Diaries from my Wonderful Walks in Wales
November 16, 2012
After a wet and windy November morning the skies started to clear and I spied my window to take Oscar for his walk.
Driving over the DoveyBridge towards Machynlleth, on my way to Borth Beach I was distracted by a glistening track rising up the hill opposite. I had seen this little road several times and often wondered where it went. But today it looked even more inviting.
I passed through Machynlleth, the Wednesday market stalls still filling the streets, a few more customers venturing out as the weak winter sun filtered through. Whatever the weather, the locals congregate in Machynlleth on a Wednesday, if not to shop, then just to exchange news and gossip over tea or a pint.
Driving out of the town, round the huge roundabout that goes no where, I spied the little lane.
Single track, it climbs steeply left up Bryn Glas—the blue hill.
After a short, sharp ascent, we reach the summit, and the road opens onto a wide grassy field, and a stunning view down over a network of interlinking valleys. There is plenty of space to park, and Oscar is keen to explore new territory.
The sun is out and the sky wonderful with huge cumulus clouds and shafts of light hitting the mountains , spotlighting the golden bracken, and the dark green conifers.
There are several lane and paths to choose from, and I let Oscar choose the way.
The track followed a stream, swollen by the morning’s rain, bubbling and crashing over the rocks. The bushes were laden with sloes, and the rocks soft with a thick layer of mosses.
The track wandered through woodland, alongside the stream, and after a mile or so we came to a clearing. I could see the rudiments of a vegetable patch and then saw a tiny cottage, looking for all the world like a Brother’s Grim fairytale!
A derelict barn alongside had a collection of children’s toys and there was washing on the line. How wonderful to live hidden away from civilization, but so close! The stream wound around the house, the woods provided shelter, what a perfect playground!
Two jack Russels came bounding over, yapping protectively. Oscar, as usual, ignored them completely, and they sniffed at him, admired his sheer size and nonchalance, and went back to their home.
The track rose up from the woodland out onto the open moors. Oscar flushed out a pair of Pheasants, and I was very surprised to see they were completely black. We saw several on our walk , all the same, and apparently this is a fairly common mutation.
From up here we had wonderful views East over towards Forge and Aberhosan. The path was wide springy turf with yellow gorse and purple heathers. We explored the network of paths , around hillocks and rocky outcrops, finding two beautiful large ponds, still as glass in the winter sun..
After sitting and admiring the view, we turned to return home.
It was only then we realized we were following ‘Owain Glyndwr’s way’.
This path was opened in 2002 to follow in the footsteps of one ofWales’s most famous sons.
Born in the middle 1300’s inNorth Wales, he was one of Richard 11’s knights. When Richard was deposed by Henry 1V, he rallied support fromWalesand fought against him.
Using guerilla tactics he managed to push the English fromWales, capturing several English built castles including Aberystwyth and Harlech ; which was no mean feat.
He was crowned Prince of Wales in 1404, and held his first parliament in Machynlleth in the same year.
He persuadedScotland,FranceandCastileto support him, and his reign lasted until 1416.
The pathway traverses many of the battlefields and of course goes through Machynlleth, the original capital ofWalesand the seat of the first Welsh Parliament.
On our way back, the path winds around Llynlloed, high above the town.
As dusk falls , the little town looks lovely below us with the lights twinkling and theDoveyRiverflowing swiftly under the bridge.
It must have been a welcome sight to Owain Glyndwr on many occasions as he marched back triumphant from his many missions
We also return home, not quite so triumphant, but pleased to have discovered yet another new path!