A dog friendly walk from DogPeople

A dog-friendly walk from DogPeople
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Gilfach Farm Nature Reserve (options)

Hamish enjoyed this walk at a sensible pace with a couple of stops during his stay at Orchard House (dog welcoming self catering holiday accommodation - a short drive away). The views and information boards kept his people interested.

Walks can start from a car park just off the A470 along a minor road to St Harmon (signed to the reserve) or from the visitor centre. We walked from the visitor centre (parking free but donation requested, we made one as we are happy to support this type of project). In both cases information boards tell about the wildlife and walk options (Monks Trod, Nature Trail and Wye Valley Walk that forms part of the other routes). If parking near the A road be careful to start from the right point that is back out onto the A road, turn left (towards Rhayader) then left onto a footpath as indicated by a finger post … don't get tempted over a stile between the car park and river).

Hamish started from the visitor centre grid reference SN 9651 7168 (human toilets very handy). From here there is also access to another set out route 'Oak Wood Path' but this is not dog friendly. We walked out on the Monks Trod and returned via the Nature Trail / Wye Valley Walk. We started back down the lane but KEPT AHEAD as the lane bears right downhill to join a green lane (marked with a finger post). We followed the way markers below a ridge, gradually bearing right and crossing a number of boardwalks as we went, then RIGHT downhill towards the river before turning LEFT over a stile into woods (Hamish easily scrambled under the fence despite his age and dodgy back legs). Some care needs to be taken at two points on the route. First, after crossing the first field, it is easy to get drawn to a pedestrian size gate leading to a field, then the crest of the ridge. This was wired closed when we walked, just as well as the correct way is further right, then through a way marked gate. The second point where care is needed is at the turn downhill towards the river. We didn't spot a way marker here (though there was a foot path indicator arrow). The (incorrect) way ahead, continuing on a track, would be via a farm gate locked when we walked.

Having crossed the stile keep ahead until you reach the disused railway track. TURN RIGHT and cross the river via a bridge (a great spot to see the river from), left would take you back to the A road). Just over the bridge there's a blocked tunnel and information board (telling, among other things, about the tunnel's bat population). Take a path to the RIGHT of the tunnel, going down towards the river bank (marked as Wye Valley Walk). Follow the way marked route to a metalled lane, and then TURN RIGHT over a bridge (the far end of the tunnel is just to the left here). Just over the bridge there's a bird / otter hide on the left hand side. We stopped here for a while, partly to give Hamish a rest and partly to get out of the rain for a while … we didn't see any otters or unusual birds! Follow the lane uphill back to the visitor centre.

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