A very lazy morning left us with enough guilt to feel that we needed some exercise in the afternoon, so we set out to follow one of the walks in our new ‘Walks Around Machynlleth’ book, which, after some road-testing of the routes, will be appearing in Isfryn. We chose a walk of just over 6 miles, starting at the Dyfi Bridge in Machynlleth and making a big loop past the now deserted farm of Pantyspydden.
The first half mile is solidly, steeply uphill on a metalled lane. It was a pretty warm afternoon, and we were seriously hot and more than glowing gently by the time we reached the top. There was a brief respite about two thirds of the way up when we came across a little stall set out by the residents of Bron Aur, which had home baked, organic energy bars for sale. It would have been rude to pass by, so we bought some and ate them on the spot. This part of the route is on the Wales Coast path, so I imagine they’re used to wilting walkers stopping for a breather and glad of something to eat.
The views from the top of the first long pull up were lovely- it feels like we’re moments away from full autumn colour.
The walk passed a lot of very remote farms, now abandoned and in ruins. From the size of the buildings, they must have been very prosperous in their day. I have no idea why they would have been abandoned, but I’d be interested to find out.
It’s fair to say that the path was a little bit damp in places…
There were also a few places where the book was rather out of date. A suggested footpath shortcut would have needed a team of machete wielding bush rangers to get through, and there was a place where a stile over a barbed wire fence was simply not there. Luckily, a fallen branch had pulled the barbed wire down far enough that we could climb very gingerly over. We’ve noted these places in the walk description in the book.
Given that the ground was too saturated to sit on, a little waste tip from a path-side quarry in the woods offered a perfect, dry lunch spot and some lovely lichens to look at.
Aside from the water and the occasional misdirection, the walk was easy after the first long climb, undulating through woodlands and in and out of small valleys. We got a very distant view of the sea at one point, which always adds to a walk for me.
We also came across the fantastic survivor. A oak tree whose base was so pitted with rot that it looked as if it were made of cork, yet it was green and growing.
On the route back, we found a very cold and exhausted bee on the path, so a rescue mission swung into action. The only sugar we had was in a rather aged and sticky Chewit, dug up from the depths of my rucksack. We added a bit of water and helped the bee aboard the opened paper. It was soon licking away, and with the whole rig moved into the sun, soon looked like a new bee. After about 20 minutes of continuous eating, it flew away and we could walk off happy at a good deed done.
We dropped back down the long hill (much easier this way!) with views of Machynlleth in the autumn evening sun.
A final check for otters at the Dyfi Bridge (nothing tonight, though we were watching one playing just here a couple of weeks ago), then home for well earned beer and pizza!