WALK 13: Pant yr Eos / Twmbarlwm

Maps: Landranger 171l Pathfinder 1130 Start Point GR 264915

This fairly strenuous walk of about 12 kilometres (7 miles) has one longish, fairly tiring climb. It starts in the Valley of the Nightingale, climbs to a viewpoint on a Norman motte on Twmbarlwm (1375 ft) and goes through a farm that boasts a Welsh farmhouse (1719) and stables bearing the occupants names on the doors. The lady of the house has created a lovely small garden. Suggested stop for picnic lunch on top of the Norman motte.

Getting there from Cardiff:

by car: out to M4 east, leave motorway at Junction 27 ('High Cross B4591'). In a kilometre (just beyond an Elf petrol station) turn right into Cefn Walk ('Locks Canal Centre'). Continue straight on for approximately 3 kilometres, down winding hill and across a bridge to reach a SP on left (Bettws). Go just beyond this and in 20 / 30 metres turn left into an unclassified road. Be warned some vandals had been altering the direction posts the day that we did the walk (editor's note), The road narrows to pass between Henllys Parish Church on left and Church Farm on right. Go straight on for another kilometre, ignoring left and right turns, to reach a small lay-by on the right at bottom of short hill Park.

The walk begins at a stile in the hedge opposite the lay-by. Go over it and cross the field, keeping high, then drop down to a stream (Nant yr Eos) which is crossed by plank footbridge to a stile in woodland boundary. Over the stile and continue upwards through the conifer wood for about 150 metres to a track ahead. Turn right onto track and follow round bearing left onto footpath where the track drops steeply down to the right. Follow this footpath upwards (glimpse of reservoir through trees on the right) eventually to reach a stile into field. Over stile and continue straight ahead, making for a row of large trees. Turn right at the trees and descend the field, crossing the feeder stream with its settling ponds for the reservoir. Follow first a path and then a cart track, with reservoir 50 metres to the right, and through a metal gate. Cwrt Henllys farm lies ahead. Take the lefthand gate at the farm and keeping left of the barn pass behind the farmhouse to a metal gate and a road. Turn left and follow the road up for about 100 metres to a bend. Ascend a rough, stoney, waymarked track on the left to a high stile into woodland. Climb over it and continue on forest track to emerge on metalled road below Twmbarlwm. Cross the road and head towards the summit, crossing a stile just below the Norman Motte from where there are extensive views.

Descend from the motte and follow a footpath going left to reach the bottom of the hill. Continue on footpath to reach a stile in approx 150 metres. Cross it and follow the wide grass track ahead and eventually reach a path on right descending through bracken and fern to a track at the bottom. Turn right and continue ahead to a gate opening onto the metalled road from which you began your ascent of Twmbarlwm. Re-enter the woodland and retrace your steps, first through the woodland and then down the rough stoney track to the point at which you left the road and joined the track earlier. Go left on this road (FP sign "Castell y Bwlch"). In 150 metres go right over a stile by a metal gate and down a grass track between hedges to another metal gate across the path. Climb the gate and in 4/5 metres turn left into a field with the hedge on your left. Bear slightly right across this field descending towards a wooden pylon to an opening in the hedge near the pylon. Pass through and keeping hedge on your left continue on to a farm track, at first descending and then ascending, which goes to the right. Through 2 metal gates to Pandy Mawr farm (Welsh longhouse dating from 1719). The garden is on the right and is worth a pause.

Continue straight on for 150 metres and turn sharp right to reach and pass through metal gate and down to a contractor's yard. Approaching a large shed bear left, cross the stream and over a stile. Keep the stream on your right and follow it around through the undergrowth for about 30 metres until you come to a stile and immediately a plank over a small ditch. First go left up the hill (heavily rutted by cattle) and then right. Keeping the stream on your right go ahead to a gap in the hedge to enter a holly grove. Go through to a footbridge. Cross over a stile and turn left to follow a hedge to find a stile in the corner of the field above a ditch. Keeping the hedge on your left walk through a copse in the corner of this field to a stile just above the stream. Walk on through conifers to a stile at the end of the wood. Cross a stream and keeping the hedge on your left make for a metal gate ahead. Go straight up the next field and through the left hand of 2 gates by a cottage. Down to the road, turn right and continue along until you come to a T-junction in about a kilometre. Turn right and continue on road to the lay-by from which you started the walk.

Jim Hargreaves

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