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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

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Sunday Walk - Sugar Loaf/Mynydd Pen-y-fâl Circular (from Abergavenny/Y Fenni) [Black Mountains Trip]

Length: 19.0 km (11.8 mi)  [shorter and longer walks possible]
Ascent/Descent: 595 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours
Toughness: 7 out of 10

09.30 Start at the Train Station, group passes the café at the Bus Station at 09.40.
From Crickhowell take the 09.25 (Bus Line X43) to Abergavenny, arrives 09.39 at the Bus Station.
Return buses to Crickhowell: 16.15, 18.15.

From/To London:
Daytrip not possible this weekend due to trackworks.

From the pretty town centre of Abergavenny walk up the iconic Sugar Loaf mountain, initially steeply up through lush pastures and ancient oak woods to Twyn-yr-Allt, a former settlement on one the lower foothills of the Black Mountains. From there continue along the mildly undulating treeless plateau tox Deri hill, covered in whimberries, bracken and gorse before turning steeply up the barren easterly flank of Sugar Loaf through the upland heathland, to the summit ridge of the southernmost peak of the Black Mountains, with superb panoramic views (in good weather) across South Wales and South West England.
Descend gently down the heather and gorse-covered flanks and continue along the gentle ridge of Mynydd Llanwenarth to descend more steeply through the large ancient oak wood of Deri Fach into St. Mary’s Vale and along the spring-fed Nant Iago (stream) to tea at the superb Sugar Loaf Vineyard’s Café and Tasting Room, before re-tracing the outbound route through the town centre.
Sugar Loaf is an immensely popular destination. The chosen route avoids paths from and to popular car parks, preferring quieter paths, while providing for a mixture of environments and views in all directions.
Due to being a conical top distant from any neighbouring mountain chain, Sugar Loaf is very exposed to bad weather. Especially the summit plateau can be unforgiving. Only the very highest bit can be skirted.

A longer descent route and a scenic diversion to a nearby pub at the bottom of the mountain in Llangenny are described, as is an alternative descent through Deri Fach oak wood along more challenging paths.

A start/finish at the Bus Station cuts 730m each way and 30m ascent at the end of the walk. Pick up the directions at the end of the second paragraph.
A taxi ride can cut out the first steep ascent out of Abergavenny to the entrance of Sunny Vale farm at the top of the straight bit of Pen-y-Pound road by a sharp right turn (3.2 km into the walk).The taxi ranks with the best chance of a car being present are at the train station and on Frogmore Street by the Tesco (1.5 km into the walk). Pick up the directions at the end of the first paragraph on page 5.
A Longer Descent Route down the flank of Sugar Loaf adds 2.2 km/1.4 mi and 71m ascent.
A Scenic Diversion to the Dragons Head in Llangenny adds 4.0 km/2.5 mi and 237m ascent to the longer descent route. From the pub it is straightforward to bail out to Crickhowell, along a signed lane.

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

Lunch: Picnic.
Lunch Off-Route: The Dragons Head in Llangenny (located 2.2 km downhill off the long route, after 12.9 km/8.0 mi of walking).
Tea: The Sugar Loaf Vineyard Coffee Shop and Tasting Room in Abergavenny (Open to 17.00, located 3.7 km from the end of the walk). T=swc.334

1 comment:

Thomas G said...

Some started from the train station, some from the bus station, some from along the route close to their accommodation, others had started a little earlier, but on the first top, the Twyn-yr-Allt ancient settlement, n=20 walkers were united (1 from yday skipped this walk, as she had gone up Sugar Loaf last year). The quiet route along Deri hill, avoiding the tourist masses until the top of the Loaf, seemed to find favour. A refreshment stop was made on the flank of the main ascent before the final push up, fearing the wind and the number of people on the plateau, but neither were too unnerving: lots of people, yes (incl. a 6 week old baby) but all well behaved walkers, not noisy flip-flop wearing tourists. All (from what I hear) took the longer and quieter descent route, and 6 descended all the way into the valley to The Dragon's Rest in Llangenny. What a nice pub! Recce walks had been on weekdays, so I had never been inside. Very friendly staff, very tasty food and atmospheric rooms. Recommended.
1 walker was met there by relatives and left with them for Newport and a train back to the Smoke. 1 other met friends up from Bristol (who then joined the walk for a very short stretch and proceeded to the Vineyard Café by car). We ascended back up the slope and down into St. Mary's Vale and along the Nant Iago stream through Deri Fach oakwood for a very lovely stretch. And when we got to the vineyard, the cafė was just closing, and most of the other walkers were just leaving, they had stayed there a full 90 minutes!
A fine day.