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Walk Reports (scroll down for photos)

Sunday, 15th July
On Sunday, 15th July, Jenny and Eric Anscombe led the Carmarthen Ramblers on an eight mile circular walk based on one of Derek Brockway’s “Weatherman Walking" routes in the Merthyr Tydfil area. The weather was fine and dry with temperatures still in the mid twenties.  Walking in the footsteps of ironworkers and their wealthy masters, the route began at Cyfarthfa Castle and headed over the river Taff just above the site of the old Cyfarthfa ironworks before heading up the Taff Trail along a green corridor out of town. Calling in at Vaynor Church, the route then looped back to return down along the banks of the delightful cascading Taf Fechan River back to the start.

They started from the car park in Cyfarthfa castle after Eric gave a potted history of the castle and from where they walked through its parkland, passing the lake as they headed westward out of the estate. Their route then dropped down into a lane to pass through an industrial estate to reach the old Pont y Cafnau cast iron bridge that took them across the river Taff just below the confluence of the Afon Taf Fawr and the Taf Fechan to reach the tarmac surfaced Taff Trail. A couple of hundred metres downriver they arrived at the site of the once mighty Cyfarthfa Iron Works where they stopped for another history lesson.  This was the start of a two-mile long gentle ascent that took them upriver on the Taff Trail, across the stunning Cefn Coed viaduct, as their route turned northward to pass through Cefn-coed-y-cymmer, passing St John’s church, then across the bridge over the A465-Heads of the Valleys road. The trail now entered the Taf Fechan valley and continued northward until they passed the platform of the old Pensarn station platform before crossing yet another well maintained viaduct at Pontsarn. A quarter of a mile further on they stopped for lunch at a convenient picnic spot.

In the afternoon they left the Taff Trail and followed a stony footpath down into the Taf Fechan valley and crossed a footbridge over the river and up the bank to Vaynor Church where in the graveyard they saw the tombstone of Robert Thomas Crawshay.  The other point of interest at the church was a headstone in the gable end wall to a local parishioner Catherine Morgan who lived to the age of one hundred and six. They now started the return journey down the eastern side of the valley as they passed around the perimeter of the churchyard on a footpath that brought them out onto a country road that gave them an excellent view of the viaduct across the valley and the remains of the castle on top of Morlais Hill. The road led them back down into the valley to Pontsarn where they stopped to view the “Blue Pool”.  It was downhill all the way from this point as they followed a footpath to meet the river Taf Fechan for the final hour of the walk along a delightful cool, shady, footpath out of the hot afternoon sun beside the river and its leat, passing under the under the Heads of the Valleys road back to Cyfarthfa castle.
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We began our walk alongside the lake in the parkland of Cyfartha Castle.We soon visited the remains of the once huge Cyfartha Ironworks.
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Following the Taff Trail we crossed the impressive Cefn Coed Viaduct.Sections of the Taff Trail took us through pleasant woodland.
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After lunch we visited interesting Vaynor Church.We followed this attractive path alongside the Taf Fechan River.
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It was a pleasure to walk in the shade as the afternoon was very warm.Our walk finished on the other side of the lake at Cyfartha Castle.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Merthyr Tydfil 8m.gpx

Saturday, 7th July
On Saturday 7th July, Jenny and Eric Anscombe led the Carmarthen Ramblers on a circular five-mile walk that included a section of coast path in the Mwnt area, with the expectations of great seascape views over Cardigan Bay. The weather forecast for the day was fine with some light cloud cover.  The walk started in bright sunshine from the school in Ferwig just two miles north of Cardigan, and from there they followed a quiet country road northwards for about a mile, passing Bolafron Farm and Penfeidr, Ty’r Yet, and a duck pond to the end of the road at Nantycroy.  Here they picked up a bridleway and contoured around the side of a hill for about half a mile before joining the coast path near Ogof Filiast. There was great disappointment here as there should have been some fantastic views out over Cardigan Bay and Traeth Mwnt but everything was hidden in thick sea mist.  They then turned eastward to follow the coast path for about half a mile along the cliff tops around Hatling Fawr and although they could hear the sea seventy metres below they were unable to see it due to the mist. As they approached the visitor centre in Mwnt they stopped whilst Eric related some history of the area, and as he did so the mist cleared slightly to briefly reveal Foel-y-Mwnt on the opposite side of the beach just a few hundred yards away and people on the beach below. They stopped for lunch on the convenient bank near the limekiln overlooking the National Trust’s Traeth y Mwnt. At this point Jenny asked all the walkers individually “How far is Mwnt from London” and recorded the replies.

In the afternoon they moved on with the intention of visiting the church - Eglwys y Crog - an example of a medieval sailor’s chapel of ease, which is believed to have been built in the 13th or 14th century. However, they were due for another disappointment as the church was about to be used for a wedding ceremony but as compensation they stayed to watch the beautiful bride arrive in a shiny beige landrover. At this point the left the coast path and turned inland passing through Ty-gwyn as they followed a footpath on an uphill climb that took them out of the mist into the heat of the day as they passed Craig-y-Mwnt to reach a country road. Changing direction again, they now headed in a southwesterly direction as they followed the road for about two miles back to Ferwig. At a road junction just before they returned to the car park to complete the walk, Jenny pointed out a very old looking sign on the side of a private outhouse building - a circular black and yellow sign with Verwig written right across the centre and beneath it the distance to London from Ferwig (235 miles). Checking her list of replies earlier received, Brenda Lloyd Davies' estimate of 240 miles was the nearest to the correct answer and she received a prize from Jenny.
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From Y Ferwig we followed lanes and paths toward the Coast Path.Sea mist obscured the views as we walked along the coast.
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The Coast Path has its ups and downs.As we reached Mwnt the mist was lifting enough to see the beach below.
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We enjoyed lunch here and paused for a group photo.By the time we were leaving, the mist was lifting further.
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A wedding was about to begin at the idyllic 13th century church.The sun returned as we followed country lanes back to our start.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Mwnt 5,5m.gpx  

Sunday, 1st July
On Sunday 1st July, Auriol and Huw Llewelyn led the ramblers on an eight and a half mile circular walk that took in a three mile section of Ceredigion’s sixty-mile coastal path in the New Quay area. The weather forecast for the day was clear in the morning with light cloud cover in the afternoon with the possibility of a slight shower later on. Temperatures were in the high twenties.  The walk started from the car park in Church Road near the coast guard station at the top of Newquay in bright sunshine from where they walked downhill towards the harbour then turned left into Mason’s Square. They followed the road into Water Street, then Lewis Terrace, before leaving the residential area on a footpath that joined with the coast path, and rose steeply onto the headland of Pencastell where they stopped to take in the views looking back over New Quay and the harbour.  The coast path continued in a westerly direction for about a mile to reach a lookout point where they stopped for a break and were able to see the tourist boats and the dolphins in the bay below. The group walked on along the cliff tops with magnificent views over Cardigan Bay and passed above Carreg Draenog, Birds Rock and the steep slopes of Craig Grogal to Craig yr Adar Nature Reserve as the path dropped and rose steeply in places as it crossed the streams that headed towards the sea.  After about three miles of coastal path the group left the coast and the midday heat as they turned inland to pass the ancient settlement at Castell Bach, and continued inland into some cool shady paths for about a mile that passed up through the tranquil and delightful woodland in Cwm Soden to reach a country road at Pontnanternis where they stopped for lunch on the bridge over the Afon Soden.

In the afternoon light cloud appeared as predicted, as they turned eastwards and followed a footpath briefly through woodland, then up onto a hillside onto freshly mown fields to reach a lane near Llwynhelig and then a country road just after. There was about a mile of road walking as they followed the country road into Cross Inn to meet the A486 Synod Inn to Newquay road. Here they turned left and headed northwards towards Newquay along a busy stretch of road until they reached a bridleway just before a caravan park in Maen-y-groes. As they walked the bridleway - passing the private brewery (closed at the time the thirsty ramblers passed by) - they also passed the highest point of the day at one hundred and seventy three metres before circling around to the top of Pen Rhiw Pistyll to meet a road on the edge of New Quay. From this point it was an easy half-mile stroll back across the top of the village back to the start.
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Under blue skies we made our way from New Quay onto the coast path.We followed the coast path in a southerly direction towards Cwmtydu.
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We enjoyed walking in the warm sunshine, with just a light breeze, enjoying the stunning coastal scenery.
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Before we turned inland, we reached this pretty little cove and paused for a group photo on the footbridge.
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Another attractive footpath took us inland up a stream valley.We enjoyed walking under the shade of trees on this section.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as New Quay 8,5m.gpx  

Sunday, 24th June
On Sunday, 24th June, Cyril Phillips led a group of walkers on a 10 mile arduous hike in the Dinas area of Pembrokeshire. The weather was superb, even steamy at times, and the route was adjusted so that most of the climbing was done in the morning when the temperature was lower than the 30 degree heat experienced in the afternoon.

The walk started from the A487, between Dinas and Newport, and embarked on a long uphill bridleway, passing a number of farms such as Pant Felin-wern-dew, Trewreiddig Fach and Fawr, Trecadifor and Penparc.  As they made their way up the hill a look back would reveal an increasing vista of superb scenery, Newport Bay, Fishguard Bay, the Parrog and beyond.  They emerged onto a large common land section and arrived at Bedd Morris, some 300 metres above sea level, being the highest point on the road between Abergwaun and Dinas. A well earned break was taken at Bedd Morris.  The Group then followed the route in a westerly direction, skirting the top end of Parc mawr, and in the process passing a number of cairns, ancient enclosures, and hut circles, and finding their way along the shoulder of Mynydd Melyn to emerge onto a road, again leading from Cwm Gwaun to Dinas.  Within a quarter of a mile the walkers left the road and circuited north of Mynydd Llanlawer and started the relatively easy climb over Mynydd Dinas at 307 metres. This area was covered in ancient outcrops and enclosures and the views were stunning, revealing a 360 degree vista of the full Preseli mountain range, Cardigan Island to the north, Garn Fawr and the west coast, as well as full views to the south. It was here they noted that the Irish Ferry was leaving the harbour in Fishguard. They came across some 25 mountain ponies and their young, in various colours, and proceeded to find their way between Garn Fawr and Llain-Shelby. Dropping down the other side of the mountain they reached a footpath leading in a northerly direction. Following this path enabled the group to drop down via a series of interlinking paths, losing some 250 metres height in the process, and arriving at the A487 again, having passed through the grounds of Rhos Isaf.  Crossing the trunk road they picked up a bridleway leading to footpaths and a lane to emerge at Aberbach cove just below Hescwm and stopped for their lunch break on the beach.

Leaving Aberbach they followed the coastal path in a north easterly direction, negotiating some strenuous parts of the path, passing Cerrig Duon, Pwll Gwylog, and Pwll Cwn to arrive at Pwllgwaelod on the westerly “neck” of Dinas Island. The coastal scenery was beautiful and set against a very calm sea.  From Pwllgwaelod they proceeded along the “neck” of Dinas Island to arrive at Cwm yr egwlys, having enjoyed some welcome shade and away from the direct sunlight. A short stop was taken at Cwm yr eglwys where they had a look at the remains of an ancient Church partly washed away some 150 years previously.  The last mile and a half was spent negotiating a fairly flat piece of coastline past Trwyn Isaac and Dol rhedyn to arrive at Aber Fforest cove, having seen some oyster catchers on the way. At this point they turned inland to pass Fforest stables, and a number of thoroughbred horses, to arrive at their destination.

Thanks to Patricia and Sarah for the following photos taken on this splendid walk.
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Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Dinas Mtn 10m.gpx  

Our Walking Holiday in the Peak District
Over the five days Monday 18th June to Friday 22nd June, Carolyn and Dennis Hills led the Carmarthen Ramblers on a series of walks that they had arranged in the Bakewell area of the Peak District.  In a beautiful setting on the banks of the river Wye, (the Wye that discharges into the River Derwent  - not the Wye that discharges into the Severn), Bakewell is an historic market town at the heart of the Peak District (Britain’s first national park).  Its mellow stone buildings, medieval arched bridge and little courtyards combine to create an atmosphere of great charm.  Surrounded by the spectacular Derbyshire Dales, with excellent transport links, it is an ideal base for exploring the scenic countryside, picturesque villages, and many attractions of the area.  The weather could not have been any better, with temperatures for the week in the upper twenties with long sunny spells and only one short shower during the whole of the five-day break.
Monday, 18th June
There was a choice of three different lengths of walk on Monday. The options were a 4.5-mile linear walk, a 9-mile linear walk or a 10.5-mile circular walk. The group met at the Castle Bridge car park at 10:00 am and started with an enjoyable short riverside walk to Holme Hall before climbing on good paths above Bakewell to join the Monsal Trail.  There was a flat stroll along this cycle track/footpath for 1.5 miles and before reaching one of its famous tunnels they left the trail to follow a footpath to Little Longstone and then walked on to the viewing point for splendid views over the Dales from Monsal Head with the focal point of the Headstone Viaduct down below.  Here those doing the 4.5-mile walk left the main group to explore the area and enjoyed some refreshments before returning to Bakewell by bus or taxi. 

The rest of the group dropped down into Monsal Dale along a footpath and followed the River Wye down river through the lovely scenery of Monsal Dale all the way to the charming village of Ashford in the Water.  Those wanting to stop after 9 miles returned to Bakewell from here by bus or taxi.  The rest of the group continued along the river, heading for Endcliff Wood, from where they made their way back down into Bakewell to complete the wal
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We began by crossing over the 14th century bridge in Bakewell.Then we climbed steadily on a good path above Holme Hall.
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Once on the Monsal Trail, the walking was flat and easy.Before long we left the trail and crossed fields toward Little Longstone.
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At the village we admired the chapel with its Welsh slate roof.Upon reaching Monsal Head we had great views up the dale.
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We then followed the River Wye downstream passing this old mill.At Ashford-In-The-Water we admired the famous Sheep Wash Bridge.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Bakewell Monsal 11m.gpx 

Tuesday, 19th June
On Tuesday there was a gentle walk in the Dales – Upper Dale, Water-cum-Jolly Dale, Millers Dale and Cresswell Dale.  There was a choice of a 6-mile circular with 430m of climbing or an 8.5-mile circular with 490m of climbing.  Everyone drove 3 miles from Bakewell to a free roadside car park in Monsal Dale.  From the car park they walked up to Monsal Head to once again see the views, and then followed a shady wooded path back down into Monsal Dale to meet the river at a weir.  They crossed the river and walked upstream along the Wye, first passing under the spectacular Headstone Viaduct and then climbed up onto it to pick up the Monsal Trail, which they followed to the entrance to Cressbrook Tunnel.  After a brief peep inside the tunnel they dropped back down to the river and followed a lovely riverside path through the dales to Litton Mill where they stopped for lunch.  The group then climbed above the dale to a quiet lane (Bottomhill Road) where those doing the shorter walk followed the lane past Home Farm back to the cars.  The rest of the group continued on into Cressbrook Dale, walking up one side, and down the other to Home Farm, and then returning along a lane to their transport.
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From our starting point we walked up to Monsal Head for the views.Then we went down and walked to the Headstone Viaduct.
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We climbed up onto the viaduct and took the trail to Cressbrook Tunnel.Next we followed riverside paths along the dales, passing several weirs.
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At times the walls of the dale rose high above our footpath.From Litton Mill we climbed back up onto the plateau.
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A rolling path eventually took us back down into Cressbrook Dale.A few heroic members walked up the dale and climbed up Peter's Stone.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Cressbrook 9m.gpx  

Wednesday, 20th June
It was cloudy and overcast on Wednesday when they visited the “Palace of the Peak” – Chatsworth House and its stunning estate.  There was a choice of a 5.5-mile circular walk with 240m of climbing or a 12-mile circular walk with 570m of climbing.  Those doing the longer walk met at the Bridge Car Park in Bakewell at 10:00 a.m. and headed up across the golf course to Calton Houses and walked down through the stunning Chatsworth Estate to the bridge near Queen Mary’s Bower.  Here they met those doing the shorter walk who had travelled 5 miles by car to the car park at Chatsworth House. Together they did a circular 5.5-mile walk through some of the beautiful estate, visiting features such as the Hunting Tower, the Emperor Lake and the bone dry Swiss lake and Swiss cottage.  They returned to the estate car park, and then those continuing back on the longer walk headed across the river to the interesting little village of Edensor.  From Edensor a track and a quiet lane led them back to a different path across the golf course and then back down into Bakewell.
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From Bakewell we climbed up onto Calton Pastures to this tumulus.From that high point we rolled downhill through the Chatsworth Estate.
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As we descended we got a good view of magnificent Chatsworth House.A stroll along the riverside took us to this interesting gate.
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At the gate we turned and climbed up toward Dobbs Edge.We visited Emperor Lake, named in honour of a visiting Russian tzar.
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A short climb led us up to the Hunting Tower, built in 1582.We admired the tower which is now available as a holiday let!
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Chatsworth 12m.gpx  

Thursday, 21st June
On Thursday, the group explored Dovedale – probably the best known and the most interesting dale in the Peak District.  There was a choice of a very gentle 6 mile down & back walk with 220m of climbing in Dovedale, or a 9.5 mile circular walk (470m of climbing) that visited the interesting village of Tissington, as well as walking up lovely Dovedale.

They all drove 12 miles to the village of Milldale.  Those doing the shorter walk followed the footpath down Milldale, seeing the Dove Holes, Ilam Rock, Reynard’s and other caves, weirs, a natural arch, Tissington Spires, Jacob’s Ladder, Lovers Leap, the Twelve Apostles, Dovedale Castle and finally the famous Stepping Stones, then followed the same route back through Dovedale to Milldale.  

The longer walk group began with a short but sharp climb out of Milldale, enjoying good high-level views and walked across fields to join the Tissington Trail for a one-mile stroll with views.  Taking a footpath down to Tissington Village - that claims to be the prettiest village in England - they stopped for lunch and took time to explore the village viewing the buildings and here Carolyn explained the process of “Well dressing".  In the afternoon they left the village via an Avenue of Lime trees and the Limestone Way to the Stepping Stones in Dovedale (the furthest point of the shorter walk).  There was an offer to stroll up onto Thorpe Cloud for the views (a climb of 287 metres) but taking into account the time of day and the heat of the day - there were no takers. They finished off the walk with a lovely 3-mile riverside walk up Dovedale back to Milldale passing all the features that the other group had passed in the morning.
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We first visited Viator's Bridge, an ancient packhorse bridge at Milldale.A steep climb out of Milldale took us onto a path on the edge of the dale.
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The White Peak area is known for its limestone walls around farm fields.By midday we reached the unspoilt estate village of Tissington.
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This is one of the five wells which are "dressed" each year in the village.We enjoyed our picnic lunch with the water birds at the village pond.
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In the afternoon we reached the famous Stepping Stones in Dovedale.On our stroll up Dovedale we saw a series of interesting rock formations.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Dovedale 10m.gpx  

Friday, 22nd June
On Friday they walked on two “Edges” – Curbar Edge, and Baslow Edge – two of the finest sections of the escarpment on the eastern edge of the Derwent Valley.  There were three choices;  – a 5 mile “out and back” walk on the edges with 225m of climbing, or a 5.5 mile circular walk with 290m of climbing, or an 8 mile circular walk with 385m of climbing.  

They first drove 6 miles to a free roadside car park near Curbar Edge.  They all began with an exhilarating walk along Curbar Edge, enjoying the glorious views and dramatic rock formations.  After 1.5 miles, those wanting to do the 5-mile walk walked back along Curbar Edge and then continued along Baslow Edge for more fabulous views, all the way to Wellington’s Monument.  They then retraced their route back along Baslow Edge back to the cars.  The rest of the group took take a steep and rocky path down to the Derwent River and followed a pretty riverside path to Calver.  Those doing the 5.5-mile walk followed a lane half a mile uphill to the cars.  The rest of the group then followed a series of paths across open farmland with far ranging views to Baslow, and then a good uphill track visiting both Wellington’s Monument and the Eagle Stone.  From that point it was back along Baslow Edge with its great views to the cars.
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The "Edges" are at the top of the dales cut into the limestone plateau.We first walked along Curbar Edge and part of Froggatt Edge.
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The dramatic stone edge is gradually falling away into the dale below.From the Edges we enjoyed wonderful views across the dales.
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We left the edge to follow a steep path down to the River Derwent.We saw interesting features along the river, such as Froggatt Bridge.
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Then we climbed back up to see Wellington's Monument on Baslow Edge.We also took a look at the nearby Eagle Stone, with its interesting lore.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Curbar Edge 8,5m.gpx  

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