Walk 13 Bwlch y ffridd
This walk starts and ends in the centre of Newtown. It is a mixture of mostly quiet road and off-road walking with a lot of upping and downing. There are some good climbs which reward you with splendid views of the Severn valley.
9.3 miles • 4.5 to 5 hours • Moderate
This walk starts under the Town Clock at the intersection of Broad St, High St and Severn St., the area known locally as ‘The Cross’. The building now housing Barclays Bank was erected by Sarah Brisco, a descendent of the Pryce family of Newtown Hall, to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1897. Opposite the clock on Severn Street is the Robert Owen Museum and the Robert Owen Memorial Rooms are over the HSBC on the other corner. Robert Owen, the founder of the Co-operative Movement, is one of Newtown’s most famous sons.
Walk down Broad St and cross the River Severn over Longbridge to the north side of the river. On the left you will see Pont Hafren, an attractive old white building, now operating as a registered mental health charity, http://www.ponthafren.org.uk/newtown/home.
At the roundabout our walk goes straight ahead up Crescent Street, heading for the lovely Victorian terrace, Bryn Gardens, at the top of the hill. On the way up you will pass the slate-hung weavers’ cottages and if you look back you will get one of the best views of Newtown.
At the top, turn right then first left at the footpath sign. Bear right at the beech hedge following the fence on your right. Follow the tarmac path up hill parallel with the backs of the houses, ignoring the stile and footpath sign on your left. At the road, Bryn Lane, turn left then turn right at the sign to Ffrydd Farm. Follow the farm lane (not the footpath sign) to cross the stream at the bottom of the hill (SO 105 926).
Turn immediately left at the fingerpost to follow the side of the stream to a gate. This path has mud on top of slate and can be slippery. Go through the gate and head for the white house ahead, Ffrydd Farm. Pass through an opening in the hedge with a redundant stile alongside. Carry on uphill and go through the farm gate, cross the farmyard to the left of the house and through a similar gate ahead. The dogs (and farmer) in this yard are friendly. Go straight ahead and through a pedestrian gate at the top of the field.
Carry on uphill and go through the field gate in the hedge ahead of you. Keep walking straight up and over the hill to the gate and stile ahead. At the brow of the hill you will again see magnificent views all around. Follow the hedge on your left down to go through the gate (SO 103 934) and over the stream at the bottom. Continue up the hill to the right of the hedge and through the next pedestrian gate. Head for the bungalow and the field gate and pedestrian gate in the hedge above. This will bring you out onto Penshwa Lane (SO 102 937).
Turn left and just before the junction with Bryn Lane (SO 096 934), cross the culvert and go through the pedestrian gate. Follow the hedge on your right, through a field gate and down to a bridge over a stream and a pedestrian gate. Follow the hedge on your left until you come to another pedestrian gate on your left. Go through this and follow the path through the wood to another gate (SO 932 947) which will bring you back out into a field. Turn left and continue down the field to another gate overlooking a stream. Cross the stream, head up the diagonal path to the field then head right, through 2 pedestrian gates on to a road (SO 092 930).
Turn left along the road, then right at a fingerpost over a bridge and gate (SO 091 940). Turn left and follow the hedge on your left up to the top of the hill and through the pedestrian gate on to the road. Turn right until you come to a way-marked field gate on the left.
Go through the field gate and up the track toward the farm, Upper Garth (SO 092 944). At the top turn right though a field gate at the conifers. Follow the track up passing around the barn on the left and turn immediately right up a wide track (SO 090 944). Continue to the ridge (superb views), go through a gate and down to a copse of conifers. Ahead is a circular concrete trough in the field. Walk past it with the fence on your right, ignoring the stile on the right. Go downhill to a gate in the bottom right hand corner of the field. Go through and walk up and over the ridge to a field gate. Continue through and walk down across the field to a pedestrian gate in the fence ahead at Bettws Hill Farm (SO 084 952). Turn left and walk up the concrete farm road past a white cottage, Goetre, on your left.
Where the road turns sharp left, go through the pedestrian gate ahead (SO 084 954) into the copse. Walk straight on, bearing right up the hill between trees and gorse bushes. Near the top you will see a way-marked post. Bear right following the sheep track which leads to the corner of a hedge and fence ahead. Turn and follow the hedge down the field to a pedestrian gate onto the road (SO 084 957).
Go left along the road to a field gate on the right (SO 083 956). Once through, bear right over a grassed bridge then bear left along the bottom of the hill, avoiding the swampy area below. Go through the next field gate and keeping the hedge on your left pass some polytunnels and a cottage on your left. Go left through a field gate and then a pedestrian gate on the left. Turn right on to the drive leading to the road (SO 084 957). Turn right down the road, across a stream to a fingerpost pointing left down a farm road with a sign that says Gilfach.
Turn left and follow the road to the farmyeard. Go through 3 field gates to cross the farm yard and bear right through another field gate below (SO 071 953). Bear left across a field and through a gate next to a broken stile. Follow the fence on your right, down across a stream and up the opposite bank to a stile. Cross the road and go ahead on to a green lane and through a field gate.
You have now joined the Severn Way which is well way-marked with many gates in quick succession. Turn left and follow the hedge up over the hill and down to a bridge crossing a stream (SO 073 949). Go through the pedestrian gate and cross the boggy field and bear right along the track through the trees then bear left up over the hill. Follow another track to your right with a fence on your left, through a pedestrian gate (SO 080 937) on to a footpath heading right. Bear left around the top of the hill to a stile in the hedge ahead. Bear left down to a field gate and stile and on to the road. Turn right and when the road turns sharp right (SO 074 938) take the track ahead.
Continue on the track with the fence and wood on your right and go through a field gate. Continue with the fence on the left then through another field gate on the left, follow the fence/hedge on the left then bear right across the field (look for waymarker) and down the steep slope to a pedestrian gate (SO 082 937) and into the wood. Follow the path to another pedestrian gate (SO 082 934) on your left to the Fachwen Pool. Turn right over the outflow stream and through a pedestrian gate into the field. Turn left through a pedestrian gate and at the top of the field through a field gate, turning right on to the road.
A little way down this road is a sign for the Rhydyfelin Baptist Church (SO 084 930). Turn left down the drive, past the church on your right, through a pedestrian gate and up a path through the wood. Continue up the hill to a stile and follow the track through 3 gates then follow the hedge on your left, through another gate (SO 089 924). Bear left to a pedestrian gate in the fence. Go through the gate, cross the field and go through a pedestrian gate onto the road. Cross the road (Beehive Lane) and through another gate. Go down the hill and up again heading for the tall tree on the skyline, passing through 4 more gates. From the tree, bear left through a series of gates visible in the hedges ahead.
At the entrance to the beech wood is another gate, go through the wood and out through a gate at the bottom of the wood. Cross the road and down the narrow footpath. This brings you out on Milford Road. Turn left and at the roundabout turn right over the Long Bridge into Broad Street. Walk down Broad Street to return to the Town Clock.