Offa's Dyke Path from Llanthony Priory

Date walked: 03/09/2019

Time taken: 3.5 hours

Distance: 12km

Ascent: 511m

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

I’m glad to arrive at the car park to be greeted by blue skies, it’s not long since the sun woke on the other side of Hatterrall Hill, so despite the blue skies it’s still a little dull. Heading out of the car park the deserted priory does have a sense of reverence about it and I wonder how many stories have been told in the local hostelries of things that go bump in the night?
Early morning in the car park

Grounds of Llanthony Priory

Sun on the top of the Black Mountains

Llanthony Priory

The Priory still hiding from the sun

Passing around the priory there are direction signs from the start towards Hatterrall Hill that are easily followed which lead round to the other side of the priory before heading through meadows towards the woods. A couple of gates, stiles and hedgerows are passed along the way before the ground starts to rise in earnest. Again the route couldn’t be any clearer, the grassy path heads up the hill between fern and bracken and after approx. 1¼ miles of leaving the car park, the top of the ridge is gained. Great views behind down into the valley and at the moment the priory is still in shade. Another 5 minutes walk along the now asphalt path and a cairn is reached which is where the Offa’s Dyke Path is joined.
Clear skies over the Black Mountains

Joining the Offa's Dyke Path

Once up on the ridge the scenery is fairly constant, moorland heather and peat bogs stretching for miles alongside the path, ponies and sheep dotted here and there. To the west the other ridge tops of the Black Mountains can be seen including the highest point Waun Fach which at the moment has a cloak of cloud around it, Pen y Gadair Fawr a smidgen further south and a smidgen lower can still be seen clearly.
Clouds gathering over Waun Fach

Pool on top of the moors

Offa's Dyke Path

In the distance the trig point at Pen y Garn Fawr (North Daren) can be seen ahead gleaming in the morning sunshine, it looks miles away to start with, but the path is level and is a good combination of asphalt and flagstones so the going is good and takes little time to reel it in. The whole top of the ridge feels completely flat, although apparently Pen y Garn Fawr is 2001ft making it maybe 6 inches above its surroundings.
Approaching the trig point at Pen y Garn Fawr

Pen y Garn Fawr trig point

Pen y Garn Fawr

A quick rest

The second top of Pen y Garn Fawr and I use the word ‘top’ hesitatingly is about a ¼ mile north from the trig point and supposedly 20ft higher. I find the location of the hill but the ‘hill’ itself is very conspicuous by its absence. I plant my poles amongst clumpy grass where the ground seems to be marginally higher although there’s no way of knowing for sure where the ‘summit’ is without lugging a theodolite along.
Somewhere here there is a high point!

Anybody seen a hill?

Moving on, the English / Welsh border continues north for more than a few miles, but after just one mile there is a collection of stones representing Black Mountain South Top, which at 2090ft is the highest point of this walk.
Cairn at Black Mountain South Top

Black Mountain itself is a further 2 miles further on and rises to 2308ft, however the South Top is as far as I go on this walk. I turn back heading south for about 200 yards. At a point where the path changes from flagstones to asphalt there is a faint path heading off to the right in the direction of the valley between the ridges, It’s easy to walk right past it so make a note to look for the end of the flagstones. Soon the path becomes a little more obvious and winds down the hillside, zig following zag through the fern, eventually reaching a stile which skirts the edge of some woodland before eventually emerging onto a country lane.
Heading down

The country lane is pretty much the route all the way back to the car park, it’s a fairly straight forward trek heading South East for just shy of 3 miles in total. Once on the lane, turn left and follow it for 1¼ miles and just before the main road, turn left through a gate. Follow this dark path which then comes out onto another lane before spilling out onto the main road by the Half Moon Inn. A hundred yards past the pub, turn left through another gate which leads back into the car park.
The priory after the sun has risen

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 1

Washed Out on Waun Rydd

Attachment(s) Hewitts: Waun Rydd
Date walked: 03/09/2019
Distance: 17km
Ascent: 850m
Views: 31

Cefn yr Ystrad

Attachment(s) Hewitts: Cefn yr Ystrad
Date walked: 02/08/2019
Distance: 22km
Ascent: 650m
Views: 108

Black Mountains (South)

Attachment(s) Hewitts: Mynydd Llysiau, Pen Allt-mawr, Pen Cerrig-calch, Pen y Gadair Fawr, Waun Fach
Date walked: 01/08/2019
Distance: 27.4km
Ascent: 1057m
Views: 135

Llyn y Fan Tastic

Attachment(s) Hewitts: Bannau Sir Gaer - Picws Du, Fan Brycheiniog, Fan Hir
Date walked: 27/06/2019
Distance: 16.25km
Ascent: 800m
Comments: 1
Views: 198

Carreg Goch Loop

Attachment(s) Date walked: 26/06/2019
Distance: 13.5km
Ascent: 515m
Views: 149

Garreg Las

Attachment(s) Hewitts: Garreg Las [Twyn Swnd], Garreg Lwyd (Moel Gornach)
Date walked: 26/06/2019
Distance: 16.25km
Ascent: 577m
Views: 157

Pointing at the best two beaches in Scotland?

Attachment(s) Date walked: 14/05/2019
Distance: 2km
Ascent: 75m
Views: 113

Alls well on Beinn Alligin

Attachment(s) Munros: Sgurr Mor (Beinn Alligin), Tom na Gruagaich (Beinn Alligin)
Date walked: 13/05/2019
Distance: 10.5km
Ascent: 1250m
Comments: 1
Views: 174

Remote Rhue, Arisaig

Attachment(s) Date walked: 10/05/2019
Distance: 4km
Ascent: 100m
Views: 85


Location: Hampshire, miles from the nearest mountain!
Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Helvellyn
Gear: Camera

Munros: 12
Corbetts: 5
Grahams: 1
Wainwrights: 17
Hewitts: 32
Sub 2000: 1
Islands: 2

Filter reports



Trips: 18
Distance: 255.55 km
Ascent: 12375m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 3
Hewitts: 23

Joined: May 04, 2017
Last visited: Sep 14, 2019
Total posts: 23 | Search posts