Arrow Source Trail
Taking In the Source of the river Arrow
Starting at the Forest Inn just passed Llanfihangel Nant Melan in Radnorshire the Arrow Trail is an inspiring source walk that takes in, not only the source of the River Arrow a Wye sub tributary, but the summit of Gwaunceste Hill to. At 542 meters this hill affords you superb views of the intriguing Llandegley Rocks to the North West, the majestic Radnor Forest to the immediate North and the Black Mountains to the South not to mention Herefordshire, Shropshire and Gloucestershire. The source of the Arrow is an enchanting series of gullies avocado green and lush making this walk a real treat on all levels. Instructions below are for the loop back to New Radnor and the bus. We've included a map for back to your car.
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.
Starting at the Forest Inn Car park, which plays host to the 461 Hereford to Llandrindod Wells bus and a request stop nearby walk the A481 for .5 KM until you come come to a gate on your left. This will bring you to Llynheilyn pond - again on your left. Bear right through another gate onto a track that will steadily climb and wind around the hill Bryn-Y-Maen. Keep going past a small pool (ideal for a dip) in the hill to your right until you reach a saddle in the hill about 500 meters from the small pool. Move straight forward. Another pool can be seen to your left nestled in the saddle at the base of Gwaunceste Hill.
On the map it shows a series of cross tracks. In fact only one is clear onto the hill. Take this one, which appears to be moving to your front and right and stay on the track for at least 1KM. It contours around Gwaunceste Hill until you see a fence running from left to right or vice versa. From the fence line look directly left up hill. Imagine the fence line being 12 o-clock. You're heading through some heather for the summit at about 10-11 o clock. On a clear day you can see the trig point up on the top. Once on top the trig point is not far away. You might hit it bang on.
Enjoy the 360 degree views. Enjoy the 360 degree views. On a good day they're epic with the Cambrian Mountains in the distance as well as the Radnor Forest, the Black Mountains and the central Brecon Beacons. Fromm the trig head East along a track that is fairly easy to follow. Check the map. You'll see the Arrow source marked on it as 3 gullies. Head for the furthest on the right. You can walk down it or around it. Explore for a while and sense what beauty is in your midst - the Arrow stream appears fairly quickly. Be aware the source or gully looks like a ha ha from above. If walking around it a trail will lead you down to Cwm Kesty. If walking through the Gully/ravine, which is for the agile continue for 1 KM or so until you come across a track that heads upwards to your right. This will bring you to Cwm Kesty. Once on the track at Cwm Kesty turn right along it and head back into the hills. This is hard core farming country but is beautiful.
Walk away from Cwm Kesty North and stay on the track until you reach firstly the Gilwern Brook that crosses the track then a small plantation. From the plantation follow the track passed Black Yat an old stone structure (see map) - stick to it until you pass Llanwentre Pool. Bear right over Pentre Tump dropping down to Upper Blaen Y Cwm. Walk passed the old settlement now on your right, through a field until you come to another settlement on your left, which is long. Continue forward until you come to another field and a farm in front. Walk through the farm and onto the road until you reach a small chapel at Yardo. To the left of the chapel is a bridal way. Walk up it until you come to like a cross roads. You are taking the small back road to New Radnor, which is again left.
Brief Back to The Car & Forest Inn
As above the route is the same until you come to Llanwentre Pool passed Black Yat. From Llanwentre Pool head straight ahead as before passed one fence line and then a second (see map). Once at the second veer left along a track to head for Foice Farm. Walk all the way down the back lane until you once again reach the A481. You are back to your start point.
Spec N Stats for Bus Route
Start: Fforest Inn Climbing: 250 Meters Distance: 9 Miles Time: 4.5 Hours Walking Grade: 3
With well laid out tracks the Arrow Trail requires moderate effort to walk. We've said 4.5 hours to New Radnor from the Fforest Inn because we are accounting for simply enjoying the space. For back to the car it's quicker and a shorter day out at about 6.5 miles. There's heather clad slopes, an enchanting river source, amazing views and full on farming country along the way. All in all it's a varied, beautiful and awe inspiring walk.
Fforest Inn. Click. Your start point and possibly a place for refreshment.
River Arrow. Click. Enchanting and beautiful.
River Wye. Click. Britains 5th longest river and most uninterrupted.
Radnor Forest. Click. Wild and remote uplands in Mid Wales.
Black Mountains. Click. An awesome range often overlooked and source of some great Wye rivers.
Cool short Video at the source of the river Arrow. Click youtube Icon to enjoy.
New Radnor Route
Map 1: Location
Map 4: View Gilwern
Map 2: To The Summit
Map 3: Source & Beyond
Map 5: To The Chapel
Map 6: New Radnor
Route Map New Radnor-Download
Fforest Inn Loop
The full route is in the PDF File down below. Pop up 1 is the same as file number 4 above but differs thereafter.
Map 1: View Gilwern
Map 2: To The Lane
Map 3: Fforest Inn
Route Map Fforest Inn-Download
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 incomplete route. Because there are no clear trails to the summit of Gwaunceste hill the points could not be made. Please see maps for details. We at least get the approach route here to the said fence line.
Things to Look Out For
There are a number of things to look out for as you head on up to the summit of Gwaunceste hill or the Arrow source. We mention Radnor Forest and the Black Mountains but there is also Llandegely Rocks to look out for to the North West. This is the source of the river Edw and a major feature of the Builth Inliar an old volcanic island complex. There are four stones nearby the trail to Gwaunceste hill, a small hermits house tucked into Llanfihangel hill called Pant-glas (there is a right of way through there) - it is fascinating and there is the awesome 'Gilwern gorge.' Stop to admire - not many know this is here (see picture below).
Llandegley Rocks 436 Meters
Great Rhos 660 Meters
The Whimble 599 Meters
Hay Bluff 677 Meters
Black Hill 640 Meters
Twmpa 690 Meters
Llandeilo Hill 439 Meters
Carneddau 436 Meters
Other Points Of Interest
Stanners Rock is a gem. People will have passed by this for decades not knowing what's there. It's a national nature reserve 4 KM West of Kington the first Arrow settlement. It's known to be a prime spot for rare and unusual plants; many that are rare in Britain and more frequently associated with the Mediterranean region. There's a good walk up from a place where you can park the car down below. See link for location.
Stanner Rocks Grid Ref: SN773790
Hergest Croft Gardens
Again a place for plants on or nearby the river Arrow. Hergest Croft Gardens is beautiful. It was 120 years ago with banker William Hartland Banks who was a traveler, photographer, gardener and passionate plantsman. Alongside his wife Dorothy they built their home Hergest Croft in 1895 and thereupon created the garden which was influenced by the writings of William Robinson. They're well worth walking around for the 5,000 trees and shrubs there and the national.......
Maple collection. Also included are 30 acres of giant rhododendrons, exotic trees, herbaceous borders, lavender, roses and wild flower areas. It's pretty awesome. Go to website for details Hergest Croft.
Water Breaks Its Neck
In and around the Arrow Trail are some spectacular sites besides the views and the Gilwern Gorge. Another must is the 'Water Breaks Its Neck' the quirkily named waterfall nestled at the base of the Radnor Forest not far from New Radnor. It's similar to the Arrow Ravine full of 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.
Falls Grid Ref: SN 82369 81941
For a great adventure to the source of the falls and to the falls themselves click the youtube Icon and enjoy.
Trails & Refreshments Nearby
You can hike from the source into Kington or even backpack the whole river (see Arrow Diary). If you do you'll intersect with the Offa's Dyke the national trail that runs along the border with England and Wales covering a distance of 177 miles. At Newchurch there are refreshments. It's easy to walk passed the church but be sure to pay it a visit. There you'll find a friendly welcome and some trail magic in the form of warm drinks, tea and biscuits etc.
Other places in the area to get some refreshment or something to eat if hanging out are the Royal Oak at Gladestry the Red Lion Inn and of course the Fforest Inn where we started the Arrow odyssey. You can also try the Harp at Old Radnor
Kington is the only town on the river Arrow. It's a Herefordshire market town that was founded in recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Chingtune' from the Old English 'cyne tun' meaning royal manor. You'll find it 13 KM as the crow flies from the source of the river. It is well known for the Kington Walking Festival each year, which attracts walkers from far and wide to walk the great hills and vales in the area as featured in the Arrow Trail. With good public transport, amenities, cafes, pubs and shopping amid its medieval street plan it's well worth spending time there.
Photo: Roger Cornfoot
A great shop to drop into is The Walking Hub. It's much more than an outdoor store.