Jamming About on The Black Mountains

Today’s walk is going to be around twenty miles, I say around because although I have a rough idea of the route I plan to take this is subject to change depending on what I see along the way.  I call this sort of walk a jamabout. Knowing where I will start and finish but not being tied to a set route.

 Leaving the site by the main entrance I turn left along the road and soon cross the bridge over the Afon Mynwy.  At a road junction I turn right and then after a short distance I reach a cross roads and turn left and head along a narrow lane to reach Trewyn House.  Apparantly this fine building dates to 1692, over the years it has had a few renovations and is a Grade II* listed building.

To the right of the house there is a dovecote dating from around 1800, apparently this contained seven hundred and sixty-four nesting boxes.

The lane passes the house and then starts to climb steadily uphill.  I ignore a footpath up the driveway to Trewyn Farm and continue on the narrow tarmac lane until I reach a finger post on the Offa’s Dyke Path.  Here I turn right and follow the path on a narrow track.

On reaching a gate I go through access land.  The Offa’s Dyke Trail follows a well-distinguished path as it heads steadily uphill.  As I head up I stop occasionally to admire the views.

The path passes the remains of an Iron Age Hillfort and then continues up.  The path continues up to the trig pillar on Hatterrall Hill, I bagged this trig for the first time a couple of days ago. The views in every direction are stunning.

I now follow the Offa’s Dyke Path as it proceeds along the top of the ridge in a northerly direction.  There are wonderful views from this path.

Further along I get a cracking view into the Vale of Ewyas below, this is also known as the Gospel Pass.

I stay with the path until I reach a marker stone with directions to Longtown to the right and Llanthony to the left.  I take the left to join the Beacons Way and start a long steady descent towards Llanthony.

At a junction of paths I turn left, still on the Beacons Way, to enter a field and continue my descent.  This path then leads through Wiral Wood to emerge into another field with a fantastic view of Llanthony Priory.

The priory is said to date from around 1118 when it was founded by a group of forty Monks from England.  The locals did not take kindly to the incomers from over the border and they soon departed, but following funding from Hugh de Lacey in around 1186 and also from Pope Clement III building work continued and it was completed in 1217.  It then fell into decay after Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538.

I follow the path around the priory wall and then reach a driveway that I follow down to a minor road.  Here I turn left and then almost immediately take a footpath on the right down a track leading to a footbridge over the Afon Honddu.

There are a network of paths here but I follow the Beacons Way markers which are also signposted to Bal-Bach.

After heading through a field I go through a gate to continue  up on a narrow path besides Cwm Bwchel enjoying great views back over Llanthony Priory.

I stay with the Beacons Way as it emerges on the more exposed ridge.  Despite it being a fine day there is a chill to the wind up here so I don’t hang around when I reach the pile of stones marking a crossing of paths.  Now I turn left to head in a south-westerly direction, still on the Beacons Way, heading towards Garn Wen.


Soon I reach the distinctive cairn at Garn Wen.

Still on the Beacons Way I continue to head south along the ridge with the path now descending gradually.  To my left is the dramatic Darren on the western edge of Hatterrall Hill.

I stay with the Beacons Way as it passes woodland and then turns right leaving the ridge and descending initially across open land and then along a track passing an old farmyard.

The track soon becomes a narrow tarmac road and I continue downhill along it to reach a Tabernacle Baptist Chapel built in 1837.

Still on the Beacons way I cross the Grwyne Fawr and then a road to take a footpath opposite leading through fields to reach Partrishow Farm.

The path skirts around the farm buildings and then crosses pasture to reach the churchyard of St Issui’s Church, Partrishow.  This is a little gem of a church, rich in history dating back to 1060.  In the churchyard is a medieval preachers cross.

Inside the walls are adorned with medieval wall paintings.

The Rood Screen is said to be carved from Irish Oak and is finely detailed.

The church bears the name of the Welsh Saint Issui, who reputedly lived by a well next to the church.  Reportedly he was murdered by a passing traveller following, which the church became a place of pilgrimage.

Leaving the churchyard through a stone arch I reach a minor road and turn right to proceed  steeply uphill.  I am still on the Beacons Way and I keep with the trail as it forks left to follow a track up to a sheepfold.  After crossing a couple of fields the path reaches access land and continues uphill on a well-defined route through the bracken.

It is a long steady haul up the hill to reach the ordnance survey trig pillar at the summit of Crug Mawr, number 163 bagged.

After admiring the view I check the map and ponder my options from here.  In the distance to the south lies Sugar Loaf.  I am not sure it is in my range from here.  I would happily tackle it but have to consider how Crosby would cope with the extra miles and an additional climb on a warm afternoon.

In the end I decide to stick with the Beacons Way and follow this as it heads southwesterly along the ridge.

The visibility is good and I continue to get stunning views as I start descending into a valley.


At a point where the Beacons Way doubles back on itself I take a footpath on the left along a walled track.  The way markers show this as the Ffordd Road.

Sections of the path are slightly overgrown with brambles and nettles encroaching, but I am able to pass through without too much difficulty. As the name of this track suggests it crosses a number of fords as it heads east towards a minor road.

At a junction of roads near Craig-y-bwla I fork left along a tarmac lane signposted Partrishow, Llanthony Abbey, and Grwyne Fawr.  After three quarters of a mile I reach a fork in the road and go right on the road towards to Llanthony Abbey and Grwyne Fawr.  After another three quarters of a mile I go right on the road still following the sign to these villages.

 At the next junction I take the road to Cwmyoy, Llanthony, Capel-y-ffin. The road goes through Coed-y-Cerrig National Nature Reserve and after almost two miles reaches a junction in the small village of Stanton, here I turn right along the road signposted to Llanvihangel and Abergavenny.

This road passes Lower Stanton Farm and then after a mile reaches Llanvihangel Crucorney.  Here I turn left to cross the river and walk a mile and a quarter to reach Trewyn Lodge where I turn right and walk the short distance back to the caravan site.

My walk has covered twenty-one and a half miles with over 4,400 feet of ascent.  A good solid days walking, although the last section was along minor roads I only encountered a handful of cars so it was not too disruptive.


You can view this 21.5 mile walk on OS Maps and download the GPX File Here (Subscription to OS Maps Required)

To follow my walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL13 – Brecon Beacons National Park Eastern Area

12th September 2019

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2019)


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