Offa’s Dyke Path – Llaymynech – Carreg – y – Big Walk – 20.06.2011

Rested, we set out on our walk, following the track down the Montgomery Canal.  For anyone who is thinking of walking Offa’s Dyke from Llanymynech onwards, please note that this is the wrong way! We were actually walking down “Wat’s Dyke Way” We had not checked our map and just carried on were left off on the previous day!

Oblivious of our initial mistake, we still enjoyed this part walk! As I said in my previous blog the “Montgomery Canal” was built for barges to carry industrial materials. It was it this point we saw our first real evidence of Llanymynech’s industrial past. We had spotted something that looked like a huge chimney that was in the middle of nowhere. I know understand from most of what I have read that most of the villages that were along the canal had “Lime Kilns”

From 2011 – 20.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Llanymech – Carreg – y – Big Walk

As we carried on down the canal, we found the state of the Montgomery canal very sad. In some places the canal had completely disappeared, overgrown with trees and other such wildlife.   In one way this was is such a shame, but on the positive side, wildlife has flourished 🙂 .    Eventually realising that we had gone the wrong way (hence my photo of the “Wat Dyke’s Way”) we decided it we needed to turn back and quickly!  We did manage to learn one more thing about the canal before we did finally leave it.

Nearby to Pant Wharf, the end of Montgomery Canal walk, there used to be a tramway that brought limestone from the quarries which were on the nearby Llanymynech hill.     This was the hill we were about to tackle!  It was going to be interesting to find out how far these trams would have had to travel as they would have travelled under there own weight  and been winched back up by pulley!

We arrived back in Llanymynech to start our Offa’s Dyke Walk in ernest.       The path took us across the canal and towards the Hill.   It was really interesting to find out that we were walking in the footsteps of Mr Charles Darwin.   He had visited Llanymynech in 1831, when he was a novice Geologist.  He came to Pen-y-Feol cutting where he tested his “new” chometer – which is designed to measure angles of slopes.   Whilst we continued up the lane, I noticed the markers where Mr Darwin had taken those measurements –

From 2011 – 20.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Llanymech – Carreg – y – Big Walk

When we reached the top of the lane, Offa’s Dyke path took a turn – to take us up onto Llanymynech hill.    We had seen this from afar – and always thought that this was a a great big fort/castle of some sort.    but in fact the reason the site  has taken shape the way it has – was it was an abandoned Limestone Quarry.     The buildings that we saw, were connected to the Old tramway which took limestone to the canal – which I had just learnt about! However, from here it was difficult to see the canal from the top of the hill, so it was difficult to imagine how it would have looked to have a tramway from the hill to the canal all those years ago.

It seems Llanymynech Rocks has quite a history other than just limestone quarrying.   Apparently,  silver once rumoured to be hidden amongst the rocks.   Sadly for those who mined for the precious metal, found nothing – this was during the 12th Century when money was needed to release King Richard I during the Crusades.     Even before the 12th Century,  the Rocks provided a different metal – copper – it was the Romans that notably mined for this – or rather their slaves.

The view from the top of the hill was really quite impressive.    On such a clear day, we could see for miles.   I do wonder while all that industry was taking place if anyone did actually stop to look? In some sad cases they probably couldn’t – such a shame –

From 2011 – 20.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Llanymech – Carreg – y – Big Walk

The path then left these lovely views behind, and it runs parallel to the Llanymynech Golf Course. In fact we were a bit confused at one point with one of the paths as it weaved in and out of the trees and onto the Golf Course again. This is because the we are actually following the line of the “Dyke”.

We did not stray onto the Golf Course, we did not really want to upset the Golfers!  I remembered what it was like to walk across Moor Park Golf Course when I was walking some of the London Loop! The path leaves the Golf Course behind and descends through some woodland, onto road and eventually joined some fields.

We had to cross a stile, which we were very used to by now – so why I am blogging this? Well, it was what on the other side that fascinated me. A railway. A railway which had not been taken away. Just simply abandoned – the rails were rusting away. This was the Tanat Valley Line which served Oswestry to Llangynog from 1904 to 1960. It seems odd to me that this line was not really dismantled just “left”.

The route took us past Porth-y-waen – but there are no real signs of Offa’s Dyke in this area. Perhaps just all the quarrying in these parts has led to Offa’s Dyke disappearance in this particular section. Just as we thought we had left the railway behind, we came across an old level crossing! Not only was the level crossing just left, but an old truck was also on the track. It was an eerie sight.

From 2011 – 20.06.2011 – Offa's Dyke Path – Llanymech – Carreg – y – Big Walk

The path carries on past the small village of Nantmawr onto some fields. We had reached “Jones Rough” a small nature reserve which is now looked after by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust. It is said that the area gained the name “Jones Rough” from the Jones family who had built a small cottage called “Mount Zion” in the area in the 19th Century. Apparently they did not have any permission to build the cottage, but thought they could claim it for there own –

under the belief “that if there was smoke coming from the chimney by morning the builders could claim the dwelling as their home.”

However, the Landowners – Powys Estates claimed the cottage as their own and duly asked for rent! Hence why it is known as “Jones Rough”

Despite all of this, we did not see the cottage in question! The path took us up Moelydd Hill. Yet another climb, but I think out of all our climbs of this walk, this claimed to have the most interesting view! I think we were lucky to have such a clear day. According to the very handily placed stone compass – we could have seen Liverpool in one direction and Snowdon in another. We definitely could make out Snowdon – it was nice to see in the distance – (strange after seeing up close) I don’t think we saw Liverpool.

From 2011 – 20.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Llanymech – Carreg – y – Big Walk

We made our way down again. The path took us through some more fields, and along a small road. We passed a beautifully sculpted tree which reminded me of the ones which had been done in Cassiobury Park. We had entered Trefonen Village, where we stopped for a drink and a breather. We left the village behind to rejoin the route. This stretch of the path actually follows the actual dyke.

We soon on the ascent again into Candy Woods. An odd name I thought. I almsot expected to see Willy Wonka to pop his head out! The trees were not made of chocolate though! The nice day we had been experiencing changed dramatically, it started to rain quite badly. You would think it is not so bad walking through woods in rain, but mud and rain come through leaves seems to feels worse somehow.

Once we left Candy woods the path led us out onto open field. In fact this was Oswestry Old Racecourse. What an amazing place to have a racecourse – on top of a hill – commanding views across the valley. Remains of the original grandstand were still still standing – which was built in 1804. The racecourse, seemed to have a lively history, from the end of the 18th Century with well attended meetings with Lords and Earls amongst them. The last meeting as in 1848 it seems that the racecourse lost out to larger racecourses such as Chester with the coming of the Railway. I would agree, the racecourse was not huge – I couldn’t imagine a racetrack on the size of land that was there and the horses thundering past.

We left the ghosts of the horses behind, to find our rest place for the night. Carreg-y-big. We couldn’t wait. The weather was really catching up with us as the rain was really coming down! We nearly walked past the farm! We were soaked 😦 … The owner of Carreg-y-big was so lovely when he greeted us he even fed us! SO a massive thank you to him for his kindness from these two walkers for use of the equestrian centre sofa’s for the night – saved putting up the tent 🙂 !

For all the day’s Walking photos please click here –

2011 – 20.06.2011 – Offa’s Dyke Path – Llanymech – Carreg – y – Big Walk



One response to “Offa’s Dyke Path – Llaymynech – Carreg – y – Big Walk – 20.06.2011

  1. Pingback: Weymouth Walk – 13.10.2012 « Karen's Sponsored Walks

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