This is a lovely adventure where you can walk to and between the source of the two biggest rivers in Wales – Severn and Wye. This picturesque walk allows you to walk alongside these babbling streams with some lovely views to boot.
The adventure started with a drive up, stopping in Llanidloes for food at the family run Unicorn in the centre of town – nice friendly atmosphere with better than average home cooked food. Make sure you try the sticky toffee pudding – it’s the nicest one I have ever tasted!
From there we took the narrow country road out to the car park at Hafren Forest. Driving up in the night looking for a sleeping spot, you never know what you will get, however we found flat ground to park on in the forest clearing, a beautiful picnic spot and with a clear night (like we had) a stargazing paradise. It was a very quiet and peaceful spot, with immaculately clean toilets that remained open overnight. Just make sure you have a torch with you as they are run on solar power – so not particularly effective in November!
We woke up to a beautiful sunrise and rainbow, then breakfasted in the van on a hearty pre-walk breakfast (Weetabix, fried egg butty and lots of tea), laced up our boots, donned our waterproofs and gaiters then headed off.
We decided to head to the Severn first – the path was very clear with a good surface. The gradient was kind, gaining height with minimal effort and a map is not really necessary as the signposting is very good. The view as you get to the top is simply gorgeous, and we managed to get a quick glimpse of it before the cloud came and settled in for the rest of our walk.
We then decided to cut across to one of the high points in the area, (815877) and on a fine day would have allowed us a panoramic view however we were in the clouds so no such luck for us. This section was really quite wet and hard work – however if you stick close to the fence lines then there is a path of sorts and is less boggy. On a less windy day, and with better visibility, we would have continued across the open ground to Plynlimon (752m) and then taken a bearing to the source of Wye from there.
Source of the Severn
Instead, to get to the source of the Wye we dropped to lower ground then took the forest road past several old mines at Esgair Y Maesnant, following the signs to get to the source. Once there we didn’t linger as the rain was starting to get heavier and the wind was really picking up, so we headed back to the start at a good pace to a well earned cup of tea and biscuits.
Distance:- 18km with 739m of ascent (didn’t feel that hard though as the paths are such good condition)
Time:- 4 ¾ hours of walk time
Overall opinion:- Lovely faff-free walk, with minimal planning and navigation. It can be done as a circular walk, it’s very scenic and a great day out to see the source of these two great Welsh rivers.
Cost:- Cheap! Just fuel and food
Logistical Ease:- Bit of planning
Adventure rating: **
Heading across to Plynlimon