Lugg Source Trail
Taking In the Source of the river Lugg
Starting on Pool Hill (516M) in Radnorshire the Lugg Trail is an inspiring source walk that takes in the source of the River Lugg the Wye's main tributary at 63 miles. Pool hill affords you superb views of Mid Wales and the majestic Radnor Forest to the immediate South. The source of the Lugg is an enchanting pool (not the pool the hill takes its name from) and goes onto become a really gnarly ravine that extends for almost 2KM. Instructions below are for the loop back to Lugwy Farm if driving with some details for an extended hike in from either Knighton or Llanbister Rd station both of which require over night wild camping.
Eventually after skirting around Cerrig Yr Wyn you reach the viewing platform for the Wye source. In front of you on the fairly flat grassy protrusion is Plynlimon lay bare with the Wye source almost advertising its presence with its 3 impressive gully's. This is a different show to the Severn source just across the way. It's worth sitting for a while if the weather is good and admiring the light if it chooses to dance over the tops of the mountain. For navigation see Grid Ref, link or PDF file below.
Start at the Lugwy Farm 3.5 KM North West of Llangurig on the B4356 where their is space to park the car. Be sure to put your keys in the red box in the wall. The infant Lugg is already flowing across the way. Look North and you'll see a stony track. Take the track and start walking upward towards a T junction 1.5 KM in. This is the meeting point of Glyndwr's Way coming in from the East. Do not turn off - keep going baring left on Glyndwr's Way until you reach a conifer plantation where you'll see a gate. Climb the gate and bear left around the plantation. In front you'll see a sign post with no sign and a stone plinth with no information board. Take the track left.
Handrail the plantation now on your left for 1 KM - you'll veer away from the plantation. At 1Km look for a turn off left (South West) onto the Heart of Wales line national trail. Continue on the trail for 350 meters plus until you hit a gully grid ref SO180749. Follow it for another 350 meters whereupon an embryonic gully emerges on your right-almost imperceptible grid ref SO177748. Follow this down 450 meters North West to the Pool that gives Pool Hill its name Grid Ref SO173751. It's moorland heather walking so expect a bit of rough. At the pool head along its Southern shore and bear South/South West for 500 meters. It's barely featureless apart from an impression, which goes onto form the source of the Lugg - you might need a compass. The Grid Ref for the source is SO169747 Rhos Crug is in front with it's nipple of a peak.
Enjoy the source. It's a lovely little pool and the space is a joy to - remote and with few people. You'll see ground nesting birds such as Curllew, Lapwing, Golden Plover and Grouse in the area. Brash marks and weed wiping intend to improve the heather, which has been lost to bracken over the years.
From source head South east towards the gully. You can just about see it - it's reminiscent of a ha ha. The ravine drops down about 1KM in front of you. Follow the source down to the ravine looking out for seepage. In summer this may take about 800 meters or so. Rocks will appear dry then water. You've found the flowing Lugg. The ravine gets deep and is a spectacular space to traverse. You'll need to hop back and forth over the embryonic river until you reach a clearing Grid Ref SO176736 This is directly in the path of the Heart of Wales Line again. Take the path right heading on up to the field edge above you. The Lugg is now down below. The trail will take you all the way to the B4356. Turn left for 300 meters until you reach the turning left for Lugwy Farm and your car.
Spec N Stats for Bus Route
Start: Luggwy Farm Elevation: 201 Meters Distance: 5 Miles Time: 3.5 Hours, taking into consideration stops and rough terrain inside and out of the ravine Walking Grade: 3
With well laid out tracks initially locating the pools later can get tricky - it's fairly featureless. Mind you with pacing, observing your grid ref and possible use of a compass it's fairly easy. The whole area is remote and not your tourist hot spot. Views of Beacon Hill ac company you and when you hit the ravine it gets even more interesting. As a landscape feature it's spectacular.
Llangunlo. Click. Village near start point.
The Greyhound Inn Llangunlo. Click. Local pub.
River Lugg. Click. Wye's main tributary.
Radnor Forest. Click. Wild and remote uplands in Mid Wales.
Video Of the Source Walk. Part 1 Approach to source via the Glyndwr's Way - Part 2 Walk into the sources epic ravine. Click links to go to youtube
Route To Source & Ravine
Map 1: Start to Lanlluest
Map 2: Lanlluest to The Pool
Map 3: Pool to Source
Map 4: Source Ravine
Map 5: Ravine Finish
Route Map PDF Click to View
Hiking Into The Range
The route in from Knighton is a full 13 miles. You need to be fit and used to hiking them distances with a wild camp and exploration of the source/range in addition. The best way is to pick up the Glyndwr's Way from Knighton - see full map on LDWA link. It will take you right passed the source and a plantation with some reasonable pitches inside if not pitching on the hills.
From Llanbister Road station, which you can pick up from the South West at Llandrindod Wells, Builth Rd (ETC) or from the East at Craven Arms or Knighton on the Heart of Wales Line it's less than a 2 mile walk to Llugwy Farm at the base of the range. A good option!
To operate use your mouse as you would on google maps. Press and hold right and move the map around in any direction. For the elevation profiler click mountain icon below left and follow the trail profile with your mouse, which will correlate with the map as you go. To zoom in or out see plus/minus on the right. To return back to just satellite view click mountain icon again.
Apologies for the difference in route. The profiler only recognizes official trails. This one taking you the longer route around, which you can do. We've stopped at source because the trail veers away from the ravine.
Throughout the range that feeds both the Lugg and Teme Heather has been lost to Bracken. To combat this the Powys Moorlands Partnership is undertaking works to weed wipe the area whilst brash marks aim to manage the heather. This is to help wildlife and the resurgence in heather. Dew ponds and other initiatives are also being undertaken. For more click here.
Things to Look Out For
There are a number of things to look out for as you head on up to Pool Hill and the source of the Lugg. We mention Radnor Forest but there is also Beacon Hill a watershed of the Teme in the range to alongside Stanky Hill, which feeds the river Aran then the Ithon another main tributary of the Wye. There are tumuli in the area on the summits of Rhos Crug and a nature reserve owned and managed by Radnorshire Wild Life Trust on Cnwch Bank, which the Heart of Wales line passes through.
Pool Hill 516 Meters SO175753
OS50: 136 (Newtown, Llanidloes)
OS50: 148 (Presteigne & Hay-on-Wye)
Rhos Crug 508 Meters. SO168744
Maps - Same as above
Cnwch Bank 499 Meters SO17746
Maps -Same as above
Stanky Hilll 506 Meters SO163764
Maps - Same as above.
Black Mountain 482 Meters SO160770
Maps - Same as above
Beacon Hill 519 Meters SO17768
Maps - Same as above
Other Points Of Interest
The Knucklas Viaduct is one of the most picturesque viaducts in the whole of the country and is only 8Km East of the river Lugg source or 4.5 Km North East from Llangunlo. It formed part of the Heart of Wales Line and was completed in 1864. For more information click here.
Knucklas Viaduct Location
Water Break Its Neck
15 KM South is the spectacular 'Water Break Its Neck' the quirkily named waterfall nestled at the base of the Radnor Forest. It's full of almost florescent green moss and flora and fauna that's scintillating to the eye. It's a place also for sound as the water cascades from above. Worth a visit.
As stated the Glyndwr's Way national trail runs in a loop in Mid wales right passed the source of the river. There is also the Trans Cambrian Way that intersects your hike up to the source of the Lugg as well as the Heart of Wales Line trail, which we have mentioned.
Towns In The Area
Knighton is the only town on the river Arrow. It's a Shropshire/Powys market town that was built upon Wool. You'll find it 12 KM as the crow flies from the source of the river. It's a decent start point if hiking in on the Glyndwr's Way. Other towns in the area are Rhayader further West at the foot of the Cambrian Mountains, Kington on the Powys/Herefordshire border and Llandrindod Wells South West from Llangunlo. All offer refreshment, shopping and great walks.
A great little tea shop in Knighton if on the Glyndwr's Way or hiking to source is the Tower House Gallery. It's well chilled.