This 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.