Yesterday I left Cholsey Grange CL and made the trip up to Shropshire to my next pitch at Domo CL a few miles outside of Oswestry. Although I have travelled with the caravan on my own before it has always been to a site Lynnie and I have previously visited. So it felt a bit odd going to a new location without Lynnie riding shotgun.
Arriving at Domo CL I was warmly greeted by the owner Chris who could not have been more helpful in giving me advice on pitching up. Soon Crosby and I were out walking a few miles on the Old Oswestry Racecourse, just across the lane from the site.
Returning from today’s morning walk I bumped into Chris who enquired where I was heading today. He is also a keen walker and hearing that I planned to walk south on the Offa’s Dyke Path, which runs close to the site, he suggested I walk as far as Welshpool (about 15 miles away) where he would collect me. Whilst a very kind offer I have in mind a circular route that heads south and then swings round to pick up a trig point before returning to Domo CL. I start my walk by leaving the site and heading across the lane to the southern end of the Old Racecourse to join the Offa’s Dyke Path heading south.
Soon I am walking through trees. I have often thought about walking the entire Offa’s Dyke Trail, but have been put off because sections we have previously walked have been through wooded areas. All right for a while but not for the best part of the day. However, today it is again very hot and I am grateful for the shade the trees provide.
At a junction of paths I emerge into a clearing and get a chance to enjoy the stunning views to the west.
Offa’s Dyke Path is well-marked and easy to follow. So continuing through trees I ignore all the footpaths and tracks leading off. It does need a level of concentration to spot the way-markers in some areas where there are path crossings, but it is relatively straightforward.
The path eventually descends quickly to reach a driveway leading to a minor road at Tyn-y-coed. I turn right over a bridge, we’ve not walked far but Crosby is keen to get in the stream and cool his feet whilst having a cold drink.
Refreshed we head off again along the minor road, soon taking a turning up a road on the left (still on the Offa’s Dyke path). This road heads steeply uphill to a T-junction. I cross the road and follow the footpath through fields of pasture. This section follows the historic Offa’s Dyke. Interestingly whilst the trail has the same name, for various reasons, it occasionally detours from the exact route of the Dyke.
On reaching a minor road I cross, following the path into the next field. I cross another road to pick up a track opposite leading into the village of Trefonen. An information board explains that this lane “The Gutter” served the local mining community and linked collieries around the village.
The lane emerges into an area of housing and then at the end of the road I turn right along a tarmac lane heading west away from the village. As the lane sweeps to the right I carry straight on following the Offa’s Dyke Path across a field where cattle are seeking shade from the hot sun. Through another field a stone footbridge crosses a stream. Crosby takes the opportunity to cool down and enjoy a drink.
Continuing across more fields of pasture I reach a minor road and turn left and then very quickly right to follow a farm driveway past Ty-Canol. After the farm a gate crosses the driveway. I go through, continuing along the track until the way-markers direct me into a field on the right then heads up towards farm buildings before going left. Going through a metal gate I continue steadily up to the summit of Moelydd Uchaf.
On this hill I am 935 feet above sea level and enjoy stunning views over the parched landscape.
Resuming my walk I head south, still following the Offa’s Dyke path, which descends gradually to reach John’s Rough Nature Reserve. The clear path goes steeply downhill through the reserve.
Emerging from the trees I join a lane with views over Nantmawr and beyond.
Still following the Offa’s Dyke way markers I head down into the village of Nantmawr. The path takes a turn to the right along a road and then left to head through a small copse emerging into a field to reach Cefn Lane. Here I turn left along this quiet tarmac road and before too long cross the disused Potteries, Shrewsbury and North Wales railway line. The line to Nantmawr was built in the 1860’s to serve the local quarries and remained open until 1988. The line was acquired in 2004 by the Tanat Valley Light Railway Company, but it appears to be a long while since a train passed this way.
On reaching a crossroads I head straight over onto Coopers Lane and after a few hundred yards take the Offa’s Dyke footpath to the right leading between houses into a field. After crossing the busy A495 I continue along the way-marked track to cross another section of disused railway line.
After another couple of fields the path joins a track and heads steadily uphill. At a fork in the track I take the left route through a gate and very soon find I’m heading steeply uphill through trees. At a junction of paths I turn right to follow the Offa’s Dyke Path (shared with the Shropshire Way at this point) along the top of the ridge.
Soon to my left emerges Llanymynech Golf Course. The path runs besides the course for a while before turning left onto the course. Apparently this course is unique as it spans two countries. Some of the holes are on the English side of the border, whilst others are in Wales.
The course looks a good place to be today, but I am sure with a cold, winter wind blowing this exposed spot must be very challenging. I head across the course to reach a trig point. This is the 76th I have bagged.
I turn around and retrace my steps back to Porth-y-waen, on joining Cefn Lane I turn right, before a stream, onto a minor road running besides the dismantled railway and soon pass the entrance to the Tanat Valley Light Railway visitor centre. At a road junction I turn right towards Treflach and Trefonen, the road soon passes the entrance to the disused Nantmawr Quarry. This 19thcentury limestone quarry was extensively worked until it’s closure in 1977.
On reaching Quarry Lane I turn left following it to a footpath on the right? along a track to the top of the quarry.
Reaching a gate at the top of the quarry I realise I have walked a bit too far and have missed the footpath sign about fifty yards back, so I retrace my steps to take the footpath towards Wern. After passing farm buildings I re-join the tarmac track I walked earlier on my way to Moelydd Uchaf. At a junction with a minor road I turn left and then very quickly take a right along a lane that passes Trefonen Hall.
I cross a footbridge by a ford; Crosby decides it is time for a drink and a paddle. The road turns sharply to the right and shortly afterwards I take a left turn heading steeply uphill. I stay on this road ignoring footpaths to the right and the left. There are extensive views out across the valley to my left.
After about three quarters of a mile I take a footpath sign on the right towards Pant-y-ffyon. After going up hill on the edge of a field I take a path through the bracken on the right, this is a diversion from the main footpath, but clearly a route that is walked regularly. This takes me to the trig point at Mynydd Myfyr, my seventy seventh trig pillar bagged.
After taking pictures of the trig and admiring the stunning views I follow another clear route through the bracken back towards the footpath close to Pant-y-ffyon. After passing a house I join the track towards a minor road. Passing through a gate I turn left and at the T-junction turn right following this road for about a third of a mile to the point where the Offa’s Dyke path crosses it. Here I turn left, re-joining the Offa’s Dyke path downhill towards Tyn-y-coed where we stop again for Crosby to have a drink from the River Morda.
Refreshed we retrace our earlier route back to the Old Racecourse next to Domo CL. The return walk on this section is uphill and both Crosby and I are grateful for the shade from the trees lining the path.
Back at the caravan, after close to sixteen miles on a very hot afternoon, Crosby crashes out in a shady part of the awning. Meanwhile, I enjoy a cold beer and study the map to plan tomorrow’s adventure. Having seen the hills in the distance today I am keen to head west into Wales to explore.
To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 240 – Oswestry
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2018)