Report from Len.
8:00 start from The Oak car park for seven eager walkers looking forward to a riverside stroll from Bucknell a large village 4 miles east of Knighton followed by ascent of two hills, both via upland pasture and woodland.
Start point for the walk is another pub car park: the Baron at Bucknell. Just half a mile of country lane led on to bridlepath for a pleasant riverside walk alongside the River Redlake passing an impressive line of redwoods leading on to the Chapel Lawn road. Just half a mile of quiet country road before turning N. E. at Upper Lye through a field gate for our first taste of “uphill”. A good steady pull now through enclosed pasture and a dingle at Honeyhole, a great name for a secluded cottage. Climbing steadily, good views of Caer Caradog and Bucknell wood came into view with Buzzard overhead. We now entered Hopton Wood, first having a read of the information guide provided by the Forestry Commission. The Commission has provided a network of cycle trails through both Hopton and Bucknell Hill woods, very good they looked too. Level forest track for a mile now with views down Darky Dale towards Bedstone and over the wonderfully named holding of Gripesnest with pasture dotted with ant nests. A good place to look for Green Woodpecker on another day, on my recce of the walk there were Roe Deer here, but out of luck today. A sharp turn North now taking to a cycle trail for our ascent to the summit of Hopton Titterhill, a good pull up here building an appetite for our lunch break on the summit. A grassy knoll surrounded by gorse marks the high point; sadly the surrounding trees have grown so tall that our views were obscured.
Post lunch we set off down through a most pleasant woodland walk passing an unusual plantation of firs that had been sawn off just over head height and were now being managed to produce seed for tree nurseries, looked similar to a very large orchard, none of us had even heard of such an operation. We now arrived back at the F. C information point and headed due South to climb Bucknell Hill, again this is tree clad, not as steep as earlier ascent, but plenty of birdsong with the sun desperately trying to break through the clouds. Over the ridge and now a gradual descent now through the wood, followed by metalled track past Vermont cottage. Titterstone Clee hill came into view over to our left and Bucknell straight ahead at the valley bottom. But first we turn South West on to a bridleway bordered by wonderful thickets of gorse and briar, rabbit heaven. After a succession of gates we are back alongside the River Redlake for a gentle stroll back to the cars.
A good day out, 8 miles, dry overhead and dry underfoot, can’t be bad for mid April. Thanks to all who came and all who drove with a special ‘thank you’ to Mike Starr for publishing the walk and being so helpful when I rang him to plan todays walk.