Goytre Wharf – We started at Goytre Wharf car park and set off towards the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal.
The Wharf was built in the early 19th C so that barges could unload coal and limestone directly to the limekilns. It celebrates the industrial heritage of the area with a number of displays including the original lime kilns with figures lugging sacks and an old cart. On the morning of our walk the kilns were particularly atmospheric as steam appeared to be rising above them as if from the limekiln chimneys (probably early mist rising). At Machine Cottage, in 1812 home to toll collector Francis Morgan and his family, a weighing platform outside was connected by levers to scales inside which enabled the calculation of the toll for a cargo.
Heading south along the canal we enjoyed the level ground before turning west, quite a steep climb led to woodland. Great swathes of woodland had been cleared so we were rewarded with good views. Looking back into the valley we could see a pub we had passed and even though it was early in the day we looked forward to refreshment there at the end of ther trek. One of the houses appeared to be pale blue as its white walls were reflecting the sky. Considering so many trees had been felled the paths were still clear and littered with bright orange patches of a fungi, with a flat open growing habit.
We passed a tree which had fine almost transparent fungi growing on its branches. Superb beech trees edged our track and as we had passed the highest point of the day we stopped near them for lunch. New shoots of foxgloves could be seen in abundance promising next summer even though last summer had only just gone.
After lunch our route was mostly downhill or level. We continued north and east heading towards Llanover. Heading across farm land we came back to the canal and some people took the opportunity to stretch their legs striding out ahead. We met up again as we turned back to Goytre Wharf.
The day was dry and cool but felt humid whenever we were climbing. In total we had walked 8miles and climbed 1100ft. Maps 152 & OL13.
Llangybi – Parking in Llangybi village we noted that the older buildings had interesting windows with small panes and unusual chimneys. We started by returning to the main road and after a short walk north along the road entered a field, very quickly our boots were heavy with mud as we trudged across it. Briefly we followed a stretch of road and we saw the profile of a man stood in a field with a
rifle looking towards the wood.
Travelling generally west on a track we passed a Motte & Bailey on our right which was hidden from view but we didn’t explore because of the muddy path and overgrown surroundings. The remains of Llangybi castle were on our left. Now we walked north for a short while through Cae Knap and then east along a road at the edge of Coed y Fferm. Walking along the road we could see the outline of Sugarloaf and Skirrid in the distance. Turning off the road we headed for Cwm Dowlais and then west towards Bittia farm.
Crossing farmland we came across a derelict farmhouse with huge cracks in some walls but there was a solid barn in good condition. Perhaps the new house lower down the valley was a replacement farmhouse.
There was lots of mistletoe growing in the area and quite high up in a tree, we had our first sighting of berries this year.
Now we turned south towards the other side of Coed y Fferm and southwest once we reached the wood. A farmyard had a handsome herd of cows and a little further on we found a farm building which had a door with a cat flap at first floor level and next to it an outdoor tap – a bit odd.
Coming across a solid metal feeding trough, we stopped for lunch, the only dry place we could find as the whole walk had been pretty muddy underfoot due to heavy rain the previous night.
Reaching a farm access road we turned southeast towards and through a wood. At a clearing we turned south and came out of the wood across open land passing Whitehouse farm and on to the road leading back to Llangybi. Our route back to the start was via a new housing estate which took careful navigation.
Although muddy underfoot, luckily we had a dry day with bursts of sunshine throughout the day which gave us some lovely views. The walk was 7.5miles and 110ft climb. Map OL13