Post image for Cambrian Way: Day 5 and 6 – Llanfoist to Forest Coalpit

Cambrian Way: Day 5 and 6 – Llanfoist to Forest Coalpit

May 1, 2016 · 21 comments

 

Date walked: 19th February and 10th March 2016 (see below)

Distance: around 9 miles

Map used: OS Explorer OL13 – Brecon Beacons National Park (Eastern Area)

Guide: Cambrian Way by A.J.Drake (7th edition) and website 

******************

OK, here’s the thing. We felt that we didn’t want to finish the last walk by walking across Abergavenny – which was just as well as it was dark and we were tired when we got to the bottom of Blorenge. And Neil didn’t want to start the next walk by traipsing across town. So we came up with a plan to just meet up, have lunch and a catch up somewhere in Abergavenny and get to a nice point to start the next day’s walk.

We met at the end of a lane (as points go it was nice enough) that leads to the base of Sugar Loaf, leaving Neil’s car there…..

Cambrian Way outside Abergavenny, photographed by Charles Hawes

Taken, of course at the end of the walk, which was really the middle. Kinda

…. and taking mine back to the car park at Llanfoist.

Llanfoist on the Cambrian Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

Just because we were only crossing town, doesn’t mean that Neil would neglect his map reading role

Togged up, the road back towards town gave us a misty view ahead to Sugar Loaf – our destination for the next walk.

View to Sugar Loaf from Llanfoist, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

It then went under the A465…

Underpass of the A465, at Llanfoist photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Always like tunnels

…… passing an old oak that had an old metal circular seat at its base…..

Oak tree with metal circular seat at Llanfoist, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

…. which the tree was slowly taking it into itself.

Oak tree with metal circular seat at Llanfoist, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

How long before it totally disappears?

Time for lunch.  (I know, what a pair of lightweights). The road joined the A 4143 and we made a detour right to the nearby Waitrose (that’s a first for any walk of mine), where Neil did a quick map check.

Waitrose, Abergavenny, photographed by Charles Hawes

You can’t be too careful crossing metropolises the size of Abergavenny

I think I had two cakes and Neil something more worthy. Should have taken a pic, really.

Fuelled and caught up, we headed back to the river Usk and its crossing.

Crossing the Usk on the Cambrian Way at Abergavenny, photographed by Charles Hawes

No, Neil hasn’t put on that much weight- he’s just got his hands in his pockets.

After that we had about 3/4 mile of suburban streets before reaching the rural lane on the north side of town at the top of which Neil’s car was parked.

The Cambrian Way outside Abergavenny, photographed by Charles Hawes

Like I said, you can’t be too careful

Being adventurous types we thought we would take the more scenic route via Sunny Vale…

Cambrian Way approaching Sugar Loaf, photographed by Charles Hawes

Which wasn’t very sunny today

…and cross the valley….

Charles Hawes on the Cambrian Way near Abergavenny

I am trying not to smile but almost failing

…. and the  bridge over the Afon Cibi….

Bridge over the Afon Cibi, photographed by Charles Hawes

Bet sheep don’t like this bridge

… followed by a squelchy tramp through a field back to the car. You can see why making this day a whole post would have been stretching your patience somewhat.

March 10th

I know Forest Coalpit for several reasons, to be revealed in the next post. We met at a lay-by there where we left my car and took Neil’s (I think) back to our last finishing point on the north side of Abergavenny. (You’ve got the hang of this two-car thing now, haven’t you?).

With a view to Sugar Loaf ahead, and a “Way to Hill” sign pointing our way, we had no difficulty finding out path.

Footpath sign near Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Mind you, it could be referring to another hill

We were in a little valley belonging to the National Trust called Parc Lodge.

National Trust sign for Parc Lodge, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

according to the website the place “nestles” below Sugar Loaf. Yuk.

The map calls this The Park and there is a Parc Lodge Farm further uphill. It was a medieval deer park.

Our track took us through an oak wood. Too early for the leaves to have broken bud, the sun was making the most of the trees’ moss-covered branches.

Parc Lodge, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I love woods at this time of year, when you can see the structure of the trees

Too early, too, for the docile sheep to have had their lambs.

Sheep of Parc Lodge Farm, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Now a sheep park

Leaving the farm track, the path now became defined by the more trampled appearance of the closely grazed grass.

Lower slopes of Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I do like that sky: it’s amazing what a graduated filter can do.

We were warm enough, but over to our left the higher parts of the Beacons were still hanging onto some snow.

Lower slopes of Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

No many walkers – or sheep – or any other wildlife

The climb up Sugar Loaf  is very gentle really, but we still stopped once or twice to catch our breath.

Approaching Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Neil galloping up the hill

It’s a popular destination , and all approaches to its modest 1995 feet summit are well-worn.

Near the summit of Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I always feels a little guilty knowing that I am making this happen

Pole position at the trig point had been taken when we arrived but we were happy enough to sit with our backs to the sun for a bit and have something to eat.

Trig point on Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

It’s surprising how many people take their dogs up big hills for a walk

And although it is nearly 1000 feet less high than Pen – Y -Fan (that pleasure to come) the views were still pretty impressive.

Cambrian way day 5-15

Somewhat zoomed in

Popular summits always seem to attract those who want to make a mark on the world. Here we found several stones that had been carved.

Carved stone on Pen-y-Fan, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I don’t suppose anyone would have the patience to do this now – and they would probably be committing an offence if they did.

Neil loves the high bits of our walks the best, and required a snap of him being exuberant.

Near the summit of Sugar Loaf, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

An excellent portrayal of exuberance, I think

Not that I am saying that Neil spoils a good view, but here’s that shot without him.

Near the summit of Sugar Loaf, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I seem to have made the sky more “moody” for this one

According to the map, the way down would require a bit of a back track. We could see a more direct route, where a farm track cut a swathe through the bracken and then disappeared.

Lower slopes of Sugar Loaf, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Clearly more than a sheep path

This was fine, at first, easing us down the hillside, passing a flock of surprised sheep.

Lower slopes of Sugar Loaf, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Take from me, they all have surprised expressions

Below us was the very obviously posh property of Craig y bwla.

Cambrian way day 5-23

Around here the track seemed to disappear and we were left scrambling down the hillside through the bracken. It was quite steep to the little stream of Cwm Nant-du where I hope we would find a footpath to another at the base of the hill.

Cwm Nant du photographed by Charles Hawes

There was a path of sorts, but the gate in the fence was locked and as the alternative was to climb back up the hill we climbed over. We followed the steam down the hill, enjoying the sun shining sideways through the bare trees, until we did meet the path we were expecting.

Near Forest Coalpit, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

It looked so much more “lit up” than this

A stile was a reassuring sign that we were back on a Right of Way …

Near Forest Coalpit, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

…..but rather than take this path down to the road, we followed the contour of the hillside in the road’s direction to Deri Cottage whose owners had erected a rather nice hut in one of their fields.

Deri Cottage, near Forest Coalpit, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Now that’s a fancy hut

Our path went round the back of this property and then became a track passing  the mossy stone wall of Pwll y Hwyaid.

Cambrian way day 5-32

This track joined the road the road just above Forest Coalpit, from where it was a few hundred yards back to the car. A very nice walk. More soon.

 

 

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil May 1, 2016 at 7:40 am

One can never be too careful finding ones way around the entrances to Waitrose….

A couple of nice easy strolls, preparing us for our next two ‘proper’ walks !! 🙂

(Nice write up !)

Reply

Charles May 1, 2016 at 3:45 pm

No, indeed. I doubt there will be another Waitrose on the route.

Reply

Anne Wareham May 1, 2016 at 10:06 am

Love the visit to the metropolise of Abergavenny. You ccould have given us more pics of that!
Xxx

Reply

Charles May 1, 2016 at 3:43 pm

Humph. Ok, will run the spell check again , which will make your remark bite you back.

Reply

John May 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm

You used “metropolises”. You were talking plural. Though, technically, whilst “metropolis” is a Greek word, it has come to English through Latin and, in Latin, the plural would be “metropoles”. Anyhow, your blog is free to read (unlike Anne’s last book) so at least we’re not paying for *your* typos.

Reply

Charles May 1, 2016 at 5:55 pm

I would like it be known that on further spell checking, WordPress is quite happy with “metropolises”. One or two other issues have been resolved, thank you.

Reply

John May 1, 2016 at 10:30 am

Do you know when Ordnance Survey will start producing maps of the interiors of Asdas? And where does Neil get his self-cleaning shoes? You may have noticed they were cleaner at the end of day 1 (the last photo in the beginning) than when he was leaning against your car at the start.

Interesting bit of Welsh exaggeration too! In English it’s simply a “way” to a “hill”. In Welsh it’s a proper “path” to a big “mountain”. So it’s good you only speak English – the climb up was obviously a lot easier.

Reply

Charles May 1, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Questions I don’t know the answers to. Though Neil ought to be able to explain his shoes. Thanks for the translation.

Reply

James Golden May 1, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Very effective portrayal of exuberance. I prefer the shot with Neil.

Reply

Charles May 1, 2016 at 3:39 pm

Excellent. He will be irrepressible now….

Reply

Julia May 1, 2016 at 2:36 pm

Lovely, like reading a favourite comic strip – known characters and scenario but the odd hiccup still engages.

Reply

Charles May 1, 2016 at 3:38 pm

That’s quite a fun idea. Maybe an Enid Blyton episode?

Reply

Kev the Yank May 1, 2016 at 9:13 pm

Okay, a little help here for those of us in the Colonies who are thusly culturally uninformed… What type of establishment is a Waitrose? Can you purchase Self-cleaning shoes at a Waitrose?? Do they come in American sizes??? I have to say your Welsh mountains are an even match for our Illinois mountains, but we don’t have signs denoting them… why is that???? And lastly, what exactly is an “Enid Blyton episode” and can you get one at a Waitrose?????

Reply

Charles May 1, 2016 at 10:23 pm

My apologies, Kevin. I forget that when you live in the middle of a very large and very foreign country, there will be aspects of my references to British culture that will escape you. Waitrose is our poshest supermarket chain. We don’t have many in Wales, but they built one on Anglesey so that Prince William could eat decent food. Self – cleaning shoes are fairly standard in my household and have been for most of my life. But no, Waitrose do not sell shoes. I presume you don’t have many mountains in Illinois, so don’t need signs for them. We have lots in Wales Enid Blyton wrote a lot of soppy children’s books; my generations parents would read them to us nightly in order to get us to sleep. I think the younger generation get better stories now, but sadly they can’t read them for themselves.

Reply

Kev the Yank May 2, 2016 at 12:21 am

The highest elevation in Illinois is a wondrous 1235 feet above sea level. This ranks Illinois as 45th of the 50 states in elevation… kinda humbling it is… But we DO have sheep!!! And poison ivy! But alas, no Waitrose, so unlike Prince William, we have NOWHERE to get good food here.

Reply

Charles May 2, 2016 at 8:24 am

Well, I hope you appreciate the sheep, poor hungry folk that you are.

Reply

Paul Steer May 1, 2016 at 10:32 pm

The tree consuming the iron bench is sinister in a Dr Who -ish way. Happy Birthday for tomorrow old man !

Reply

David Marsden May 3, 2016 at 5:38 am

Better stories than Enid Blyton? Better than Shadow the Sheepdog? I don’t think so. Nice post, Charles. Metal eating trees are the bane of ‘my’ tree surgeon’s life. An ancient barbed wire strand effortlessly broke all the teeth on his chainsaw recently when he felled tree. Invisible, it ran through the centre of the trunk. Thought I’d share that with you. You think you’re posh? I started my recent walk in the Winchester M&S food hall. Now that’s posh. D

Reply

Charles May 8, 2016 at 2:21 pm

I should have known that I was on thin ice making disparaging remarks about EB. Truth is, I remember very little of her work. Worse still, Shadow doesn’t ring any bells. Was he the one that becomes paranoid schizophrenic and goes on a killing spree of his flock? BTW I gather EB was a nudist. Anyway, enough of my damaged psyche. Interesting that you see M&S as more posh than Waitrose. My American readers will be hopelessly confused now, but I take a very liberal view about comments as you know.

Reply

Kev May 8, 2016 at 3:15 pm

Yep…. HOPELESSLY confused…. The Mrs insists that is a permanent condition though. I’m not sure what she means…

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post:

Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)