14 June 2012

Walking In Wales – 3 Fantastic Routes

Walking In Wales – 3 Fantastic Routes

The 3 Castles Walk

Starting at Offa’s Dyke, just on the English border, this 19 mile hike will take you past 3 Norman fortresses of Skenfrith, White Castle and Grosmont, situated in Monnow Valley.  The castles were used as a defensive line and also to regulate trade – more in-depth information is provided at the sites.  There are plenty of wooded areas along the walk, filled with nature and wild animals.  You may even be fortunate enough to spot some Roe Deer, which have spread into the area in recent years.   The views from the top of Graig Syfyrddin, including the Forest of Dean and the Black Mountains, are more than enough reward for the effort. 

Worm’s Head to Whitford Point

Just short of 10 miles, this winding route takes you through Gower Peninsula, which is breathtaking in its natural beauty.  Starting at Worm’s Head, you’ll pass above Rhossili Bay, where the keen eyed may be able to spot a partially buried anchor from a ship that was lured onto the rocks purposely by local wreckers.  There are a few other wrecks on the beach to spot too!  Be aware that access to Worm’s Head is limited by the tide and you will have to time it right to make the crossing, over what can be slippery rocks. 

Next up is Hardings Down, where you will find the largest of the 3 hill forts on the route.  The site offers great views of Gower Peninsula and the chance to appreciate the variety in the surrounding scenery. 

Your final stop of course takes you to Whitford Point and the unusual cast iron lighthouse situated there.  It should take you around 20 minutes to get over to the lighthouse, so again check the tides before setting off to make sure you don’t get caught out. 

Brecon Beacons 4 Waterfalls Walk

Whilst the shortest of our 3 routes at 7.6 miles, the 4 Waterfalls Walk certainly packs in plenty to see.  Seeing just one of the waterfalls would be worth the effort, but together they offer a truly rewarding hike. 

The trail begins on the outskirts of Ystadfellte, Gwent at Cavers Car Park.  If you wish to take a quick look at the cave before you begin your walk, there is easy access leading down from the car park.  Having crossed over the road from the car park you can join the footpath and after a short walk will find where the river Melte emerges from its underground passage.  A little further along the path you will be greeted by Sgwd Clun-gwyn waterfalls, which can be viewed from across the footbridge and also the main route that continues past the footbridge. 

The next stage takes you through some woodland before a signposted right turn leads you to the waterfall at Sgwd yr Pannwr - which looks a little bit like a mini Niagara Falls.  Following a rough track upstream, which will involve a little rock clambering, you will come to Sgwd Isaf Clwn-gwyn.  You’ll first catch sight of 3 small rapids, followed by a thunderous waterfall staircase. 

In order to see the final set of waterfalls, Sgwd yr Eira, you must make your way back to where you made the right turn down Sgwd y Pannwr.  Follow the main route, past the gorge cliffs on the right and you will find the viewpoint for the dramatic curtain waterfall.  You can return to the car park along the same route.  

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