A Walking Ramble
Offered up by Oakwrights Architectural Technician, Lee Wilson, we are drawing together a series of articles – as recommendations for walks for visitors to our Show Home in Kenchester, Herefordshire. Hey, but should you just happen upon this blog we trust that you find it interesting and hopefully get a chance to enjoy a walk or two…
Walking a section of Offa’s Dyke is always enjoyable, but the section between Monmouth and Pandy is one of the less popular routes. This is largely due to the everlasting lure of the subsequent section between Pandy and Hay, over Hatterall Hill and Hay Bluff; quite rightly, as this section offers some of the finest vistas in the land, combined with some real areas of wilderness.
This stark landscape, with it’s ever changing light and weather patterns, gives even the softest of city dwellers the chance to escape into the wild, if only for a few hours. However, there is still something to be said for a walk in the green, rolling countryside so characteristic of this part of the country, and this is what attracted me to the fertile fields of Monmouthshire.
I couldn’t have chosen a better day for the walk, and by this I don’t mean dazzling sunshine, rather glowering clouds and a stiff breeze scudding the cumuli across the horizon. In particular, being on the cusp of rain makes you really appreciate just how fresh the air can be, the static in the atmosphere making everything fall silent just before the first drops fall. Following the stretch between Glen Trothy and Llangattock Lingoed, the looming hulk of The Skirrid, with it’s detached section eternally falling away to the west, is never far from view. Several times along the route you will wonder infuriatingly why Offa, or whoever his modern day counterpart may be, probably some mandarin within the Environment Agency, insisted on running the trail directly over the top of tumps and steep little hillocks. As always though, once you have hauled yourself to the top, it becomes clear; the views give you the answer. They would have been the perfect lookout points for garrisons of Mercian troops, always eyeing the western horizon for marauding bands of Welsh brigands.
Unlike the more popular section of the ODP, you can quite merrily walk all day between Monmouth and Pandy without seeing another soul. In fact, the rare times I did come across another walker, it made me stride speedily away to continue being the only human being enjoying my surrounding environment. This, to me, is always the sign of a good walk: when you are happy to walk alone for hours.
Lunch was taken astride the rocks on the banks of the Trothy Brook, with the cattle on the opposite bank eyeing my sandwiches longingly. There is something calming about being in the presence of cows, and they always seem to form some of the ever-present cast of any country walk. Aside from the obvious, quintessential cow, the Friesian, I still have trouble identifying my Limousins from my Jerseys.
The ODP is very well maintained and signed, each gate providing a satisfying ‘thunk’ noise upon springing shut. I normally avoid the well worn paths, and instead go for routes that are rarely visited by all but the odd walker, but the ODP provides you with a bit of both worlds. The attraction of walking in some really remote areas, combined with being an absolute doddle to follow. The map is only required to be extricated from the pack on a few occasions, and this gives a nice continuity to the walk. For those who prefer to be off path, making their own navigations and regularly consulting maps and, dare I say it, GPS, then this walk will not provide a challenge. However, if you fancy a nice, energetic amble through green and pleasant lands, with just enough tricky sections to keep you on your toes then this is for you.