WYE

EXPLORER

Wye Source Walk

As stated throughout various pages the Wye source is majestic and has a rugged beauty almost unsurpassed in this part of Southern Britain. See these following page links for more details on the area. The Vaga Story, Afon Irfon and the Irfon Diary.

Siuated in the Welsh Cambrian Mountains, which cover most of upland Mid Wales the highest peak is Plynlimon at 752 meters or 2,467 feet. It also happenes to be the source of the River Wye, which is the subject of this page. With various routes to embark upon we take possibly the hardest trail up to the source for a short while at least. We needed a test and this was it!

So off we go.......

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Source View

Plynlimon Via Nant-y-Moch Reservoir

Level - Hard

UK Region: Cambrian Mountains

County: Caredigion Wales

Actual Ascent: 1,318 Ft or 402 Meters from Start Point.

Route Distance: 8 Mile

Grid Ref: 768874 Can use OS Explorer 213

uk map cambrians

PDF File

Own Route Map & Description

How To Get There

The mountain and source of the Wye is remote but accessible from anywhere in the UK. You can use public transport, which some of us have done. Again see Vaga Story and these links to public transport.

Bus

Llandrindod to Rhayader & Llangurig Bus
This service is through to Llanidloes but stops at Rhayader and Llangurig. We have walked through to the source from here. It's a good walk and or hike that lends you an appreciation for the upper Wye. Buses back are from Llangurig or Rhayader.

Llandrindod to Aberystwyth X47
This service is through to Aberystwyth but is not as frequent. It will though take you closer to the source. A series of camps nearer to your hike into the Massif might be a good idea. It will introduce the area to you and be a great night out also.

Of course bus rides back the other way depart from Aberystwyth. You need to be looking at the X47

Car

Geberal Direstions - Click for map

Head for Ponterwyd. Turn right at Ponterwyd. Follow road through to Nant Y Moch Reservoir - keep bearing right and head for Noth Eastern fring of the Reservoir. Look for a slight flat grass verge priot to a cattle grid and fence. Park here. The route up is along the track opposite your car parking space.

Walk Guide

There is a service track leading up to Llyn Llygad resevoir. OS Explorer 213. Grid Ref 768874. It starts as subtle incline around a bend to the left. Follow the track for 2 miles until you see the reservoir. About 200 meters before the reservoir turn right straight up into the mountain towards a saddle marked on the OS map at 788874. It’s a rocky climb and only for reasonably fit and experienced hill walkers. This one though is for the views and the for that close up with the Reservoir. From this vantage point you’ll see the Afon Hyddgen Valley and the Hengwm Valley with Cadair Idris beyond. Spectacular! It’s a bit harder going than other routes to the summit of Plynlimon and the source but worth it for the visual on a good or dramatically stormy day like ours.

Part Visual Guide

Once through the saddle you’ll find a trail around the peak to your left. The trail will lead you around the peak for 150 meters or so and then it drops down to your right before rising steeply towards the summit. This will lead you up to the summit Cairn, which will be on the right of the trail. The trig point is 200 meters South or right at the Cairn.

The journey to the source is a short but invigorating one atop the Plynlimon Plateau. Your about 700 meters in elevation here amid peat bog and acid grass. It’s wild with sweeping views to the East once you are underway. From the summit trig or rock shelter there look East to the fence in your midst. Follow it left until you reach the corner about 125 meters. The remaining fence line that spans the top of the Plateau will lead you directly above the source of the Wye, which is approximately 1KM away along this route. Walking for a further 900 meters you will pass a pool to your right and then another 280 meters further on just inside another fence corner. This line heads right just before a standing stone with the date 1865 inscribed into it. This is a marker. It’s erect and you cannot miss it a few yards straight ahead of the fenced line you’ve been following. From here trek a further 200 meters along the trail, which has now lost its fence line and take a bearing right off the trail or path. This is in fact South/South East but does not feel like it. 75 meters in from this change in direction you’ll discover the last of the 3 gullies, which is the official Wye source and ahead of you the wide-open space that signifies the start of the Wye.

Locating the source is easy. Simply descend into the gully and there you will find the channel. Some of you may be fortunate and locate the source straight away, which a small depression in the ground with an acid grass overhang and some rocks. It’s a small hollow with run off and seepage but presents the most beautiful sight and sound. Robert Gibbings, in his 1942 book Coming down the Wye, described it as “a pool no bigger than a bowler hat.” We can testify to that but it’s not the size that matters it’s the feeling it generates as you sit listening to the trickling water. It clearly speaks of life and as you gaze down into the valley South/South East you are afforded a great expanse of space and a vision of the Wye that invokes an awe and wonder akin to the grandest of landscapes. It’s truly beautiful and you’re motivated to simply explore more what with the rest of the Cambrians looking so inviting in addition.

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Gear To Pack

Firstly weather up here is unpredicatable in the latter part of the year specifically. It's the largest watershed in Wales and so it gets wet. So Pack a good water proof set. That's a jacket and trousers - if in summer a shell. Make sure also you have a good rain cover for your ruck sack (their not totally waterproof and the lids have been known to drown). Inside pack a good map of the area and a warm insulating layer depending on the time of year.

Additional contents and kit: Water - Warm Drink - Food or Good Energy Snack - Headtorch (You Never Know) - Whistle - First Aid and Mobile Phone. Additonal kit may include Camera - batteries - Tripod If Your Big Into Home Movie. Youtubers Won't Ever Forget!

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