Llanthony Priory Ruins

SWC Walk 335 - Pandy Inn to Llanvihangel Crucorney (via Llanthony and Cwmyoy)

10-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Llanthony Priory Ruins

SWC Walk 335 - Pandy Inn to Llanvihangel Crucorney (via Llanthony and Cwmyoy)

10-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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St. Martin’s, Cwmyoy, the ‘Leaning Church’

SWC Walk 335 - Pandy Inn to Llanvihangel Crucorney (via Llanthony and Cwmyoy)

10-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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View up the Vale of Ewyas, from Hatterrall Hill

SWC Walk 335 - Pandy Inn to Llanvihangel Crucorney (via Llanthony and Cwmyoy)

10-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Llanthony Priory Ruins

SWC Walk 335 - Pandy Inn to Llanvihangel Crucorney (via Llanthony and Cwmyoy)

10-May-18 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Sugar Loaf in early April 19, from Bwlch Trewyn

04-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Hatterrall Hill (Walk Recce early April 19)

SWC Walk 335 - Pandy Inn to Llanvihangel Crucorney (via Llanthony and Cwmyoy)

04-Apr-19 • thomasgrabow on Flickr

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Pandy Inn to Llanvihangel Crucorney walk

Offa's Dyke Path along Hatterrall Hill and Ridge, return through the Vale of Ewyas past Llanthony Priory and the Leaning Church in Cwmyoy

Length

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.

Toughness

10 out of 10

Time: 6 ½ hours walking time.

Travel

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.

Maps

OS Landranger Map: 161 (The Black Mountains/Y Mynyddoedd Duon)

OS Explorer Map: OL13 (Brecon Beacons National Park – Eastern Area)

Walk Notes

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.

Walk Options

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.

Lunch

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 Half Moon Inn Llanthony, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 7NN (01873 890 611). The Half Moon is located 13.0 km/8.1 mi into the walk.
Llanthony Treats Honddu Cottage, Llanthony, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 7NN (01873 890 867). Treats is located 13.1 km/8.1 mi into the walk.

Tea

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.
The Queen’s Head Cwmyoy, nr Stanton, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 7NE (01873 890 241). The Queen’s Head is located 2.4 km/1.5 mi from the end of the walk.
The Skirrid Mountain Inn Skirrid View Llanvihangel Crucorney, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, NP7 8DH (01873 890 258). The Skirrid Inn is located at the end of the walk. Open 17.30-23.00 Mon, 11.30-14.30 and 17.30-23.00 Tue-Fri, 11.30-23.00 Sat and 12.00-22.00 Sun. Food served 12.00-14.30 (not Mon) and 18.00-20.00 (not Sun). Wales’s oldest Inn.

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.
Notes

The Black Mountains/Y Mynyddoedd Duon
The Black Mountains (Welsh: Y Mynyddoedd Duon) are a group of hills spread across parts of Powys and Monmouthshire, and extending across the border into Herefordshire. They are the easternmost of the four hill ranges that comprise the Brecon Beacons National Park. The Black Mountains may be roughly defined as those hills contained within a triangle defined by the towns of Abergavenny in the southeast, Hay-on-Wye in the north and the village of Llangors in the west. Other gateway towns to the Black Mountains include Talgarth and Crickhowell. The highest mountain in the group is Waun Fach at a height of 811m above sea.

Brecon Beacons National Park
Home to spectacular landscapes, a rich variety of wildlife and fascinating cultural and geological heritage, the Brecon Beacons National Park in Mid-Wales boasts a magnificent array of Old Red Sandstone peaks, open moorland and green valleys, spanning 1,344 km2 (520 mi2). Pen y Fan within the Central Beacons is perhaps the best-known summit but there are many others in the five distinct parts of the National Park (Black Mountain (Y Mynydd Du) in the far west, Fforest Fawr, Central Beacons, the Llangattock and Llangynidr Hills, and the Black Mountains to the east).

Honddu River/Afon Honddu
The River Honddu (Welsh: Afon Honddu) (pronounced hon-thee) is a river in the Black Mountains. It rises within the county of Powys near the Gospel Pass at the head of the Vale of Ewyas down which it flows, passing southwards into Monmouthshire to Llanvihangel Crucorney before turning north eastwards to join the River Monnow on the Wales-England border. The only significant tributary is the Nant Bwch, though numerous smaller streams add to the river's flow down the steep sides of the vale.

Offa’s Dyke Path/Llwybr Clawdd Offa
Offa's Dyke Path (Welsh: Llwybr Clawdd Offa) is a 285 km (177 mi) waymarked linear long-distance footpath following closely the Wales–England border from the Severn Estuary near Chepstow to Prestatyn on the north coast. Opened in 1971, it is one of Britain's National Trails and for about 100 km either follows, or keeps close company with, the remnants of Offa's Dyke, an earthwork, probably mostly constructed in the late 8th century on the orders of Offa, King of Mercia. The route initially follows the Wye Valley, then crosses the Black Mountains, the Shropshire Hills (including the many ups and downs of the 'Switchback'), the Eglwyseg moors and the Clwydian Range.

Beacons Way
The Beacons Way is a 152 km (95 mi) linear waymarked long-distance footpath running east to west across the Brecon Beacons National Park. It passes many of the most important landmarks and mountain peaks in the range, but has limited waymarking, especially on open hill and moorland sections, meaning navigation skills are essential. First established in 2005, the route was revised in 2016.

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)
The Vale of Ewyas (Welsh: Dyffryn Ewias) is the steep-sided and secluded once-glaciated valley of the Afon Honddu. As well as for its outstanding beauty, it is known for the ruins of Llanthony Priory, and for several noteworthy churches such as those at Capel-y-ffin (one of the smallest in the country) and Cwmyoy. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘Llanthony Valley’ after the village situated at the valley centre.
Ewyas originally (and possibly) was an early Welsh kingdom which may have been formed around the time of the Roman withdrawal from Britain. The name was later used for a much smaller administrative sub-division, which covered the area of the modern Vale of Ewyas and a larger area to the east including the villages of Ewyas Harold and Ewyas Lacy (now within Herefordshire).

Llanthony Priory
Llanthony Priory (Welsh: Priordy Llanddewi Nant Hodni) is a partly ruined former Augustinian priory in the secluded Vale of Ewyas, a steep-sided once-glaciated valley. It lies on the old Abergavenny to Hay-on-Wye road. The priory ruins lie to the west of the Hatterall Ridge, a limb of the Black Mountains. The main ruins are under the care of Cadw and entrance is free.
The priory is a Grade I listed building as are three other buildings within the precinct: The Priory Hotel (a converted domestic home for one of the early 19th century owners), St David's Church (established after the Dissolution in the remains of the infirmary) and Court Farm Barn (the former gatehouse of the priory).
The priory dates back to around the year 1100, when Norman nobleman Walter de Lacy reputedly came upon a ruined chapel of St. David in this location, and was inspired to devote himself to solitary prayer and study. A church was built on the site, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and consecrated in 1108. By 1118, a group of around 40 monks from England founded a priory of Canons Regular, the first in Wales.
The Priory eventually became one of the great medieval buildings in Wales, in a mixture of Norman and Gothic architectural styles, but the buildings gradually decayed to a ruin after the Dissolution, attracting many artists, including JMW Turner who painted them from the opposite hillside.

St. Martin’s, Cwmyoy
St Martin's in Cwmyoy (Welsh: Cwm-iou) is a pretty little crooked church with a leaning spire, in fact it has been called the "most crooked church in Great Britain". No part of it is square or at right angles with any other part. This is the result of being built on ground where subsidence has occurred in rock debris left by a huge block of sandstone after the Ice Age splitting off from the hill above the church, which is a spur of Hatterrall Hill. The hill has a great gash caused by this and it is this landslide which not only gives the church and village its name Cwmyoy (‘the valley of the yoke’), but the church is also built with stone from that landslide.
The church chancel has been described as a remarkable example of a "weeping chancel", where the nave represents Christ's body and the deflected chancel his head fallen sideways in death. Though here not only the axis but the whole chancel slews sideways.
St. Martin's contains a 13th century carved stone cross, thought to have been one of the crosses on the Pilgrims' Way to St. David's. Today the cross is secured to the floor of the church.

Twyn-y-Gaer Hillfort
Twn-y-Gaer Iron Age Camp is a strongly embanked and ditched promontory enclosure occupying the summit of an isolated and dramatic hill at the southern end of the Vale of Ewyas, on its southern side, overlooking three valleys. It is an elongated oval in plan, roughly 225m by 85m, defined by a rampart with a ditch and counterscarp bank, except on the south where the hillslopes are at their steepest and was formerly protected by a wooden palisade. There is a single in-turned east-facing entrance. The interior is divided by two lines of east-facing ramparts and ditches into three sections, each with a central entrance. Excavations in the 1960s and 1970s showed that the more easterly subdivision was the eastern front of the earliest enclosure. Finds included some pottery, including salt containers, iron and copper alloy objects, including brooches, glass beads, querns and iron working debris, as well as traces of timber housing.
The occupation by the Silures tribe had ended by the Roman period.

Brecon Beacons

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:

  • The Black Mountain (singular!) : Fan Brycheiniog (803m) and the Dan yr Ogof caves.
  • Fforest Fawr : Fan Gyhirych (725m), Fan Nedd (663m), Fan Fawr (734m), and the Henrhyd waterfalls (Sgwd Henrhyd)
  • The Brecon Beacons : Pen y Fan (886m), Corn Du (873m), Cribyn (795m), Fan y Big (719m), Waun Rydd (769m). South of Brecon, north of Merthyr Tydfil.
  • The Black Mountains (plural!) : Waun Fach (811m), Black Mountain (703m). Abergavenny to the south. Hay-on-Wye to the north.

Our Brecon Beacons Walks

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Start Old Pandy Inn, Hereford Rd, Pandy, Abergavenny, NP7 8DR Map Directions

Finish Llanvihangel Crucorney Abergavenny NP7 8DH Map Directions

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National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234

Version

Apr-19

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This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk