Offa’s Dyke Path – Buttington Bridge – Llanymynech Walk – 19.06.2011

Unlike our Scotland experience of camping taking the tent down was a lot nicer! No midges to fight off – it actually very leisurely. There was a down side to it though, no tea or coffee. Buttington has one pub, a church and no other amenities 😦 . We had to walk a reasonable way to get our morning drink!

We returned to the path. No sooner had we crossed a farmers field,  we were faced with crossing a train line – which I always find pretty precarious to cross.   There was no particular warning system  when the next train was due,  I only had my eyes to rely on!       We were able to catch glimpse of  “Buttington Bridge” which for a bridge, was particularly striking. I can’t find much information about the actual architect – but I do know that this is a Grade II Listed building!

Our route left train line and the road behind, as the path turned into a large expanse flat fields. Whilst we were walking this part of the path, we came saw this small little river. The way that the river had cut into the land, exposing the raw material beneath – reminded me of the Chalk cliffs of Dover. This tiny unsuspecting little river in fact is the River Severn!

From 2011 – 19.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Buttington Bridge – Llanymech Walk

Just a small word of warning if you walk these fields, there is one thing you need worry about and that is the sheep! We were unable to stick to walking the dyke, most of the way we had to circumnavigate our way around sheep who simply refused to move – they just *stared* at us – as if to say “this is our field you move not us!”

Sadly the path leaves the fields behind, and we had to do some road walking. We felt it was a shame the path was on the opposite side to the river, not only did it have a road between us and the river, it was also hidden by trees 😦 we were hoping that we were going to join up with it again! All was not lost though, as the path took us to meet up with the Montgomery Canal.

The Montgomery Canal is 35 miles in length stretching from Frankton Junction near Ellesmere to Newtown. Unlike the fully navigable Grand Union Canal where I had walked recently, this canal was full of wildlife and there was a ack of barges! This is a far cry from the Canal’s original intention. Two separate canal companies, Ellesmere Canal Company and the Montgomeryshire Canal Company, built this canal with a similar purpose to carry industrial material – coal or limestone. I shall elaborate on this in my next post.

As we walked along the towpath on this quiet stretch, we came across a lifting bridge. Not a sight I have seen on the Grand Union Canal before. I am not quite sure what they were used for? I presume it is for ensure that farmers could get across the canal – a lot less expensive than building a large stone bridge? Any answers on a postcard (or email please!)

From 2011 – 19.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Buttington Bridge – Llanymech Walk

We followed the Tow Path for another mile or so before turning us into Pool Quay. Where we rested in the “Powis Arms” for our overdue morning hot drink!

Feet rested up, we decided it was time to set off once again to make our way to Four Crosses. As we started off, I did notice a large looking Church – it was a rather impressive building. I can’t find much out about it’s history – only that it is the St John the Evangelist Parish Church and was built in 1862. Again, if anyone has any historic knowledge of this church, I would be keen to know

From 2011 – 19.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Buttington Bridge – Llanymech Walk

Our walk met up with the Dyke once again. I always felt a bit odd to be walking a 8th Century earthwork, but always found the animals that had grazed the fields all around me would never had cared about what it was…

At this point path passes over the old Cambrian Mainline Railway which used to run from Oswestry to Newtown – sadly the evidence of this line was difficult to see (although I am sure we found some of it on a later walk?) This line was to replace the Montgomery Canal – but also fell redundant just as the Canal did.

The Dyke passes over some flood defences – very strange looking metal structures that were stuck in the middle of a field. Presumably built to deal with any possibilities of the River Severn bursting its banks on this low lying land.

We took this part of the path in our stride. We did encounter lots of cows (not sheep this time!) which decided to hog the path. These were a lot more difficult to walk around – we ended up walking in the boggy field and not the lovely path (perhaps that is why all the cows were on the dyke!). We also had to deal with quite a few stiles too – It was here that hit my knee on one of these stiles and injured it 😦

Eventually we had reached Four Crosses. We stopped at the Four Crosses Inn for some overdue lunch and a rest before carrying on. Before we rejoined the path, we did take a little diversion. Well ok – it was more of a confused diversion since the path was being rebuilt! We past this really lovely church which has a “round tower”

From 2011 – 19.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Buttington Bridge – Llanymech Walk

These “Round Towers” Churches are mostly found in East Anglia and not in Mid Wales. When I have started looking up the history of how these churches came about they seem to have “myths” – perhaps the towers were originally wells or were harking back to prehistory? Other historic evidence points to 10th Century King Athelstan issuing a law with a specific requirement as to what was needed to claim local leadership over his piece of Land. This was to have bell tower on it. It is possible that the round towers owe their existence to this decree.

We left the Church behind to find our way back to the path. We had been led back to the Montgomery Canal. We found this very pleasant to walk. The sun was really shining and it is very warm. The Canal trees provided the very shade we needed. The Canal still looked uncared for, which is shame but the wildlife had taken full advantage of it. We found that out when we crossed over an Aqueduct. Originally to take industrial Narrow Boats, on hot summers evening it was hard to imagine any boats on it now particularly as we stopped to watch 2 mute Swans building a nest with their 5 sygnets!

From 2011 – 19.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Buttington Bridge – Llanymech Walk

It was hard to tear ourselves away from this wonderful sight. But we did! This was a straight walk on to the village of Llanymynech. Just before we turned off we caught sight of a wonderfully restored lock – a sign to me that perhaps there was hope for the Canal yet!

It was here that we were going to camp for the night. Did I say camp? Well actually there are no campsites here we had walked right past it! We had to find somewhere to stay and very quickly or we would have to back on ourselves 😦 The Manse saved the Day – thank you!

Photos from Day 3 of our walk please feel free to click here –

2011 – 19.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Buttington Bridge – Llanymech Walk

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