Cambrian Way near Dylife, Wales, photographed by Charles Hawes

Cambrian Way day 20: Dylife to Commins Coch

December 24, 2017 · 22 comments

A  delightful walk along the Cambrian Way in Powys, from Dylife to Commins Coch crossing several valleys. The Cambrian Way guide describes this as “undulating”- we rated it as rather more demanding than that sounds.

Date walked: 25th October 2017

Distance: 9.3 miles according to the guide-book

Map used: OS Explorer 215: Newtown & Machynlleth

Guide book: Cambrian Way by A.J. Drake

Where we stayed: Y Star Inn, Dylife

*******

You may have noticed that we did not walk yesterday. Having been soaked to the skin the day before and  as it  had continued to rain, Paul and I had agreed at our breakfast conference that yesterday was not a walking day. We went to Machynlleth instead,  where we visited MOMA  (some good things though the “local” section was a bit ordinary) and had a tea and very nice apple strudel in a cafe where Paul sketched this pic of me.

Sketch of Charles Hawes by Paul Steer

Strictly speaking he was interested in the doorway; my huge right hand was a sly joke

But today we were greeted by blue skies. Hurrah. And by a faulty fire-alarm. Boo. Having succeeded in getting half a fresh tomato in my cooked breakfast yesterday, rather than the tinned mush on day 1, today chef couldn’t find any mushrooms which was a bitter blow which we coped with valiantly.

Y Star Inn, Dylife, photographed by Charles Hawes

I liked this place but it needs to get a decent draught Real Ale in and I’ve a few other niggles

The round trip to Commins Coch to leave Pauls car at our finish took about an hour and by 11 we were on our way.

I had downloaded our route onto my phone but it took less than a mile before we found ourselves unsure of our path.  At at waterfall of the Nant Bryn-moel…

Nant Bryn-Moel near Dylife, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Yes, small as waterfalls go

…, the map shows a clear footpath heading north. I think what we followed was more frequented by sheep, and then not that often.

Cambrian Way near Dylife, photographed by Charles Hawes

However, up ahead we did enjoy a scree slope which was clearly used by sheep as a training ground for path-making.

The Cambrian Way near Dylife, photographed by Charles Hawes

I can think of no other explanation for this intricate cross-crossing design

The path we were on seem to peter out, and after a bit of wandering around we found a gate…

Cambrian Way near Dylife, photographed by Charles Hawes

Gates are always encouraging

…and some sheep.

Cambrian Way near Dylife, photographed by Charles Hawes

The sheep were also encouraging

I was especially happy when we came to some sheep folds, because,  though not shown on the map, I could see that we were definitely back on our path.

Sheep folds on Cambrian Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

Paul was probably not convinced

The next mile or so across open moor was wonderful.

Cambrian Way, near Dylife, photographed by Charles Hawes

The path was clear and firm and we had the most beautiful warm light. Over to our left were deeply incised valleys containing waterfalls that we could hear though only glimpse.

Cambrian Way near Dylife, photographed by Charles Hawes

Ahead, a beautiful landscape of intersecting valleys covered in a patchwork of differing vegetation.

View from the Cambrain Way near Dylife, Wales, photographed by Charles Hawes

It’s a cliché I know, but I felt as if I was being drawn in

Pause for a map check.

View from the Cambrian Way near Dylife, photographed by Paul Steer

Thanks to Paul for the pic

We did a lot of exclaiming to each other about how fabulous it was as we gently descended towards a large sheep fold.

The Cambrian Way near Dylife, Wales, photographed by Charles Hawes

The views that kept stopping us in our tracks were all to the west.

View from the Cambrian Way near Dylife, Wales, photographed by Charles Hawes

View from The Cambrian Way near Dylife, Wales, photographed by Charles Hawes

View from the Cambrian Way near Dylife, Wales, photographed by Charles Hawes

Just too many great pics to share all of them

As we neared the bottom of the hill we saw again a patch of the strange, white, gloopy stuff we had seen some of on our first day.

Someone out there must know what this is?

The woods of Banc Rhoswydol had been cleared some time ago and the empty slopes replanted; we made use of the wide forestry road to climb up the other side of the valley.

Forestry track through Banc Rhoswydol photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

The clearing of the woods had opened up the views surrounding us.

View from Banc Rhoswydol, photographed from The Cambrian Way, Wales, by Charles Hawes

Spot the waterfalls

We took the opportunity of  the wide tree-stumps to have a sit and a drink.

Charles Hawes photographed from the Cambrian Way by Paul Steer

Pauls pic, of course. Gosh what a furrowed brow.

I took a pic of Paul that I was quite pleased with as we finished our break.

Paul Steer, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Light and shade

We continued to climb through the woods towards the peak of Moelfre Fach, revealing one of the many arrays of the wind turbines that desecrate many parts of this special but unprotected landscape.

View from the Cambrian Way near Moelfre Fach, photographed by Charles Hawes

OK, they may not look very intrusive at this distance but closer to…

The path veered north-eastwards, away from the woods ….

View from the Cambrain Way near Moelfre Fach, photographed by Charles Hawes

….and taking us on a good track across heather-covered moor.

Cambrain Way on the edge of Waun Tyisaf, photographed by Charles Hawes

We enjoyed these upland views for about a mile, passing a few ponds…

Cambrain Way on edge of Waun Tyisaf, photographed by Charles Hawes

…. before dropping quite steeply towards a little road in the bottom of the valley.

View from the Cambrain Way between Dylife and Commins Coch, photographed by Charles Hawes

We both enjoyed this tapestry of trees

We crossed the road at Bwlch Glynmynydd.

Bwlch Glynmynydd, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

There seemed nothing here to require or deserve a name excepting a carved stone and a finger-post.

Carved stone at Bwlch Glynmynydd, photographed by Charles Hawes

On the reverse was “Rob Moss 1953-2011”. I wonder if he died here or just liked the place?

The forest of Ffridd Dolgadfan had also been cleared long ago (but may be naturally regenerating), leaving stumps interspersed with some fine grasses…..

Ffridd Dolgadfan, photographed from the Cambrain Way by Charles Hawes

….. and the occasional dead but still standing tree.

Ffridd Dolgadfan, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Why do foresters leave such occasional trees? Is it for bugs?

The path was shown cutting through the far corner of the wood. The trees were still there but there was no path. A small point as we simply had to carry on a few extra hundred yards but misleading nevertheless. Then it was back to open countryside and lovely views as we dropped down the side of Myndd Lluestcethingrych.

Cambrain Way near Mynydd Lluestcethingrych, photographed by Charles Hawes

This indigestible name also appears to be attached to the ruin that we came across towards the bottom of the hill.  Before reaching it we had to cross a field of beet……

Field of beet on the Cambrian Way near Commins Coch, photographed by Charles Hawes

The farmer should keep the footpath open so we walked straight across

… at the edge of which was a wonderful wind-sculpted oak.

Oak tree on the Cambrian Way near Commins Coch, photographed by Charles Hawes

Much flatter topped than it would be normally

There is not a lot left of the house that was Lluest-cethingrych.

Lluest-cethngrych, near Commins Coch, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Living in such an isolated spot must have been challenging but one has to envy the view they had had.

Just some walls….

Lluest-cethngrych, near Commins Coch, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

….and a doorway that may not last much longer.

Lluest-cethngrych, near Commins Coch, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Nice stone to work with, though, if rather thin

Next to the cottage was the skeleton of a young horse.

Skeleton of horse on Cambrian Way near Commins Coch, photographed by Charles Hawes

I hadn’t come across a decent skeleton for ages

The flora doesn’t get enough attention from me on these walks; next to the cottage was a hawthorn that was hanging on to its brilliant berries.

Hawthorn in berry on Cambrian Way near Commins Coch, photographed by Charles Hawes

The track that leads to the cottage climbs gently up the side of the hill. We gave way to a farmer pulling a trailer containing some sheep.

Tractor on the Cambrian Way near Commins Coch, photographed by Charles Hawes

Near the top of this climb we had a break to admire the view. I think Paul’s injured groin from our first day (he thinks it is a hernia!) was troubling him so he took a couple of co-codamol.

Cambrian Way near Commins Coch, photographed by Charles Hawes

Our track led us down passed a farm building to a minor road. I got a bit confused at this point and we tried two different directions, much to Paul’s annoyance, until we chose with some confidence a track that headed north into the woods called Coed Bryneinion.

Much of this wood had also been cleared, giving us a view below of a small stream and a broad-leaved wood with some subtle autumn colours that had been left.

View from the Cambrian Way of Coed Bryneinion, near Commins Coch, photographed by Charles Hawes

Another thing I don’t comment on much is the content of my conversations but I remember that it was about here that Paul told me that he was thinking of going back to college to do an MA in fine art (he has subsequently been accepted by a college in Swansea to start part-time next year).

The Cambrian Way approaching Commins Coch, photographed by Charles Hawes

At the far side of the wood we need to take a path dropping down to the River Twymyn. At the top of the path Paul noticed a wildflower which I don’t remember seeing before. Paul knew its common name (and said that it was quite common) but it went in one ear and out the other so perhaps he will remind me when this comes out.

Flower on the Cambran Way near Commins Coch, photographed by Charles Hawes

Luckily for us, the steep path to the valley had only recently been cleared. From the amount of debris it would have been quite a battle to get through it before clearing. As it was the debris gave us much better grip on the slope.

Cambrian Way near Commins Coch, photographed by Charles Hawes

At the bottom of the wood was an open field with a view to an isolated property where the owners had made a garden stuffed with garden centre tat.  Paul greeted this with some enthusiasm and expressed the hope that it opened for the National Gardens Scheme.

House and garden near Commins Coch, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I couldn’t tell if his enthusiasm was ironic, though the  NGS is a broad church and I am sure that it would embrace it.

Garden near Commins Coch, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

This picture does not do the garden justice

At the road we needed to turn left and walk along it for half-a-mile before taking a final path through a field down to the village. Crossing the river we could see Pauls car by the railway bridge. Its always reassuring to see that no-one has nicked the car.

Railway bridge at Commins Coch, photographed from The Cambrian Way

It had been a great day’s walk but what was needed to make it perfect was tea and cake. One of the good things about The Star Inn is that they always have a nice cake on the counter. We got back there around 4.30 and to our delight the pub was open and a lemon drizzle cake was was waiting for us.  Perfect.

This post will be going out on Christmas Eve, so…..

Have a great Christmas everyone!!!!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob December 24, 2017 at 7:12 am

Lovely blog.photos excellent as usual.particularly like the Mynnd Llues etc.
Generally not enough photos include you Charles.i will address this issues when I’m with you.

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Charles December 24, 2017 at 10:01 am

Thanks, Bobby. Yes, more “me” pics next year!

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Matthew King December 24, 2017 at 9:15 am

Did that section earlier this year and also remember the difficulty in route finding near the Nant Bryn-moel waterfall. Great pics.

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Charles December 24, 2017 at 10:00 am

It’s always reassuring to hear others having the same difficulties keeping to a route. With not that many walking the Cambrian Way and with much fewer waymarks getting off-track is easily done!

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Anne Wareham December 24, 2017 at 10:03 am

Great views resulting in great pics. Getty will have them, I have no doubt! Xxxx

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Ian Thorpe December 24, 2017 at 11:18 am

And a happy Christmas to you, too!
Wonderful light and great images here.

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Charles December 24, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Thanks, Ian.

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John December 24, 2017 at 11:48 am

Must have been a better day than last time – you were smiling! Not surprising with views like that. I gled the Goo (get it?) after last time but couldn’t find anything that I hadn’t been told already. If you find any more, try tasting it (a small sacrifice for science) and let us know if you survive. 😉 I hope, by now, someone’s looked at Paul’s groin and whatever’s there can be put right (as your knee has been). Hope you and Anne have a great Christmas and that the New Year brings what you wish for (decent broadband).

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Charles December 24, 2017 at 5:25 pm

I tell you what, the next time I come across the gloop I’ll put some in a tub for you to taste! Maybe Paul will give us some Groin Update here? The Wales Government have written to say we won’t be getting fibre. I will be taking that up in the New Year.

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Charles December 24, 2017 at 5:26 pm

PS. Have a great Christmas yourself!!!!

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Neil December 24, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Looks like a fabulous walk. (At least you could see the amazing views). And some great pictures Charles ?

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Charles December 24, 2017 at 5:20 pm

We’ll be lucky if we have it so good when we do it.

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Kev the Yank December 25, 2017 at 4:57 pm

Charles, your artistry with the camera is unrivaled… These photos and the views they speak are FANTASTIC!!! wow…. Merry Christmas to you and Anne!
And what sort of pharmaceutical is a co-dammitall anyway???

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Charles December 25, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Thanks Kevin! And a Happy Christmas to you and Grace. It’s a combination of paracetamol and codeine. Makes my ears ring. Quite addictive.

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Grace December 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm

WOW. is all i have to say at the beautiful landscapes. i would like to point out that you mentioned envying the views when you got to the ruins; the views from your own garden are pretty spectacular as well. we’re going to be headed your way next summer, with any luck. merry, merry christmas to you and Anne.

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Charles December 25, 2017 at 11:34 pm

Hi Grace. I’m honoured that you should both drop by on Christmas Day. Do hope to see you next summer. Xx Charles

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Sue Owen December 28, 2017 at 7:58 am

The single trees are left as perches for birds of prey- that’s what I understand

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Charles December 28, 2017 at 9:37 am

Thanks, Sue. That would make sense.

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Paul Steer December 29, 2017 at 7:37 pm

Well that was a fine day with fine views (apart from the ones of me) – thank you for telling the blogosphere about my groin – it seems to have resolved itself ! The plant is a kind of Hawkweed – not sure of the Latin name but I’m sure John will know ? And no mention of the chaos caused by you boiling the kettle in your room – that was even more dramatic than my groin strain 🙂

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John December 29, 2017 at 8:35 pm

Charles will, of course, assume I’ve Googled it (he could have Warehamed it) but the genus is Hieracium. There are thousands of hawkweeds which means thousands of Latin names. And if I did Google, the results would probably be out of date thanks to some naming panel. They’re in the Aster family. Some of the Asters are now Symphiotrichums and Sedums aren’t any more (you don’t need to Google, the info’s been on my blog for ages). But your groin’s important to the future of the species. You ought to get it looked at. Maybe Charles could post some photos and we could all chip in with our advice. 😉 And if you mention these disastrous (we assume) Charles incidents, please provide decent information. Between your kettle and Bob’s final French frappe (Google it – crafty bit of alliteration don’t you think?) of cribbage we now have TWO episodes on which we await companion updates.

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Charles December 31, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Thanks, John, for all this. Though I think Paul has secured his genetic future – and besides I think he could manage, if so motivated, to cope with a bit of a strain if he wanted to sow some wild oats. As for the crib cliff hanger. Well it was like this

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Charles December 31, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Hiya. It’s good to share. Glad the groin is better. My mum wrote to say it was orange Hawkweed. Now about that chaos: I am still conflicted about it. I take no responsibility setting off the fire alarms by making a cup of tea where the pub had put the kettle. In fact I think that they should have apologised profusely to all of us that were staying there for disturbing us all and then taking ages to cancel the false alarm. But I do feel bad for causing concern to you by ignoring the fire alarm!

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