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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Friday, 13 September 2019

Friday Walk - To the Chartist Cave in the limestone uplands of Mynydd Llangynidr, back along the Crawnon Valley: Llangynidr to Bwlch or Circular [Black Mountains Trip]

Length: 21.9 km (13.6 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 752/655 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 6 ½ hours
Toughness: 9 out of 10

10.50 Bus Line 43 from Abergavenny Bus Station Stand 5 (stops Crickhowell Square 11.10), arrives Llangynidr Village Hall 11.26. Return buses from Bwlch, All Saints (Line X43): 17.21, 18.21.

From/To London:
Take the 07.45 Swansea train from Paddington (08.12 Reading), arriving Newport (Wales) at 09.30. Connect to the 09.35 Transport for Wales train to Holyhead, arrives Abergavenny 10.00. For the quietest route from train to bus station, consult the pdf for SWC 334. If the connection is missed, the next Abergavenny train is the 10.19, arrives 10.42. Then walk down Station Road to the A 40 to pick up the bus there at 10.52.
Return trains to Paddington: 18.14 --> 21.12, 18.57 --> 21.31, 20.45 --> 23.37.

This walk leads from Llangynidr village up along a tight valley, the Cwm Cleisfer, and onto the open limestone uplands of Mynydd Llangynidr, initially along a lane then through pastures, in the latter stages with some difficult-to-find-and-negotiate paths near the transition to the open moorland. Mynydd Llangynidr is a basically treeless undulating mountain of open limestone uplands with numerous depressions, shake holes and pits, as well as many ancient cairns (burial mounds) dotted across the moorland. You climb to the source of the Cleisfer, a perfect picnic spot, and then across the scarred landscape (map and compass come in handy) to the Chartist Cave, arguably one of Wales' most important historic monuments. The Chartists were a 19th century working-class movement for political reform and this cave is where the local group met and stored weapons before the Newport Rising of 1839.
You cross the top of the moorland hill and descend to a remote road by an active limestone quarry and pick up a former tramway for transporting goods to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal to skirt around the rim of the picturesque wooded Crawnon Valley. A stretch along a ridge high above the Talybont Reservoir is followed by a descent through lush pastures back to Llangynidr. To complete the walk, cross the Usk River and ascend to Bwlch on the other side for a return bus.

An Extension near the end over the Tor y Foel hill adds 250m and 113m ascent.
A Variation of the route near the end through Llangynidr leads along the rivers Crawnon and Usk to Llangynidr Bridge rather than along the canal. This is flood-prone when The Usk is in spate and has some steep and rocky bits.
A finish at the start point in Llangynidr is described but only makes sense if you arrived by car, as the last bus through the village (at 16.28) will have left by the time you finish the walk.

For summary, walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here.

Lunch: Picnic.
Lunch Off-Route: Tafarn-Ty-Uchaf (Top House) in Trefil. The Top House pub is located 1.8 km off route, after 9.3 km/5.8 mi of walking.
The Coach & Horses Inn (open all day, 3.1 km from the end) and The Walnut Tree Café Bar (open to 17.00, 2.2 km from the end) in Llangynidr; The New Inn in Bwlch  (open from 17.00, right by the bus stop). There is also The Red Lion  in Llangynidr, near the start of the walk (open all day, suitable for car drivers) T=swc.332

1 comment:

Thomas G said...

Rare maybe even unique case of a recce walk (on the extra day of last year's Brecon trip) having a higher attendance (15) than the first proper outing: n=11. 6 off the bus, 4 by car waiting at Llangynjdr, 1 with an earlier start, met halfway through the walk. Glorious weather, w=warm-and-sunny. Extra far views to the Black Mountains and Central Beacons. The tough, partly pathless and overgrown stretch in the gorge had been improved with a better route and directions, or so the walk author thought... It was now also very overgrown with ferns and gorse and as tough as last year's variant. An energy sapping 700m. Solution: other rights of way to the west that circumvent that stretch. Next time...
One other bit caused momentary confusion in some of the by now formed subgroups but no one got lost. 4 went over the top of Tor y Foel and 2 explored the new variant along The Usk (2 herons). Due to having the luxury of 3 cars, there was no need to walk all the way to Bwlch for a bus, so we all rested at The Coach & Horses and drove back to Abergavenny from there.