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Mountain Waters

Some Of The Most Inspiring Mountain Explores In The UK

The Wye and its 4,000 Square Km catchment has numerous rivers, moorland and huge mountain tops feeding it with a plethora of plant and wildlife living there. Peer in and see what the Wye regions Mountain ranges are made up of. You'll be stoked and well surprised. 

Picture: Source of the River Honddu/interior Hay Bluff in the Black Mountains

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Black Mountains

The Black Mountains Welsh (Y Mynyddoedd Duonare) borders the West of Herefordshire, Monmouthshire and the Eastern fringe of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Formed of red sandstone some 300 million years old it's characterized by long whale back ridges that's home to numerous low valley, high hill farms and towns such as AbergavennyTalgarthHay on Wye and Crickhowell.

 

The extensive mountains and plateaus give rise to a watershed that feeds the Wye via a myriad of brooks and rivers notably the Ennig, Olchon, Honddu & Monnow

Not to be confused with the Black Mountain to the West in the Fforest Fawr the Black Mountains can be easily overlooked for the ranges West in the Central Beacons and those in the North in Snowdonia. As an integral part of the Wye basin however they are captivating. Read on for more

 

Named Black Because Of How The Mountains Are Viewed From the East 

Authority/Districts: Powys/Monmouthshire/Herefordshire

 

Wye Rivers Present: Monnow, Honddu & Ennig

 

Highest Peak in Range: Waun Fach 811 meters 2,660 Ft.

 

Highest in the Wye system: Rhos Dirion 713 meters 2,339 Ft & Black Mountain 703 Meters 2,306 Ft

 

Notable Trails: Offa’s Dyke National Trail taking in the Hatterral Ridge & the Beacons Way

Maps: Ordnance Survey 1.25,000 Sheet: OL13

 

Digital: 1.25,000: OS Digital

Location Map: Click

 

The Black Mountains is a walkers haven. You can hike the valleys or plateaus or follow the Wye rivers such as the Honddu within the range easily. Places and things to look out for are: Llanthony Priory, Capel Y Ffinn, Gospel Pass (highest road pass in Wales), The Vale of Ewyas, Grwyne Fawr (outside catchment) & Partrishow. Steeped in food production don't miss the old ways that were and are very much a part of this working land and neither the numerous cultural reference points as illustrated via the myriad of writers and artists that have been attracted here such as Eric Gill.

 

Other Areas of Interest: Long Town & Castle, Pwll Y Wrach nature reserve on the River Ennig & the Wonky church of Cwmyoy on the River Honddu.

Links: Half Moon Inn, Guardian Article, Local History

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Getting to the Black Mountains

From Hereford its just over an hour West on the A465

From Gloucester it's 1 hr. 30 Mins West along the A40 & A465

From Bristol it's 1 hr 20 Mins North along the M5, A449, A40 & A465

From Birmingham it's 2 Hours South West along the M5 & A40. 

From London it's 3.30 Mins North West via the M4.

Magnify out or in

For buses (we like public transport) see Hereford T14  for Hay & Talgarth, From the West and South see the combined T4T14 to Brecon Interchange, which will take you to Talgarth or Hay, From the South to Abergavenny see the X4 Heads of the Valleys. From Llandrindod to Brecon see the T4 then either onto the T14 or X43 depending on what end of the Black Mountains you want to start from.  

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Whole-body-mind & soul exercise 

As John Muir once said, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into trees.”

This is as true now as it was back then when he first spoke the words. Our whole being is cleansed when we venture into the big hills and the wilds of the Wye basin.

Picture: Radnor Forest looking into the Harley Valley

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Radnor Forest

The Radnor Forest in Radnorshire Mid Wales is in the least populated county/district in the UK outside of the Outer Hebrides. The forest itself is characterized by steep gullies, large conifer plantation and escarpments that rise to 650 meter tops and was once a medieval hunting ground. Water abounds everywhere as it flows off the heather moorland and peat bogs. Home to wild dear and Short Eared owls welcome to the Radnor Forest a major contributor of fresh water to the River Wye.

The range sits 20 KM to the East of the Cambrian Mountains and 25 KM North of the Black Mountains. Further to the East the region is bordered by Herefordshire and the Hergest Ridge. Read on for more. 

 

In The Depths of Mid Wales It Rises

Authority/Districts: Powys/Radnorshire

 

Wye Rivers Present: Lugg, Arrow & Hindwell Brook

 

Highest Peak in Range: Great Rhos 660 Meters 2,165 Feet

Notable Trails: Offa's Dyke, Glyndwrs Way & The Heart of Wales Trail

Maps: Ordnance Survey 1.25,000 Sheet: 200, 201 & Landranger 148

 

Digital: 1.25,000: OS Digital

Location Map: Click

 

The Radnor Forest is for the connoisseur of wild. There are numerous deep cut valleys most notably the Harley, which can only really be seen if you walk into the forest itself. It's unassuming nature is what makes this rock dome feature a gem alongside the natural history and views.

 

Places and things to look out for are: Mynydd Ffoesidoes nature reserve (at the roof of Radnorshire), the firing range in the Harley Valley, New Radnor Castle, Burial mounds, rings cairns and nearby Llandegley Rocks a local geological wonder.

 

Other Areas of Interest: Water Breaks Its Neck waterfall (Spectacular), Walton Basin, Forest SSSI, 

Links: Good walking article, Fforest Inn, The Harp Inn, Royal Oak, Local Store New Radnor the Thomas Shop historical store Penybont

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Getting to the Radnor

Forest

From Hereford its just over an hr West on the A465

From Gloucester it's 1 hr. 30 Mins North West along the A40 & A465

From Bristol it's 1 hr North along the M5, A449, A40 & A465

From Birmingham it's 1 hr 55 Mins along the A456 & A44

From London it's 3 Hrs 15 Mins along the M4, M48, A449, A40 & A465

Magnify out or in

For buses (we like public transport) see Hereford 461 to New Radnor, From the West see the X47 to Llandrindod Wells then the 461 to New Radnor, From the South see Brecon T4 to Llandrindod Wells then the 461 to New Radnor. Lastly from the North see the X75 from Shrewsbury to Rhayader then the X47 to Llandrindod Wells and then onto the 461 to New Radnor.

Chi mountain is everywhere in the Wye Basin

The spirit of the Wye isn't just in the main channel it's in the mountains and vales that make it what it is. Breathe in it's life force and explore it's Wyeld waters. 

Picture: Abergwesyn Valley in the Cambrian Mountains. Home to the River Irfon

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Cambrian Mountains

The Cambrian Mountains are a vast area in Mid Wales that's home to what's known as the countries last remaining wilderness. Lying between the Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons National Parks it's a working land as well as a national park in-waiting. With deep cut valleys, dark skies, vast plateaus and peat bogs, rushing rivers that feed some of Britain's most well known such as the Wye, Severn and Towy, waterfalls, ancient cultures, spectacular Victorian engineering via the Elan Valley dams, the Red Kite and rugged mountain views to inspire they are a place for exploration and peace. 

With no large settlements within the mountains boundaries it was named in 1835 by English geologist Adam Sedgwick who discovered Rocks that were formed or deposited over 500 million years ago in Wales. Cambrian was the name given to Wales by the Romans but it now describes the rock that contains some of the earliest records of abundant and varied life-forms on earth. Read on for more. 

 

The Last Wilderness Of Wales

Authority/Districts: Powys/Caredigion

 

Wye Rivers Present: Irfon, BidnoTarrenig & Marteg 

 

Highest Peak in Range: Plynlimon 752 Meters 2,467 Feet 

 

Highest in the Wye system: Plynlimon

Notable Trails: Wye Valley Walk, Severn WayMonks Trodd, Cambrian WayGlyndwrs Way & The Heart of Wales Trail

 

Notable Wye Rivers: Tarrenig, Bidno, Marteg, Irfon

Maps: Ordnance Survey 1.25,000 Sheet: 199, 188, 200, 213, 214 & LR 146, 147 & 135

Digital: 1.25,000: OS Digital

Location Map: Click

 

The Cambrian Mountains are for the tourist and the connoisseur of wild. There are miles and miles of trails to explore as well as mountain bike trails and there is a visitor center where more information can be obtained at the Elan Visitor Centre.

 

Places and things to look out for are: Claerwen Reservoir for the views, The DolymynachDrygarn Fawr for the summit and ancient history, Afon Gwesyn and Rhiwnant for the valleys, Cwmystwyth for the epic, 

 

Other Areas of Interest: The town of Rhayader is a great spot to kick back as is Llanwrtyd Wells on the Irfon, Lost Arc Music, Gilfach Nature ReserveCae Pwll Bo Wildlife Reserve & Red Kite Rhayader

Links: Cambrian Mountains Society

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Getting to the Cambrian Mountains

From Hereford its just over an hour West on the A465

From Gloucester it's 1 hr. 30 Mins West along the A40 & A465

From Bristol it's North along the M5, A449, A40 & A465

From Birmingham it's 2 hr 20 Mins along the A456, A4117, A49, A4113, A488 & A44

From London it's 4 Hrs along the M4, A449, A40, A479 & A470.

Magnify out or in

For buses (we like public transport) see Hereford 461 to Llandrindod Wells, X47 to Rhayader and from the South see Brecon T4 to Llandrindod Wells then the X47 to Rhayader. Lastly from the North see the X75 from Shrewsbury to Rhayader.

For More Go to Wye Summits