next picture my friends took was of Parson’s Bridge about a mile away. The mile had required a bit of an up and quite a bit of a down – which had left me in considerable pain again.

Parsons Bridge near Ystumtuen photographed from the Cambrian Way by Neil Smurthwaite

Putting on a brave face

Dyffryn Castell was still  two or three of miles away and Neil offered to go ahead to get the car and meet me at the nearest road to the path but with another dose of painkillers I kept going. Heroic, I know.  From Parson’s Bridge to a road was about a mile, with a fair bit more of up and down. Its wasn’t much fun, but as we reached the A4120 we came across  the church of St John The Baptist at Ysbyty Cynfyn.  The church wall had three standing stones within it, which I thought worthy of whipping out my iphone for, despite the drizzle.

Wall of St John The Baptist church, Ysbyty Cynfyn, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Which came first?

The stones may be a pre-historic stone circle, but may not.

From here back to the car was road walking – or in my case limping. Neil headed off at speed, intent on saving me as much of this not very inspiring end to the day. Paul went ahead, too but then stopped because he didn’t know where Neil was. Neil caught us up with the car about 1/2 a mile from Dyffryn Castell – for which I was very grateful. That’s half a mile extra I must do when we return. Whenever that will be. I need to get this knee sorted first. The next walk will be a biggy!

I must stop teasing you with this knee issue. What I did was to get my GP to make a referral to an Orthopaedic surgeon who, after an MRI scan, diagnosed that I have a “complex posterial medial meniscal tear”. He performed an arthroscopy on June 1st from which I am currently recovering. If you are very lucky the full story may be published as a separate post.

It looks so innocent, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Steer June 11, 2017 at 8:19 am

Nooooo ! Not a whole post just about your knee please nooooo ! The landscape was fascinating – post industrial but being reclaimed by nature. It got very wet – my camera has not completely recovered – has yours ??

Reply

Charles June 11, 2017 at 9:39 am

Hush now – my public may demand more knee. Yes, my camera has recovered – whats wrong with yours?

Reply

Paul Steer June 11, 2017 at 9:24 pm

Has a spotty display screen – moisture got in and has still not dispersed completely !?

Reply

Charles June 12, 2017 at 10:11 am

Oh dear. Might be difficult for moisture to get out. Suggest keeping it in airing cupboard for a bit.

Reply

John Kingdon June 11, 2017 at 9:39 am

I guess the standing stone preceded the caravan. The plant looks like butterbur. Glad you got that knee problem (that’s more of a tongue-twister than the place where the Black Lion is) fixed. I’d add my vote to Paul’s and say you can leave us to imagine the gory details, thanks.

Reply

Charles June 12, 2017 at 10:09 am

Butterbur, thanks. I’m hoping the knee is fixed but won’t be able to tell until I am back in the “mountains”. Your vote will be noted. But this is not a democracy.

Reply

Anne Wareham June 11, 2017 at 3:40 pm

Yes, your fellow walkers need to know about knees. Vulnerable for all of them, so best to be as well informed as possible. Great pics after your camera died in sympathy with your knee – well done Paul and Neil! Xxxx

Reply

Charles June 12, 2017 at 10:18 am

Just hoping i can get the pics from the hospital. Yes, with a bit of tweaking the boys pics came out alright.

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Meta June 11, 2017 at 9:23 pm

I very much enjoy reading your blog and I am happy you have that knee taken care off.
Wishing you a speedy recovery.p

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Kev the Colonial June 12, 2017 at 12:46 am

I love the misty landscapes! Sorry to hear about your meniscus… That was my injury in my right knee. Although I recovered enough to walk the walk again! Except now I have plantar fasciitus in my right heel, so it is pretty darned painful to walk (again). I, for one, look forward to your dedicated Knee Posting!

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Charles June 12, 2017 at 10:17 am

A kindred spirit. I gather your knee op was not very successful? If I do an arthroscopy post I hope you’ll comment in full. Sorry about the heel. As they say in Yorkshire, “there’s always summut”

Reply

Paul Clarke June 13, 2017 at 7:34 pm

I suffered a medial ligament injury many years ago playing Sunday League football. I feel your pain.

Reply

Charles June 13, 2017 at 9:44 pm

Thanks Paul. Funny thing was that i could still do reasonable distances without discomfort. Stitches out tomorrow.

Reply

Neil Smurthwaite June 14, 2017 at 11:57 am

A lovely days wander around Devils Bridge. Other than your painful downhill sections. Glad our back-up service was useful….
🙂

Reply

Charles June 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm

It was very reassuring. Hope we can get back on the path soon.

Reply

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