WYE

EXPLORER

Angiddy Diary

Lower Wye Valley

Monmouthshire

A brief stop and chat to water up and have some food and we were off up into the hills towards the source of the Angihdy. Staying as true as we could we followed its course through woods opposite Panta Farm, passed a damn and turned right (North) adjacent to a water filled gully that was peppered in places with Deer prints a reminder of the sentient company we kept. Further on up we arrived at our brew spot in a field beyond the wood. It was time to get all bush craft and get Dave's wood burning stove out and watch the water come to a rolling boil but not before much activity to keep the flames alive and hot enough to do the job. Conversation veered towards healing hiking wounds and the quality of sound we seek in life, which involved the dissection of mowers, mechanical strimmers in the distance and jet aircraft above.

A good brew and conversation it was time to head on towards the source. And so with a warmth inside Dave and I bid farewell as he headed off back down the valley simultaneously. With a shake of a hand as a memory I was shortly compelled to stop for a moment to take in where I was. On top of the hill now I looked around and surveyed the area. It was laden with heavily wooded escarpments typical it would seem of this part of Monmouthshire. Quietly I breathed it in and then continued having considered the elixir of life, which was in my mind the meeting of people and the roaming of the land. What a life!

Confident of my map reading I headed off North navigating a medley of fields. However, it’s always different on the ground and having misjudged a field boundary or two I found myself deliberating which direction to take surrounded by feisty Angus Cows. After my confab with the cattle I headed for The Meads an old farm at its core that also emerged to be an example of modernisation as it housed cattle in a space age round house and powered itself by way of the sun. It was an impressive set-up, which the landowner and farmer allowed me to experience by way of providing passage through his operation on account of the Angus cows blocking my path through the surrounding fields. With a photo or two taken and a bit of film I was on my way destined for yet another farm excursion at Llan Y Nant before reaching the source.

A hard-working farm Llan Y Nant near Trellech Grange, which was in the hands of Tintern Monks from 1138 onwards, proved to be an easy passage. It was a remarkably open farm to walkers as a sign to ramblers testified. It read: Ramblers - Please Do Not Allow the Farm Dogs to Follow You Because They Will Get Lost. Thank You. It put a smile on my face prompting the thought that maybe the camp site was nearby. Just the kind of vibe you need.

Approaching Ffynnon Gaer the source of the Angiddy at around 200 meters I observed the lack of livestock and freshly cut fields that day or week. With no livestock and freshly cut fields at this end of the farm and with mixed woodland this was the ideal place to camp and pitch up because I was unlikely to get disturbed by the farmer either in the evening or morning. The reason is because there was no livestock to survey or fields to tend to…. work here had been done for a while at least. However, after a short look around it was clear the ground was to damp being at the bottom of the hill rise and so on I went.

I was following the Angiddy River at source and it was by now a trickle flowing through a small cut Angiddy gully and over trackways as is often the case when a river finds its own way in deeply rural settings. I knew I was close to the source and the day’s end but still no camp site until I emerged into a thin strip of open field surrounded by a steep side to its Western boundary and trees on its Eastern side, which formed cover for the embryonic Angiddy below. Resembling a Glade this was ideal being far away from the farm as it was in addition to being pretty. I was completely stoaked by it and knew straight away that here was my rest.

In a short while I had the tarp up and food on the go, which was complimented by the lemon of woodland Sorrel. Satisfied by my meal it was time for a brew and then a recce to find the source.
Eager to locate a river I’d followed all day I headed for the top of Ffynnon Gaer observing startled rabbits as I traversed what I thought was a way leading me to the source but with no joy. I’d lost the river somehow. Retracing my steps, I was heading back towards the camp when I passed a fence covered in bramble and other vegetation. I peered through and saw a large concrete box in the distance with water flowing out of it. I knew the Angiddy had some kind of water station at its source but in my eagerness to locate it earlier I had walked straight past this feature. Having moved around it anti-clockwise I was able to discern a pipe, which was the source of the gushing water. I looked at it and behind me at my tarp. I was right on top of the source. Amazing I thought – what a camp site and day!

Having found and enjoyed the source the only thing left to do for me was to relax and enjoy the sounds of the Monmouthshire dusk whilst greeting a squirrel as it darted over branches with the grace and dexterity of a ballet dancer. Tomorrow I’ll head up towards the old Hill fort that lay 50 meters just above me to the West. With these balmy thoughts and visions I put my head down content with my journey knowing that in the morning I’ll be greeted once again by the most spectacular dawn chorus only this time in a completely knew and remarkable place. Just the job for a hike back into Monmouth via the Wye.

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