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The walk started from Llangasty village hall car park just past Pennorth about five miles east of Brecon from where they set off in a southeasterly direction along a quiet country road. After a mile, they turned left at a junction to cross a valley that feeds into the south end of Llangors Lake - Llyn Syfaddan - and joined “The Three Rivers Ride”. A mile further on they crossed the B4560 the link road between Bwlch and Llangors into a lane that passed Treholford. This was the start of a climb that initially took them up to Penyrheol farm where they stopped for a coffee break with a great view down the valley overlooking the lake and a field full of newborn lambs.
With the road walking behind them, they now turned to a generally northwards direction for almost three miles as they gently ascended Mynydd Llangorse to a height of three hundred metres as their route crossed Cwm Shenkin before leveling off to contour around the side of the mountain following little more than sheep tracks until they reached the pass formed by Mynydd Llangorse and Mynydd Troed.
At this point they left “The Ride” and made a sharp turn southwards onto Cockit Hill where they now started a steep hundred and fifty metre climb in a bitterly cold easterly wind and on reaching a height of five hundred metres they stopped for lunch on the western side of the mountain sheltered from the wind by a rocky outcrop. The views now included the peaks of Pen y fan and Corn du - the highest points in the Brecon Beacons directly across the lake below them.
In the afternoon, they realigned with a footpath following the ridge and climbed another fifteen metres passing the highest point of the day at five hundred and fifteen metres and the trig point just beyond at five hundred and six metres.
Facing southwards they were now faced with a very gentle and gradual descent for over two miles with a strong crosswind but on a very pleasant grassy path with stunning views across to the Black Mountains (which had some snow on one face albeit a small amount), Tretower and Crickhowell in the valley below and the unmistakeable Sugar Loaf Mountain standing out quite clearly in the distance.
As they walked along this ridge they picked up the route of the Beacons Way that took them down to meet the A40 road at the appropriately named Bwlch. From this point there was about a quarter of a mile walking towards Brecon along the A40 until they met a road junction near a bend and here they picked up the “Roman Road" and the “Three Rivers Ride” again where they started another ascent along a track that passed alongside the Welsh Venison Centre up onto the ridge.
This was the section with the “wow" factor with incredible aerial views westwards over the Usk Valley with the river meandering its' way eastwards from Brecon in the distance, the villages of Llanfrynach and Pencelli below and the full range of the Brecon Beacons across the valley. At the summit of this hill at about three hundred and ninety metres was an Iron Age fort from where there were more stunning views of the other side of the hill with Llangors Lake taking pride of place below Mynydd Llangorse - the mountain they had walked earlier in the day.
The last three-quarters of a mile was a gradual descent along a ridge passing the Paragon Tower to meet a bridleway that brought them back to the car park at Llangasty village hall.
The next walk will be on Sunday 28th April when Brenda Lloyd Davies and Janet Price will lead a seven-mile walk taking in a section of the coast path with some great scenery and some historical remains on the Dale Peninsular in south Pembrokeshire. Further details are available on 01267 236997.
Points of Interest.
Llangorse has the largest natural lake in south Wales. It boasts an ancient Crannog and is a perfect location to mess about in boats, take a gentle stroll or watch the bird life. It is a glacial lake formed thousands of years ago when moving ice pushed and scraped its way along, shaping the landscape that we see today. On its journey it collected piles of debris (mud, rocks, wood, and stones) that were deposited to the front and side of the glacial movement.
When the ice finally melted this debris was left to form mounds known as moraines. Llangorse Lake owes its existence to the moraine deposits left in the area between Llanfihangel Talyllyn and Talgarth. At one time it was some 150 feet (45 meters) higher with two overflows into the Usk River at Bwlch and Pennorth.
The entire lake’s surface and the adjoining common is Registered Common Land giving local people ancient rights to graze their livestock upon it. Crannogs are artificial islands built of timber and stones on which some form of settlement usually stood. Crannogs are more common to Ireland and Scotland, where they occur from prehistory through to the medieval period. Llangorse Lake Crannog is the only known example of a Crannog in Wales, and the only known example in the world outside Scotland or Ireland!
The Crannog dates back at least as far as the late 9th or early 10th Century. It was excavated in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with some spectacular finds, including a fragment of fine linen decorated with pictures of animals and plants (to have textiles dating back to the 10th Century is very rare and exciting!). Its careful construction and spectacular finds suggest that this was a high-status site, and one interpretation of this evidence is that the Crannog may have been home to the early medieval Kings of Brycheiniog.
The Three Rivers Ride is part of the National Bridleroute Network, a series of cross-country rides researched and developed by the British Horse Society. The route starts at Tidbach in Worcestershire, enters Herefordshire at Wolferlow and crosses rivers Lugg and Wye to enter Wales some sixty miles later at Hay Bluff on the Edge of the Brecon Beacons.
The Venison Centre is a family run business established in 1985 where the Morgan family farm deer and sheep.
Paragon tower is a romantic ruin that once was a Victorian built folly or hunting lodge that sits amidst woodland. This round structure has four rooms, each of which has a fireplace linking into the central chimney. It is said that the Ladies of local estates would wait in the tower whilst the Lords were out hunting, and the tower’s location provided a fantastic view of the land and the hunting below.