Offa's Dyke Path along Hatterrall Hill and Ridge, return through the Vale of Ewyas past Llanthony Priory and the Leaning Church in Cwmyoy
24.7 km (15.4 mi). Cumulative ascent/descent: 833/798m. For a shorter or longer walk, see below Walk options.
Start: Penbidwal, Pandy Inn Bus Stop Finish: Llanvihangel Crucorney, opp. Skirrid Inn Bus Stop
Pandy Inn Bus Stop, map reference SO 335 224, is 9 km north east of Abergavenny, 200 km west northwest of Charing Cross and 109m above sea level; Skirrid Inn Bus Stop, map reference SO 325 206, is 2 km south west of Pandy and 144m above sea level. Both are in Monmouthshire, Wales.
10 out of 10
Time: 6 ½ hours walking time.
Pandy Inn and Llanvihangel Crucorney are served by line X3 (Cardiff - Abergavenny – Hereford) with 7 buses a day Mon-Sat only. Fares from/to Abergavenny are £3.40 and £3.10 respectively (04/19).
Saturday Walkers’ Club: This walk is doable as a daywalk from London, especially if you have motorised transport, but also if taking a train to Abergavenny to connect to above bus service.
OS Landranger Map: 161 (The Black Mountains/Y Mynyddoedd Duon)
OS Explorer Map: OL13 (Brecon Beacons National Park – Eastern Area)
This route at the south easterly end of the Black Mountains area in the Brecon Beacons National Park starts with a steep ascent onto an Iron Age hillfort site and on to Hatterrall Hill, and then follows Offa’s Dyke Path and the Beacons Way across Hatterrall Hill and the largely heathery – but in parts boggy – open moorland of the dramatic Hatterrall Ridge with fine panoramic views from this natural boundary of a ridge up along the wild, lonely and beautiful Vale of Ewyas (the valley of the River Honddu and the easternmost valley of The Black Mountains) and across the South Wales mountain ranges to the west, and over the plains of the Welsh/English borderlands to the east, on a good day all the way to The Cotswolds and the Malvern Hills.
A dramatic descent at the start of the return leads down into the Vale of Ewyas with a bird’s eye view of the fascinating ruins of Llanthony Priory, the remnants of one of Wales’s great medieval buildings, and to lunch at its cellar bar or a nearby pub.
The return down the glacial valley between steep ridges offers fantastic views to the Sugar Loaf and Skirrid mountains near Abergavenny, some old oak woodlands, river meadows and plenty of waterways streaming down the hillsides. A memorable highlight is Cwmyoy village, both for the ascent of the superb viewpoint of a crag above the village and for the renowned crooked church, bent and twisted due to the still active landslide on which it was built.
Shorter and longer options are described.
A Shortcut just before lunch cuts 3.2 km/2.0 mi and 121m ascent.
Another Shortcut cuts the climb up the hill looming over Cwmyoy village, cutting 740m and 43m ascent.
A Shortcut mid-afternoon cuts 360m and 63m ascent.
An Extension over the superb viewpoint of Twyn-y-Gaer (hillfort) adds 2.0 km/1.2 mi and 196m ascent.
A Black Mountains Traverse, following Offa’s Dyke Path on from the Hatterrall Ridge to Hay Bluff and to Hay-on-Wye (for a pub lunch you’d have to descend to Llanthony) will be available as a separate walk.
Llanthony Priory Hotel Cellar Bar Llanthony, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 7NN (01873 890 487). The Priory Hotel’s bar is located 12.5 km/7.8 mi into the walk. Open Nov-Mar: Fri 18.00-23.00, all day Sat and 12.00-16.00 Sun; April-Jun & Sep-Oct: Tue-Fri 11.00-15.00 and 18.00-23.00, all day Sat-Sun; Jul-Aug: all day Tue-Sun. Food: 12.00-14.30 and 19.00-21.00.
The Old Pandy Inn Hereford Road Pandy, Monmouthshire, NP7 8DR (01873 890 208). At the start of the walk, so a tea stop if walked in reverse. Open from 18.00 Mon and from 12.00 Tue-Sun. Food served from 18.00 Mon-Thu and all day Fri-Sun.
|Welsh Glossary||aber: estuary, confluence, river mouth; afon: river; allt: hillside, cliff; aran: high place; bach: small; ban/fan/bannau (pl): peak, beacon, crest, hill, mountain; big: peak; blaen: source of river, head of valley; bod: dwelling; bre: hill; bron: hill-breast; bryn: hill; bwlch: gap, col, pass; cadair: chair; cae: field; caer/gaer: stronghold, fort; capel: chapel; carn/garn/carnedd/garnedd: cairn/heap of stones, tumulus; carreg/garreg: stone, rock; cefn: ridge, hillside; castell: castle; celli: grove, copse; cerwyn: pot-hole; cist: chest; clwyd: hurdle, gate; clog/clogwyn: cliff; clun: meadow; clydach: torrent; coch/goch: red; coed: wood; craig/graig: rock; crib/cribyn: crest, ridge, summit; crug: mound; cul: narrow; cwm: hangingvalley, corrie, bowl, dale; cyfrwy: ridge between two summits (saddle); ddinas: fort; dibyn: steep slope, precipice; diffwys: precipice, abyss; dim: no; din: hill-fortress: disgwylfa: place of observation, look-out point; dôl: meadow; du/ddu: black, dark; dwfr/dŵr: water; dyffryn: valley; -dyn: fortified enclosure; eglwys: church; eisteddfod: meeting-place, assembly; esgair: ridge; fach: small; fawr/mawr: big; fechan: smaller; ffald: sheep-fold, pound, pen, run; ffordd: road; ffridd: pasture; ffrwd: stream, torrent; ffynnon: spring, well; gallt: wooded hill; ganol: middle; garth: promontory, hill, enclosure; glan/lan: river-bank, hillock; glas: green, when referring to grass, pasture or leaves; or blue, when relating to the sea or air; glyn: deep valley, glen; gors: bog; gorsedd: tumulus, barrow, hillock; gwyddfa: mound, tumulus; gwylfa: look-out point; gwyn/gwen: white; gwynt: wind; hafn: gorge, ravine; hafod: summer dwelling; hen: old; hendre(f): winter dwelling, old home, permanent abode; heol: road; hesgyn: bog; hir: long; is: below, lower; llan: church, monastery; llawr: level area, floor of valley; llech: slab, stone, rock, rock; llethr: slope; lluest: shieling, cottage, hut; llwch: lake, dust; llwybr: path; llwyd: grey, brown; llwyn: bush, grove; llyn: lake; llynwyn: pool, puddle, moat; isa(f): lower, lowest; maen: stone; maes: open field, plain: mawn: peat; mawnog: peat-bog; melyn: yellow; merthyr: burial place, church; moel/foel: bare, bald/bare hill; mynydd: mountain, moorland; nant: brook, stream, dingle, glen; neuadd: hall; newydd: new; ogof/gogof: cave; pant: hollow; parc: park, field, enclosure; pen: head, top, end, edge; penrhyn: promontory; pentre(f): homestead, village; perfedd: middle; perth: bush, brake, hedge; plas: hall, mansion; pont/bont: bridge; porth: gate, gateway, harbour, bay, landing-place, ferry; pwll: pit, pool; rhiw: hill, slope; rhos: moor, promontory; rhudd: red, crimson; rhyd: ford; sarn: causeway; sgwd/rhaeadr: waterfall; sticill: stile; sych: dry; tafarn: tavern; tâl: end, top; talar: headland (of field); tan/dan: below; tarren/darren: escarpment; tir: land, territory; tor: break, gap; tre/tref: settlement, hamlet, town; twlch: tump, knoll; twll: hole, pit; tŵr: tower; tŷ: house; twyn: hill; uchaf: upper, highest; uwch: above, over; waun/gwaun: moorland, meadow; wen/wyn: white; y, yr, ‘r: the; ynys: island, holm, river-meadow; ysgol: ladder, formation on mountain-side/school; ysgwydd: shoulder (of mountain); ystafell: chamber, hiding-place; ystrad: wide valley, holm, river-meadow.|
The Black Mountains/Y Mynyddoedd Duon
Brecon Beacons National Park
Honddu River/Afon Honddu
Offa’s Dyke Path/Llwybr Clawdd Offa
Hatterrall Hill and Ridge
Hatterrall Hill is a rounded peak in the Black Mountains which sits on the Wales-England border, partly in Monmouthshire, partly in Herefordshire. Its summit at 531m is the high point of a peaty plateau which falls away steeply to the sides. Broad ridges run to the north, the southeast and southwest. To the north the Hatterrall Ridge dips to a col at around 485m elevation before rising gradually over several kilometres towards Crib y Garth/Black Hill and over its highest point (Black Mountain at 703m) to Hay Bluff above Hay-on-Wye. The ridge to the southwest ends abruptly at the sheer cliff known as the Darren below which is a considerable landslipped area extending to the hamlet of Cwmyoy with its mis-shapen church.
Vale of Ewyas (Llanthony Valley)
St. Martin’s, Cwmyoy
The Brecon Beacons National Park is in south Wales. It consists of bare, grassy, glacial mountains, with north facing escarpments. Its peaks, just shy of 1,000m (3,000ft), are the highest mountains in the southern UK. The national park is also noted for reservoirs, and the Dan yr Ogof caves. Its 4 mountain areas, from west to east are:
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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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