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Guilsfield Hill Walkers – Programme 2018

 Meet at THE OAK car park, Guilsfield, 10 minutes before departure time

Note: we leave the car park at the start time stated on the programme

The blanks will be filled in nearer the date – please keep checking

Notes:   T – Tuesday                                                                                  Version  2 – 08.02.2018


Date Details Dist Grade Time Leader
1 9th January Vyrnwy Forest Trails 6 Easy 9.00 Chris
2 23rd January T Local walk 6 Easy 9.00 Graham
3 11th February  ******    CANCELLED    ******
4 20th February T  Rhos y Gwaliau, Bala  6.75  Moderate  8.30 Peter
5 6th March T ******    CANCELLED    ****** Len
6 18th March Brian
7 10th April T Callow Batch and the Longmynd 9 Moderate 8.30 Chris
8 1st May T Devil’s Bridge Gorge (Weatherman Walking) 8 Strenuous 8.00 Graham
9 22nd May T Mach/Tr’e-‘ddol – bus back.  Bring your bus pass   TBC 10 Moderate 8.30 Len
10 10th June Kerry Ridgeway from Bishops Castle 11 Annie
11 24th June Peter
12 3rd July T Brian
13 17th July T Aber/Llanrhystud. Bus back. Coast path. Bring your bus pass 9 8.00 Len
14 31st July Craig-y-Llyn from Cregennen Lakes.  Arthog 7 Moderate 8.30 Chris
15 21st August T TRAIN DAY. Welshpool to Mach on train. Walk to Aberdyfi, train back. (£8.70 with railcard, £13.20 without.)   TBC MEET AT WELSHPOOL STATION 7.30 Len
16 16th September Annie
17 9th October T Peter
18 30th October T Brian
19 18th November Chris
20 27th November T Graham
21 16th December Crewgreen to Breidden Hill 7 Moderate 9.00 Annie
Please make sure you have appropriate kit for the day:  good walking boots; a full set of waterproofs and enough warm layers.

Take food for the day and sufficient liquid, take more liquid in hot conditions.

Please – no dogs allowed on any walks. 

All walkers attend at their own risk 

Contact Chris Hurrell for information

E-mail –

Phone – 01938 55 37 36


Brecon Bound

Image result for lorna doone filmA  0700  start from The Oak for 5 early risers, we must be keen.  First stop Llangurig, then south for the Brecon Beacons Mountain Centre near Libanus.  This is an excellent facility with a café, car park toilets etc, plus the food is good.  Here we met a most helpful National Park warden (related to the author! Ed) who pointed us in the right direction to visit the most beautiful and wildlife-rich National Nature Reserve known as Craig Cerrig Gleisiad and Fan Frynach.

0915 and off we go along the common towards Pyllin-brwnt before crossing several ancient meadows, (on the recce 4 weeks earlier these meadows were a mass of colour with every wildflower that was a familiar sight in the countryside pre C1960) breathtaking.  A quick sprint across the A4215, a step over stream and now for the serious business, a reasonably stiff climb for the next couple of hours on open mountain, a real delight to walk on ground that is dry underfoot but has a bit of give in it.

Plenty of pauses on the way up to admire the views back towards Brecon.  Unfortunately approaching the summit of Craig Cerrig Gleisiad we now had persistent rain, but not enough to spoil the day.  Chris spotted an overhanging rock about 10 metres below the cliff edge, we clambered down to the perfect shelter for lunch.  The cliff face is extensive, wild and steep, with panoramic views. Fortunately the rain eased and we spent a pleasant half an hour chatting and keeping an eye out for wildlife before continuing our walk along the cliff top, so many plants, over 500 species recorded.   Chris drew our attention to 2 lichen highlights:- Devil’s Matchstick and Fairy Cups (members of the Cladonia family.)  Having traversed the cliff we now looked down to the A470 where there were cars parked as far as the eye could see and across the valley a continuous line of people plodding up Pen y fan. What a contrast with this side, we met 2 other walkers all day.

Time now to retrace our footsteps for a gentle half hour walk before heading due west to reach the trig point on Foel Frynach.  So far so good, we now headed towards Craig Cwm Du, picking up the faint outline of a footpath that is only marked on early editions of OL12, our intention being to drop down to the hanging valley known as Cwm Du.  To add to our difficulties the heavens opened, however navigation was straightforward, just head for the base of the cliffs to our west and hope for the best.  Oh boy, were we rewarded, Cwm-du is a delight, hanging valleys are rare in the Brecon Beacons and this one is quite simply stunning, narrow sides, fast flowing stream, native wild Welsh Poppies, masses of Purple Saxifrage, too many Stonechats and Linnets to count and young Peregrine Falcons food calling from a nest on the cliff face.  The warden back at the Mountain Centre (related to the author! Ed) had informed us that a temporary village had been built here as a 17C Exmoor set for the film Lorna Doone.

All that remained now was a level, if rather long, walk back along a green lane and minor road to the common where we started.  Fortunately by this time the rain had ceased.  A walk of 10+ miles that will live long in the memory.

Thanks to Len Lewis for leading and for the report.

Changes to walk programme – 11th June

Hi all
Next walk: June 11th.  This was to be the Snowdon Train/Walk.  Did not work out, so the next walk will be:

JUNE 11th – 7.30am — (NOTE TIME CHANGE)

Moelwyn Mawr and Bach from Croesor

6½ miles – 2500 ft of climbing


We will take our time, no rushing, good views.  Three up bits – one of 10mins, one of 15mins and one of 20 mins.  Then the best walk-out at the end of the day that I know. Extensive views across Tremadog Bay and the Llyn Peninsular.  Plenty of opportunities for pedalo spotting.

Hope to see you on the 11th
01938 553736


A good day in Cwm Clettwr

Another good Annie-walk starting from Tre’r-ddôl, up Cwm Clettwr to the misty tops and back down with a sighting of otters: not to mention plenty of new-born lambs and tiny Welsh Black calves.

We welcomed Annie’s young friends – Kay and Matt – who joined us for the day and Yvonne joined us at Tre’r-ddôl making eight in all. Started walking at 9.30 up a good sunken lane heading generally east passing through some stunning oak woodland coming out on upland grazing with sheep and beef and fine views back towards Aberdyfi. (Not a pedalo in sight!) In bright and warm sunshine we continued east on a fine track with the vast empty hills of northern Ceredigion in front of us. This is a fabulous area and you can have it to yourself at any time of the year. It’s not amazingly high – 400 – 500 M – but a great empty landscape. Len the bird man spotted the first wheatear of the year plus a beautifully singing skylark.

We clambered over a seriously locked gate to face the leaping from rock to rock of the river crossing: most of us got to the other side  reasonably dry. Here we veered north and then north west onto the open hillside and scrambled up onto the ridge and by now the cloud was coming down as was the temperature.  Lunch was declared at the ‘armchairs’ – two arrangements of slabby rocks to make some rather comfy chairs for Kay and Matt. (Pics in the gallery) These are just to the west of Foel Goch on Carn Wen.

From here on it was generally down hill and back into Cwm Clettwr.  This is a nature reserve managed by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (Link) and is rich with wild flowers –  violets, wood sorrel, primroses, one or two bluebells just starting to show, wild strawberries in bloom, winter aconite and all sorts of wildlife – worth a visit on its own just to spt the otters – well done Len.  It was then back down the sunken lane and to the cars at Tre’r-ddôl.

As our route home passed the Dyfi Osprey Project we had to stop and have a good look at Glesni and Monty and all the other delights of The Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve, including the Osprey Cafe. Do follow the link to the Live Streaming and  watch, in glorious HD with stereo sound, all the goings on at the Osprey nest.  So a bit of a late depart but a very good day all round.

Thanks to all who came and all who drove.  Pics in the gallery 

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Coed Llandegla is the place to go for a great forest walk.  The 650 hectares is managed by the Tilhill Forestry group and Oneplanet Adventure and between them they have produced a variety of very well signed mountain bike tracks, trail running routes and walking routes with downloadable maps.  The best bit is that the routes do not overlap – except for a few crossing points – so you can walk the trails and not be constantly dodging the bikes. We walked the 11k Moorland View Trail plus a detour onto the Black Grouse Trail – didn’t see any – a distance of about 8 miles in all. Big car park – big cafe/shop – loos – powerwash bay …. what more could you want?

I completed the recce on a day with fine visibilty, and the views are extensive, but Sunday 12th February was a bit gloomy, bit breezy with fine snow most of the day, so very chilly on the tops and no views. The paths are mostly forest tracks and trails so it’s easy walking and walking in the creaking snow was really enjoyable: we even broke out in song at one point.

Birding opportunities are very good.  Plenty of Crossbill in the tops of the conifers – Black Grouse often seen on the southern boundary – Nightjar, nocturnal but also seen early and late – Great Grey Shrike, a rare visitor.  But lots of the usual forest and scub species.

Arrived back at the Lodge and sampled the loos and browsed the shop – wow! the cost of some of the bikes – you could buy a half decent car for some of the prices.  All in all a grand day out.  BUT – arriving back at The Oak in a chilly thin snow we were looking forwards to a warming in front of the log-burner – stone cold!! Not good.

Thanks to all who came and all who drove – pics in the gallery – some Annie’s some mine.


Snailbeach and Stiperstones in the wet


Resting Hill Chimney – Snailbeach

Well – did you see it all on Countryfile? (Sunday 8th Jan – Episode 1404 – Shropshire) What a coincidence, Matt Baker leaning on the Gate at Blakemoregate Cottage and talking about the Snailbeach mine.  Go here to have an extensive read about the history of the mine area – scroll down to the bottom of the screen to see many more excellent links.

We assembled at The Oak and who should be in the car park but Charles – a great pleasure to see you again – hope to see more of you, and Maggie, this year. The weather wasn’t looking that promising but six of us set off to Snailbeach, picking up Graham on the way, arriving at about 9.40 with the weather still not making up its mind. We started up towards Lordshill through the old workings and turned off to pass the Engine Shaft building and Resting Hill chimney to break out onto open country above the village.  The views from here were extensive but the weather was slowly  coming in from the south west.  We followed the rather mucky paths up onto the tops at Blakemoregate and started on the ridge walk proper.

The mucky weather started now – thick very wetting drizzle and low cloud – so it was on with the wet gear and on to Shepherd’s Rock.  Here we turned downhill heading to my first intention, the track from The Hollies through to Stiperstones Car park.  But on the recce I found that this was not a good idea –  timber work around the Gatten Plantation had turned parts of the track to slurry – so the path that runs parallel to this and the Stiperstones Ridge was the best alternative.  This was a bit slack in parts, but very much better than the lower path.

We paused for coffee etc at Cranberry Rock and decided to take the ridge path as the return route rather than an alternative that involved a loss of a lot of height (via Black Ditch and the Reservoir Road by Perkins Beach back up to the ridge). We negotiated the rocky ridge and joined the open paths back to Blakemoregate and from here set a route across the Hollies (read about the ancient holly trees here) and past Lordshill Chapel back to Snailbeach.  Have a look for some of the lichens that were showing very red amongst the rocks and heather – Cladonia. The strange circular structure that we saw in the field above Lordshill Chapel is a ‘shaft cap’ – it has a grill on top to let the bats in and out – the one we saw was ‘Paint Shaft’, there are two others in the area: Sheep Shaft and Chapel Shaft. Bird life was not thick on the ground but we did put up a pair of grouse and heard a few others, but the best was on our return to Snailbeach – a peregrine being mobbed by corvids etc over the mine workings. (Len has just informed me that it was not a peregrine but a Goshawk – even better!)

A very good walk for a dry sunny day when you could spend and hour or two poking around the mines.  Pictures here. Thanks to all who came and all who drove.minibootprint

Other links to Snailbeach Mine information:

Large number of good photos and knowledgeable description here:

A pdf of probably the definitive account of the mines here. (171 pages of excellent stuff)


Turned out nice again …

The fairy Door on the top of Gaer Fawr

The fairy Door on the top of Gaer Fawr

Christmas detox – don’t they come round quickly – only seemed five minutes since we were here last year. Ice and fog greeted us this morning, rather than floods and mud as of last year, as seven of us set out from The Oak across the Guilsfield Brook by the Scout Hut and then to Sarn Meadow and up Gwreiddyn Lane towards Gaer Fawr.  Very gloomy and icy in the lane but when we got through the bottom gate the going was fine – all frozen.  This is the steep start to the walk and some of us were feeling the effects of the turkey, pud and booze of the last few days – we couldn’t say we were stopping to admire the view as there wasn’t any: but we crested to ridge and made it over to the pig. A bouquet was draped across the back of the pig and a few daffodils tastefully placed by the Fairy Door – now complete with F. Christmas and a tiny assistant. Down through the ring ditches and out onto Gwreiddyn Lane again, lots of frozen bits in the lane led us up past Pump House to the left turn heading west. The fog was  lifting now with the sun showing weakly through the gloom. A field on the right appeared through the rising mist to show a wonderful flock of  Zwartble sheep – very tall, elegant and almost black: very nice to see.

We turned off the tarmac at The Lane and joined the wide farm tracks across to Trawscoed-hen Farm.  The frost and fog were easing now and the grassy track down to the woods was very wet underfoot but it was all downhill from now to the village with glimpses of sunshine. Back along the Arddleen Road to the warm welcome of Jean at Sŵn y Nant who was ready with the mulled wine, punch and many other delicious goodies.

So ended another year of The Guilsfield Hill Walkers – next year is on the stocks and ready to go – visit the 2017 programme, link on the left of the screen, this will be regularly updated as details come in – please log in to see what is happening or changing.  Pics in the gallery. Very many thanks to all our leaders, drivers and walkers: see you and many others in the New Year. minibootprint



Marrington Dingle


In Priest Weston – photo by Annie

A damp December day – no rain, but wet leaves, brown rushing streams, skeletal trees and a fleeting low weak sun occasionally easing through the gloom was the order of the day.

Annie led us East out of Chirbury and down into Marrington Dingle then South following the Camlad for a while. Annie was temping us with a ‘…bit of a climb out of the Dingle.‘  When it came it was like the side of a house – and covered in wet leaves. But we all made it, some in better fettle than others, to the top and out into the open fields. We crossed the fields and climbed many very slippery/wobbly stiles and bridges and hove to in the middle of Priest Weston for early elevenses.  Christmas sweeties did the rounds and we set off again heading North West-ish towards a feature called The Ridge.  This involved more wet n wobbly woodwork plus three, or was it four, electric fences in succession – and some cows, but we made it to The Ridge and was very pleased with view that opened out before us.  We plummeted down into the Dingle again and crossed the Camlad at Whittery Bridge.  It was then the final dose of wet n wobbly before we hit the tarmac that led us back to the cars in Chirbury. Just the sort of walk we wanted at this time of the year: not too long, not too far away, not too taxing (except for the side of the house bit!)  Thanks Annie for leading and all who came and all who drove.

Back to The Oak for a bit of a very much delayed (my fault) 2017 progamme planning session.  Got all the date filled and will be putting out a provisional programme shortly.

Don’t forget the Christmas Detox.  28th December, 9.30 from The Oak – Gaer Fawr and round the fields etc and back to Swn y Nant for mince pies and mulled wine stuff.  If you don’t want to walk just turn up at Swn y Nant a bit later and help Jean in the kitchen.  minibootprint


A game of three halves

Summit of Moel Morfydd

Team photo at the summit of Moel Morfydd. With a skilled bit of Photoshopping: so good you can’t see the join.

Ice, snow and low cloud on Llantysilio Mountain – warming sunshine down in the valley – chilly winds back at The Ponderosa, then  three different terrains – very steep and slippery mountains, good field footpaths and a long lane to finish – what more could you want in the way of a day out?  This wonderful variety was provided by Brian who led us on Sunday – a day that earlier in the week I thought would bring tempest, deluge and thigh-high snow.

We rolled up at a very cold and gloomy Pondarosa Cafe at the top of the Horseshoe Pass  at about 9.00 and wonder of all – not a motorbike to be seen in the car park.  Getting our kit on was not delightful as it was blowing and sleeting with not much visibility, but we are made of stern stuff and we were soon stepping out up to the first of many summits on the Llantysilio Mountain Ridge.  Moel y Faen, Moel y Gamelin, Moel Caer, then an unnamed top and finally Moel Morfydd are the five tops that make up this wonderful ridge, each with a steep ascent and a steeper descent – much to the annoyance of Len’s knees.  Along this switchback ridge we saw much evidence of Grouse activity: plenty of footprints in the snow and also of obvious ‘fights.’ At the summit of Moel Morfydd was a large saucer-shaped depression that was a maelstrom of footprints, wing prints and all sorts of other distubances in the snow to show that the grouse had been having a real go at each other earlier in the day.

Coming down from Moel Morfydd we could see the weather breaking way to the north with sunshine gleaming on the pristine snow-covered Snowdonia peaks. We followed the good bridle path heading North-east  for a while until we came to a bit where the path just stopped at a deep gorge.  We explored up stream, the way the path was shown on the map, and got attacked by trees and bushes with no hope of getting across the barbed-wire entangled stream, so we retreated and did a bit of following-your-nose until we got back on track at the curiosly named Plas Norway. From here on it was the gentle contouring lane through the old slate workings and out onto the open hillside at the Ponderosa, now full of cars and a few motorbikes.

A good day out thanks to Brian and thanks to all who came and all who drove. Pics in the gallery.minibootprint

Gorge-ous day out

By Alex Liivet, CC BY-SA 2.0, was the swap walk between Brian and Graham with Graham leading the Derek’s “Weatherman Walking” route in the Afon Rheidol gorges around Devil’s Bridge. For a detailed description of the route, with picures and background information follow this link to Derek’s page.

Five of us had a cosy drive over the hills and far away to park in the Waterfalls car park for a 9.15 start into a bright day with a chilly east wind. The walking is on mainly good tracks and paths all the way and the first section takes you down across the Vale of Rheidol Railway  and through the most remarkably tall conifers to the banks of the Rheidol. If you want scenery and views this is the walk for you, but take a spare memory card for the camera as everywhere you look is a picture postcard view. We headed North East down the gorge to cross the river by a narrow footbridge to the north bank and into the land of old lead mines. There is a remediation project on-going to prevent the tomato soup coloured mine drainage getting into the river and poisoning things, but nature is taking back much of the spoil with birch, heather and conifers beginning to get established.

The next section takes you through good woodlands and upland grass to a high point at Pant Cerrig and then up the gorge of Afon Tuen to the farm at Penrhiew. It was on this section, and following, that we saw probably in excess of 1000 Redwing flying overhead – not making a sound: also a few Fieldfare showed up to complete the picture. Other sightings – plenty of Red Kite and Buzzard, one Kestral and lots of small birds calling in the woodland. It was then across the tops and down to a very impressive Parsons Bridge – very narrow and very high!  This takes you up to the little church at Ysbyty Cynfyn – read the sad story of this church on Derek’s page.

The final section back to Pontarfynach is lanes and fields but then another gorge and river crossing – this time the Mynach – and then out onto the road and final fields back to the car.

This walk could be very busy in high season but probably looks it best on a sunny late Autumn day as the ‘Golden October’ colours are out in full force.  Thanks to all who came and Graham who drove.  minibootprint