A dog friendly walk from DogPeople

A dog-friendly walk from DogPeople
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Warren Woods (Radnor Forest) - 4 difficult

Hamish completed this at a steady pace whilst staying at a dog friendly cottage in Powys. He did very well considering his age and operations earlier in the year, especially as the height gain was around 900 feet, mostly on good tracks.

There are two car parks with information boards. The first is just off the A44, the other about 1 km further up a semi made forest track at grid reference SO 1864 5977. The wood has three way marked trails: Water-Break-its-Neck Trail (described by The Forestry Commission as moderate, 45 minutes, climb of 210 feet and ¾ mile); Waterfall Walk (easy, 20 minutes, mainly level, 1/3 mile); and The Warren Trail (difficult, 1 hour, climb of 560 feet, 1 ½ miles).

Our route uses The Warren Trail with a diversion to see the waterfall and a significant addition (mostly on a forest track and a bridleway). From the upper car park continue on the track away from the road. After a few hundred metres you reach a marked cross paths where a stream runs under the track. To the left is a marker for the waterfall (and a bridleway less hard left). To the right is the green way marker for The Warren Trail.

We TURNED LEFT and followed the semi made path with steps and a boardwalk along the right hand side (RHS) of the stream. The waterfall -, more an attractive steep cascade down a rock cliff, is only about 200 metres along the path; well worth the diversion (Hamish was anxious we were going to be mad enough to climb out of the steep valley so kept well away from the waterfall after a cursory glance!).

We retraced our way back to the cross paths then went AHEAD OVER THE MAIN TRACK (this would been a right turn if we'd not visited the waterfall). Cross a wooden footbridge to reach a clear track marked by a green marker post. At the top of the first rise BEAR LEFT the way marked path goes hard left with the track turning just beyond it (if you stay on the track it joins a little further on), don't go ahead through a gate. Just after the path joins the track you might note a picture of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on a tree on the RHS (just beyond the next marker post), we saw the real thing a short way further on. The track climbs steadily for a while before descending a little (where it does so you can look left into a steep valley with a stream in its bottom). A short way further on the track becomes less clear ahead but you FORK LEFT DOWNHILL on a path marked with a green marker post.

Follow the path down to the stream. Cross the stream VIA A WOODEN FOOTBRIDGE, not a now dangerous stone structure. Once over the bridge turn right and climb out of the valley as indicated by a green marker post. This is a fairly steep and lengthy climb with a left hand bend just before reaching a forest track. Note a marker post at the bend. We didn't see a green marker at the track but we think the way marked route goes more-or-less ahead. Our route TURNS RIGHT up the track.

The track soon emerges from the trees with the wood on your left hand side (LHS) and a valley and hills beyond on your right.    The more you climb the deeper the valley gets on your RHS. Keep ahead at a six bar metal gate using a stile on its RHS (the fence was damaged here and Hamish might have climbed through, especially in his younger days, on this occasion he was lifted over the fence). Follow the track ahead then through a sharp left hand zigzag (we stopped for lunch on a big boulder - SO 1825 6224 - about 1500 feet)on the RHS by the start of the bend. The views from here, back down the track, are excellent over the wood in the foreground, then hills, then mountains further away just west of south. Follow the zigzags up hill, with better views, including border hills to the east, as you get higher. Keep to the main track as it bends left and starts to descend. Go ahead through a fence, the posts have hangers for a gate but none was hung when we walked.

The track eventually runs above a pond (Pwll y Gaseg) and to its RHS a bridleway also runs 50 or 60 metres away. Keep ahead when the made up forest track becomes a grassy track. Keep slightly right just beyond a fenced boggy area, you may need to pay careful attention here when the track becomes a narrowish path, especially in summer when the way is covered by Bracken ferns. You have now joined the bridleway, travelling south of east, and soon reach a metal gate with a blue arrow marker on its post. A standard latch and a chain with a difficult to use catch secured the gate. Cross the field keeping close to a fence on your LHS, then through another gate (open when we walked), then ahead keeping close to the fence to reach a gate on your LHS. TURN LEFT through a smaller gate, with a bridleway marker, into the wood. This gate was also double secured by a latch and equally difficult to use catch and chain. Do not go ahead through a farm gate into another field with buildings on the far side.

Follow the bridleway down through the wood, steeply at times, passing a couple of bridleway marker posts. GO AHEAD across a forest track to continue downhill on the bridleway (right on the track is towards a farm). Continue downhill to reach a forest track at the point used earlier for the waterfall and start of the green route - do not fork right uphill onto another bridleway part way down.

Go ahead on the forest track (i.e. turn right as you join it) and return to the upper car park.

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