Geo-Trips :: Tough country above Vyrnwy

West of Lake Vyrnwy

A walk from Cwm yr Hafod, Tue, 4 Jul 2017 by Richard Law

A word of warning from the start. This is seriously rough country. Despite wandering in the area in the past, I rather under-estimated how tough the going would be - once up on the hills, it's pretty much relentless deep heather and tussock grass in the summer, with very little respite, and no vehicle tracks to speak of, just the occasional sheeptrack.

Maybe because of the hard going, it's obviously an area that's little-visited and you soon get to feel well away from the crowds, simply 'cos there ain't anyone around for miles.

The whole walk is about 9.5 miles, and apart from an initial climb of about 900 feet immediately to the north of Hafod Fudr, it's almost level for most of the way around.

Click the blue circles to see a photograph taken from that spot and read further information about the location. The blue lines indicate the direction of view. There is also a slideshow of this trip. ( )

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SH9521 : What are you doing here? by Richard Law
What are you doing here?
"Waiting for Christmas" by the look of it. One of a handful of escaped,... more

SH9721 : On the road around Vyrnwy by Richard Law
On the road around Vyrnwy
Very close to the Hirddu bridge, looking back to the east in the general direction... more

SH9721 : OS benchmark - Vyrnwy, Hirddu bridge by Richard Law
OS benchmark - Vyrnwy, Hirddu bridge
An OS cutmark (and an adjacent mason's mark) on the parapet wall of the bridge... more

SH9721 : Stacked timber in Cwm yr Hafod by Richard Law
Stacked timber in Cwm yr Hafod
The forestry block to either side of this haul road is being felled; stacks of... more

SH9621 : Timber stacks on the forest haul road by Richard Law
Timber stacks on the forest haul road
This forest block is actively being harvested in mid 2017, so there's a lot of... more

SH9621 : Edge of forest block above Hafod Fudr by Richard Law
Edge of forest block above Hafod Fudr
This steep and bracken-infested hillslope leads up onto Creigiau'r Llyn.

SH9620 : Edge of the forest above Hafod Fudr by Richard Law
Edge of the forest above Hafod Fudr
From the valley of the Afon Hirddu, this hillside leads rather steeply up onto... more

SH9621 : Hafod Fudr farm buildings by Richard Law
Hafod Fudr farm buildings
Relatively modern, in the sense that the present stone building was erected in... more

SH9621 : Sheeptrack through the bracken by Richard Law
Sheeptrack through the bracken
One of the less problematic routes up this hillside - a direct assault, whilst... more

SH9521 : Broken wall by Richard Law
Broken wall
A short stretch of the old fridd wall across the hillside, which is marked on the... more

SH9521 : High on Creigiau'r Llyn by Richard Law
High on Creigiau'r Llyn
A shallow drain through the deep heather and moss that comprises the surface of... more

SH9521 : Modern fence on Creigiau'r Llyn by Richard Law
Modern fence on Creigiau'r Llyn
This may well be a replacement for an older fence, although there wasn't any... more

SH9522 : Fenceline above Fridd Fawr by Richard Law
Fenceline above Fridd Fawr
A modern fence on the hillside above the Eunant valley.

SH9521 : Summit area of Bryn Mawr by Richard Law
Summit area of Bryn Mawr
At 534m, this is just about the highest land for some distance in any direction,... more

SH9421 : Along the 'ridge' of Bryn Mawr by Richard Law
Along the 'ridge' of Bryn Mawr
Bryn Mawr forms the northern side of the Hirddu valley; this location lies on the... more

SH9422 : On the top of the Bryn Mawr ridge by Richard Law
On the top of the Bryn Mawr ridge
Deep heather and long grass & moss; hard walking country, which involves a lot... more

SH9422 : More moor by Richard Law
More moor
The summit ridge of Bryn Mawr here is an extensive heather-and-moss moorland, a... more

SH9422 : Cattle up ahead by Richard Law
Cattle up ahead
Roughly half a mile away on the moor, there's a herd of about 10 hardy Welsh Black... more

SH9322 : Moorland above the Eunant Fach by Richard Law
Moorland above the Eunant Fach
High on the ridge of Bryn Mawr, this deep heather-and-moss moorland grows lush in... more

SH9322 : Towards Moel y Cerrig Duon by Richard Law
Towards Moel y Cerrig Duon
High moorland above Eunant Fach; little visited and almost completely trackless.

SH9321 : Cattle on the high moor by Richard Law
Cattle on the high moor
A small herd of hardy Welsh Black cattle high on Bryn Mawr. I saw several such... more

SH9321 : Unnamed lakes on the ridge by Richard Law
Unnamed lakes on the ridge
Actually, 'lakes' is pushing it a bit - it's little more than a small boggy puddle... more

SH9221 : Sheep on Blaen Hirddu-Fawr by Richard Law
Sheep on Blaen Hirddu-Fawr
On this walk, there were more cattle than sheep up here, so these two seemed a bit... more

SH9221 : A rare track by Richard Law
A rare track
High on the ridge of Bryn Mawr, the going underfoot is almost exclusively deep... more

SH9221 : Junction of fences on Bryn Glâs by Richard Law
Junction of fences on Bryn Glâs
The hills here are grazed by a few sheep, but also a small herd of Welsh Black... more

SH9221 : Welsh Blacks by Richard Law
Welsh Blacks
In this case, Welsh Blacks legging it down the hillside because they don't get to... more

SH9221 : A really boggy bit by Richard Law
A really boggy bit
Here on the saddle between Bryn Glâs and Carreg y Bîg, the maps mark a... more

SH9220 : Up the hill towards Carreg y Bîg by Richard Law
Up the hill towards Carreg y Bîg
On the old county border fence, climbing towards the substantial hill of Carreg y... more

SH9220 : Down hill to the bwlch by Richard Law
Down hill to the bwlch
The flat ground in the middle distance is the saddle between Cwn Hirddu Fawr on... more

SH9220 : Carreg y Bîg triangulation point by Richard Law
Carreg y Bîg triangulation point
A cairn built (or at least, augmented) in the late 19th century and used for... more

SH9219 : Along the fence to Carreg y Bîg by Richard Law
Along the fence to Carreg y Bîg
The fence marks the rough line of the boundary between the historic Welsh counties... more

SH9219 : Moel Llygoed summit by Richard Law
Moel Llygoed summit
Recorded as 598m (1962ft), this is an western outlier of Mynydd Coch.

SH9219 : Fenceline down to Mynydd Coch by Richard Law
Fenceline down to Mynydd Coch
A relatively new fence (my evidence being several pieces of the wrappers from the... more

SH9319 : Fenceline below Mynydd Coch by Richard Law
Fenceline below Mynydd Coch
A new fence running across the moor between Carreg y Bîg and Mynydd Coch.

SH9319 : Substantial corner-bracing by Richard Law
Substantial corner-bracing
On the new fence across the moor, no-one's taking any chances with the bracing at... more

SH9320 : Moorland below Carreg y Bîg by Richard Law
Moorland below Carreg y Bîg
Taken from more or less the same place as [[1238712]], but looking NW across the... more

SH9320 : Down the Hirddu Fach by Richard Law
Down the Hirddu Fach
Barely detectable on the ground in mid summer except as a boggy trickle through... more

SH9319 : Approaching Mynydd Coch from the SW by Richard Law
Approaching Mynydd Coch from the SW
A little way below the summit trig, this new fence runs across the watershed... more

SH9319 : Mynydd Coch flush bracket by Richard Law
Mynydd Coch flush bracket
Flush Bracket 10331 embedded into the trig on the summit; originally levelled when... more

SH9319 : Mynydd Coch trig by Richard Law
Mynydd Coch trig
A fine viewpoint, here looking over to a glimpse of Lake Vyrnwy. The entire area... more

SH9419 : North of Blaen Cownwy by Richard Law
North of Blaen Cownwy
Endless moorland between the Hirddu and Cownwy valleys.

SH9419 : East of Mynydd Coch by Richard Law
East of Mynydd Coch
This is not country to be taken lightly. Every mile walked has to be fought for;... more

SH9419 : Towards Blaen Cownwy by Richard Law
Towards Blaen Cownwy
Looking down the SE hillside of Mynydd Coch towards the valley of the Afon Cownwy.

SH9419 : Marker cairn above Blaen Cownwy by Richard Law
Marker cairn above Blaen Cownwy
Unmarked on the maps, and not noted by any of the historic artefact surveys... more

SH9419 : The Blaen Cownwy cairn by Richard Law
The Blaen Cownwy cairn
Perched on a small rocky eminence (there's a bit of an outcrop in the dead ground... more

SH9419 : The Blaen Cownwy cairn by Richard Law
The Blaen Cownwy cairn
Overlooking the upper Hirddu Fach valley

SH9420 : Moorland in the upper valley of the Hirddu Fach by Richard Law
Moorland in the upper valley of the Hirddu Fach

SH9420 : Across the Hirddu Fach by Richard Law
Across the Hirddu Fach
More or less the opposite view to that taken 8 years ago in [[1238689]] - I think... more

SH9420 : Hillside above the Hirddu Fach by Richard Law
Hillside above the Hirddu Fach
On the northern side of Mynydd Coch, looking across towards the end of the Cefn... more

SH9420 : Headwaters of the Hirddu Fach by Richard Law
Headwaters of the Hirddu Fach
Fairly high up in the cwm where the Afon Hirddu Fach rises, it's clearly becoming... more

SH9420 : The upper Hirddu Fach by Richard Law
The upper Hirddu Fach

SH9420 : Small cascade on the Hirddu Fach by Richard Law
Small cascade on the Hirddu Fach
Mostly this stream runs deep and reasonably slowly, but there's the occasional... more

SH9520 : The Afon Hirddu Fach by Richard Law
The Afon Hirddu Fach

SH9520 : Rowan in the valley of the Hirddu Fach by Richard Law
Rowan in the valley of the Hirddu Fach
The first broadleaf tree seen for miles. I noticed none upstream of here at all,... more

SH9520 : Waterfalls on the Afon Hirddu Fach by Richard Law
Waterfalls on the Afon Hirddu Fach
Marked on the 1:25000 map, these small falls are where the river tumbles over a... more

SH9520 : Old mine workings by Richard Law
Old mine workings
A small exploratory mine in the right bank of the Afon Hirddu Fach, with a few... more

SH9620 : Lluest-wen farmstead by Richard Law
Lluest-wen farmstead
Described by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust as a 'post-medieval farmstead'... more

SH9620 : Well, it's that or paddle by Richard Law
Well, it's that or paddle
Means to cross the Afon Hirddu Fach just above the confluence with the Hirddu... more

SH9621 : Footbridge below Hafod Fudr by Richard Law
Footbridge below Hafod Fudr
A much more substantial affair than either of the ones off-shot to the left, one... more

SH9621 : Confluence of the Hirddu rivers by Richard Law
Confluence of the Hirddu rivers
Having been in sight of one or other of these two streams most of the day, it was... more

All images © Richard Law and available under a Creative Commons licence external link.

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