Here we are at the end of April, and it’s been a very good month for lots of reasons.
Firstly, lockdown was eased so that we could now leave the house and go out and about. We’ve looked forward to this for weeks and thankfully the weather also didn’t disappoint. Here are some of the places to visit and to walk, easily accessible from Pippins.
Our first trip out was on Easter Sunday and we decided on an afternoon’s drive out to the Cambrian Mountains. It was a spectacular day with blue skies, and although there was still a chill in the air, it was mostly warm with lots of sun.
We first drove to Beulah via Builth Wells on the A483. From Beulah we took the mountain road (just past the B4358) to Abergwesyn and from Abergwesyn we continued on along the mountain road towards Tregaron, turning left to the Llyn Brianne Reservoir and the RSPB wildlife reserve. The roads are narrow and steep in places but give fantastic views across the magnificent Cambrian Mountains.
We made a stop at a picnic area by the reservoir, which gave beautiful views across the water. From there we explored further through Ystrad Ffin and Rhandirmwyn, and along the way found a quiet spot by a river to take our picnic. Keeping straight on through Rhandirmwyn we then took the next left turn. This small unclassified road brought us to the Cynghordy Viaduct, looking very incongruous yet extremely imposing in the Welsh landscape. No trains to be seen, but the sheep and their lambs in the field close by were very curious and came running noisily to the fence, presumably hoping for food. Unfortunately all I could offer them was a rub on the nose and they soon lost interest and wandered away.
Then it was back out again onto the A483 to Beulah then to Llandrindod Wells via Newbridge on Wye on the B4358. A very enjoyable afternoon out after a long, lockdown winter!
For our second outing we took a walk in the Elan Valley from Nantgwyllt Church, back across the bridge then turning left along the side of Garreg-ddu Reservoir. Although there had been a frost that morning and the air was quite cold, there was a clear, crisp clarity in the morning light, and was a perfect morning for a walk. The water was like glass and the blue sky was stunningly reflected, begging for photos to be taken at every turn. The walk is an easy, level walk with no challenges. We walked for about forty minutes before turning back, retracing our steps and returning to the car.
Our next outing, and making the most of the continuing glorious weather, was to Gilfach Nature Reserve, which is off the A470 north of Rhayader and about 30 minutes from Pippins. This was for another walk, and we parked in the car park just off the main road, crossed to the hillside opposite and followed the purple Walking Through Time trail. The trails are very well signposted and easy to follow. It was a bit of a steep climb at first but soon levelled off to follow the hillside along the river valley. We followed the trail back across the road towards the Visitor Centre (closed at present) and then by the river and waterfall, eventually returning to the car. Altogether it took about an hour and a half of gentle walking, with lots of stops for admiring the views and taking photos. We heard our first cuckoo, saw Buzzards and Red Kites, heard a very loud Wren, saw Grey Wagtails and a Dipper on the river. We were fascinated to learn the name Witches Whiskers for the lichen growing on some of the trees. Another beautiful walk completed!
For our last walk in April, we returned to the Elan. This time we made our way to Claerwen Reservoir, which is accessed by passing Nantgwyllt Church and following the road to it’s conclusion. There is a fairly steep right-hand turn off the road to reach the reservoir above the valley, overlooking the large car park below. By this time the weather had definitely declined, but at least the threat of any rain held off. It was decidedly cold and breezy, and although there were some glimpses of blue sky, mostly the weather was cloudy and dull. This is a bleak landscape and after walking for some forty minutes, we decided to turn back to the warmth of the car. We agreed that this is a walk to be taken on a brighter, warmer day if possible! But it is an easy walk and if you are a serious walker you could continue for many miles along this route.
Now we look forward to May, to more easing of lockdowns, warmer weather and more walks. Watch this space!