Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Offa's Dyke Path - Day 11: Pandy to Monmouth

Saturday 25th January 2014 

A return to the Offa's Dyke Path to walk from near Pandy, past White Castle to reach Monmouth 

Distance: 26km; Ascent: 460m; Dry with occasional sunshine, followed by heavy rain; Solo
See tracked route in new window (although today's GPS track seems slightly offset compared to the Offa's Dyke Path on the map for some reason)

Many months had passed since I last walked a section of the Offa's Dyke Path over the very snowy Easter weekend last year, so I arranged to return this weekend to finish it in just over 2 days of walking.  After catching an early morning train to Abergavenny I attempted to board the bus to Pandy only to be told that it had broken down and it could be up to two hours before a replacement arrives!  Unfortunately I was on a bit of a tight schedule and hence decided to take a taxi instead in an attempt to ensure I still finished my walk in the daylight! However one advantage of the taxi was that I was able to get dropped off at the exact point that I left the Offa's Dyke Path on Easter Monday last year (pictured below).

Back on the Offa's Dyke Path
I set off down the farm lane and across the muddy fields at around quarter past ten this morning in the sunshine.  By the time I reached the small village of Llangattock Lingoed just under an hour later, I was plastered in mud due to slipping over whilst descending a steep section of muddy grass :(  At this point I was extremely glad I had packed a change of clothes for the pub this evening!

Fields NW of Llangattock Lingoed
St Cadoc's Church, Llangattock Lingoed
I stopped for a break on the picnic bench outside the medieval St Cadoc's Church in the small village of Llangattock Lingoed.  Continuing southwards I crossed the B4521 and ascended up to the impressive ruins of White Castle, which dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. I spent a while wandering around the ruins and climbing one of the towers, from the top of which there were excellent views across to Ysgyryd Fawr.

White Castle moat
Looking W to Ysgyryd from White Castle
White Castle
After exploring the ruins I found a handy picnic bench in the grounds for a spot of lunch, before heading down the road to Llantilio Crossenny to avoid yet more potentially very muddy fields (and to catch up the time I'd spent looking around the castle!)  A bit more road walking brought me to a path through lots of cider apple orchards, which looked a bit bare at the moment due to the time of year.

Cider apple orchard
By now the wind was really starting to pick up as the weekend storm approached, so I didn't hand around for long as I descended eastwards towards the Trothy valley.  Soon I passed the church of St. Michael's of the Fiery Meteor, whose porch provided welcome temporary shelter from the wind and rain!

St. Michael's of the Fiery Meteor
Very heavy rain now set in, so I donned full waterproofs and headed off down the path on the south banks of the River Trothy to meet a minor road.  Beyond here there was a signed alternative route for use in wet conditions, which I concluded today certainly qualified as! This alternative route stayed slightly higher that the main route through the waterlogged fields to my right, although it was still pretty muddy.

Suggested diversion
Wet conditions!
The heavy rain shower was over in around half an hour, followed by a nice rainbow.  I ascended eastwards into the King's Wood on a good track to reach a bench near the high point of the track, where I stopped for a quick break at around sunset.

Rainbow
Continuing eastwards in fading light I descended through woodland and fields to reach the minor road of Watery Lane on the western edge of Monmouth.  A road walk, lit by head torch and then street lights, to the town centre then followed before I reached my accommodation for the evening, where somewhat annoyingly the boiler was broken!  I refuelled on curry and real ale before turning in for an early night at 9pm after a long day.

See also my Social Hiking live map from the walk.

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