Walk 9 Bettws Cedewain & Dolforwyn Castle Challenge Walk
This challenging walk has stream jumping, gate climbing, steep banks, woods, fields, some quiet roads and lots of hills so it isn’t for the faint hearted. Total ascent and descent is 2600 ft (800 m). The glorious and varied views and lovely countryside make the hills worthwhile. There is a pub at Bettws Cedewain after 4.5 miles and the picturesque ruins of Dolforwyn Castle at the 7.3 mile mark. As with most of our walks, wet weather will mean muddy footpaths and swollen streams in places.
12.5 miles • 5.5 hours • Strenuous
This walk starts under the Town Clock at the junction 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 descendant 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; 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 along Severn Street to Severn Square with the garage on your right. Cross the Gas Street car park to the pedestrian bridge (Halfpenny Bridge) to cross the River Severn. At the end of the bridge follow the path to the left then go ahead up the narrow road, Golwgydre Lane. At the top of the lane, turn left along Canal Road which you cross at the next pedestrian crossing. Continue along Canal Road a short distance then turn right up Sycamore Drive, which you follow through Barnfields estate until you reach the top of the hill. You will see a gap in the houses on your left (SO 114925); turn here and follow the footpath between two hedges to the right. Go over the stile at the end and bear right, down the bank to the bridge over the stream. Cross the stream and head up the bank to the stile at the top of the field. This brings you out onto Lonesome Lane.
Turn left along the lane and you soon pass The Woodland Walk – Coed y Graig on your right (SO 117928). A map and information board inside the entrance shows trails but you can stroll anywhere. The circular walk around the wood gives excellent views of Newtown and the surroundings. There are benches for picnics and the mixed broadleaved trees provide interest all year round for flowers, fruit and nuts. Forage in season for apples, crabapples, cherries, hazelnuts, sloes, elderflowers or berries, haws, etc. Information about this wood and the Woodland Trust can be found at www.coed-cadw.org.uk
You can take a walk through the woods if you have time or continue along Lonesome Lane which soon becomes an unsurfaced green lane, which can be muddy. Follow this until you reach the junction with Upper Gwestydd Lane (SO 115936). Cross it and follow the lane ahead. Continue past Rose Cottage on the left and a farm on the right and on to a sharp left bend. Immediately after this bend, go through the FG gate on your right (SO 114939). Turn right to follow the hedge on your right up the hill. At the top of the hill is a bench commemorating one of our founder members, Esta Beilby. On a clear day, take a break here and enjoy the view of Aran Fawddwy, 24 miles to the northwest.
Go through the PG and continue to follow the hedge on your right along the steep bank until you reach a FG and cattle grid (SO 119942). Turn left here and pick up a track to a FG in the right-hand corner of the field. Go through this gate and follow the hedge on your right to the wood below. *Zigzag down through the wood, following the track, to the PG at the bottom. Bear right across the field to a way marker post which directs you through another steep wood to a PG. Go through the gate and continue down the field to a PG (SO 122948) and a bridge over the stream.
*This wood can be very slippery and treacherous when wet. The friendly farmer, however, is very happy for people to skirt around the wood to your left and avoid this section if necessary. Pick up the path again at the bottom of the wood at the PG.
Cross the bridge and follow the hedge on your right to the road (SO 123950). At the bend follow the direction to Bettws Cedewain. After 100m turn left into Pont Farm entrance and go through the FG on the right. Turn left through another FG and follow the field up to another open FG in the hedge ahead. Turnleft; with the hedge on your right continue up the track until you reach a large oak on the left where you go up the steps and through the PG. Bear right between oaks up over the shoulder of the hill and follow the old line of trees down the other side. Aim for the red house on the immediate horizon ahead. Go over the stile (SO 121956) before the stream, cross the small stream and follow the path through the trees to a field. Bear slightly left up this field to a FG and cattle grid in the corner. You will see a large pheasant farm on the right. Follow the green lane to the drive of Pant Mawr. Cross the road and continue straight ahead up the lane.
Just before you reach the farm buildings on your left, go over a stile (SO 115962) in the hedge on your right. Follow the hedge on your left and go through the wooden PG at a telegraph pole. Follow the field down, fence on your right, and bear left near the bottom to go over a stile (SO 117964) in the fence line. Follow the fence on your right, through conifers down to a FG and stile onto a green lane. You might have to squeeze by a lorry parked on the path. Follow this lane, over a cattle grid and on to the road by the house Cwm Cochen. Turn left at the road then right down Ffordd Newydd. A little way down this road, turn right through a gate to cross a children’s playground to a paved footpath, follow it to a pedestrian bridge to cross the river on your left. This brings you to the Bull and Heifer pub (01686 651210) which is a good place to stop for a drink or a meal and it is open daily.
Leaving the pub go straight along the road through the village, passing the shop on your left and the main road bridge over the river on your right and continue along the road signed to Berriew. You will shortly pass Bettws Hall where you turn right down the lane (SO 124968) behind the Hall. Just before the barns turn left to follow the green lane through the small wood. Go through the FG and continue along the lane ahead. At the crossroads in the lanes continue straight ahead and at the road (SO 133959) carry straight on up the hill. At the top there’s a rustic bench to take a rest.
Pass some barns and a FG on your right then turn right through a FG waymarked by a bridleway post (SO 140957) and up the track. Where the track turns sharp right, go ahead through FG (FP). Head for an un-waymarked post in the field, passing chicken sheds below on the right. Aim for the prominent oak tree below (3rd in a line of trees to the left of the shed) and go through PG, continue straight and through FG and down through another FG (SO 146956) on to the road. Continue straight along dead end road in front of you. Where road turns sharp left go over cattle grid on the right and follow track to pass Upper House. The track ends just past the house and you turn right and follow the hedge on your right downhill to go through a FG on the right. Follow hedge on your left heading towards the Dolforwyn Castle Woods and through FG. Ignore the FG on your left and go straight ahead through the wide opening in the hedge. Cross the field and through another FG, across a track and follow hedge on your left to enter the wood through the wooden PG, with a badger door alongside. Turn right and follow the path through the wood, through a PG by the cottage and turn immediately left on to the track leading left to the castle.
After visiting the castle, return to the junction of the tracks (SO 151949) at the small green sign and turn right to pass the cottage on your right. Go through PG and follow steep path down through the wood to come out on to the road. Turn right past bungalow and then turn left (SO 148948) into drive in front of house (FP) and go through PG on the left. Cross field through FG then through PG and up to the top of the field and through a PG at the right end of the hedge in front of you. Continue straight with wood on your right and through FG into wood next to a small old quarry/pond on your right. Follow old track ahead, passing dead JCB, out through FG and follow track, cross another track and head downhill heading for a prominent oak tree. Go through FG next to the tree and bear right across field to FG/PG and out on to the road (SO 138939). Cross the road and through PG (FP) to follow the stream to PG, cross the bridge over the side stream and up steps to the road.
Turn left across the road bridge then turn right through PG and follow fence on your right, through PG and head towards barns. Go through PG then right through FG (SO 134939) and down slope into field. Bear left to PG, cross road through another PG. Bear right across field and through 2 FGs. There are usually friendly, inquisitive horses in these fields. Head for post in field, cross stream and follow narrow path between stream and hedge to go through PG and cross drive (SO 130940) leading to holiday cottages. Continue on between pond/stream and hedge to enter wood through PG on your right. Follow fence to a left turn and continue on path through the wood to leave it at a PG. Continue towards buildings and post, then up the steps, through PG then up the bank (SO 127940) to follow the path through the wood and out on to the hardcore lane where you turn right.
Follow the lane, over a cattle grid and just after the next cattle grid go through the FG on the left and continue ahead and out through another FG (FP) and back on to road, turn left. Follow road, Upper Gwestydd Lane, till you come to a PG (FP) on your left (SO 116937). Go into the field* and follow the hedge on your left to go through a PG, cross a stream, through a PG into the wood. Follow faint path bearing right through wood to cross another stream into a field. Bear right across field to go through a FG (SO 117934) and on to the green lane that leads back to Lonesome Lane. Go down Lonesome Lane until you reach the Llanllwchaearn road. Turn left, cross the road and in a short distance take the steps down on the right. Turn right on the paved path which will lead you back to the Halfpenny Bridge. Cross the bridge and go straight on Severn Street to return to the starting point.
* This route involves crossing 2 streams so if it has been very wet you can continue to the green lane and turn left to return on the route you took to Bettws.