Walk 7 Pwll Penarth Fron Dolfor
This walk starts and finishes at the Waggon and Horses in Lower Canal Road and includes Pwll Penarth Nature Reserve, with lakes and water birds and a view of Penarth Weir on the River Severn. It gives good views of the Severn Valley and Nature Reserve. Much of the walk is on quiet tracks with road and some off-road walking.
4.5 miles • 1.5 hours • Moderate
Cars can be parked near the pub either on Lower Canal Road or Dolafon Road, the Waggon and Horses is on the corner at the intersection of these two roads (SO113918). Walk down Dolafon Road and go through the gap in the hedge at the bottom of the road (SO 114917). (If this path is muddy, there is an entrance to an optional paved path on the right further along Dolafon Road.) In either case, climb the low flood protection bank and turn left to walk along the top of it. The path drops down to a gate. Go through and follow the paved path under a pipe bridge, past the ‘Old Pump House’ on your right. The Pump House took water from the Severn to supply the head of the canal. It was originally operated by a water wheel, later by steam and eventually by a diesel engine. It ceased operation in the 1940s.
Continue along the paved footpath passing a car park at a connection to the Llanllwchaiarn to Aberbechan road (SO122925). There is a footpath sign there stating 1.5 km to Newtown, 2.2 km to Pwll Penarth Nature Reserve and 7.5 km to Abermule. The footpath that you are following is part of the Severn Way long distance path and also the 81 National Cycle Trail. Continue under a low bridge to pass Llanllwchaiarn church on your left. This church was built in 1814 on a site dating back to the 6th century and has a famous art deco stained glass window and a carved rood screen. Unfortunately, the church is rarely open except for bi-weekly services.
The path continues to follow the line of the old canal and is now close to the River Severn on your right. You soon pass another a car park at a connection to the Llanllwchaiarn to Aberbechan road with a sign stating 2.0 km to Newtown, 1.7 km to Pwll Penarth Nature Reserve. Pass through a gate (SO134925) with the sewage works on your right, cross the access road and continue along the footpath.
Pass the old Dolfor Lock on your left and turn into the Pwll Penarth Nature Reserve through a signed gate on your right (SO 137 928). This reserve is operated by the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust and there are two hides available for bird watching. Details of the reserve, including a map, can be found at http://www.montwt.co.uk/pwll.html. The reserve passes the Penarth Weir on the Severn.
Follow the path to the gate ahead, noting the boat shaped fishing shelter on your right, to exit the reserve and rejoin the canal path.
Turn right to the fingerpost (SO139930) where you turn left across the Freestone Lock, through the gate and follow the track north up the hill to a field gate. Go through this field gate and follow the track through the copse to another field gate.
Just after this gate there is a fingerpost on your left (SO139932). Turn sharp left here and follow the narrow path uphill until you reach another 2 field gates and another fingerpost (SO 135930).
Turn left past the Fron Dolfor farm buildings and follow the track straight ahead and downhill. You will pass wooden cabins on your right and join the road at a small quarry.
Turn right here (SO130926) and continue on the road until you come to the car park on your left at the cottage, Craig Wen. Re-join the canal footpath, turn right and retrace your steps to the Waggon and Horses or take the rustic steps on your right just before the Old Pump House and go up on to the road. Turn left and return to the Waggon past the mill workers cottages and the Cambrian Mill, part of which is now housing.
Waggon and Horses.
This local pub run by Neil and Jackie offers excellent bar service with real ale and meals in their Garden Restaurant. The opening hours are:
Monday to Thursday – from 6 pm
Friday – 12-2, then from 5 pm
Saturday and Sunday – all day from noon
Open lunchtime during the week by arrangement, phone 01686 625790.