Llandrindod Wells: Shaky Bridge Walk
This is a 6km (4.5 mile) walk, It is graded as EASY/MODERATE. There are two short sharp climbs and the one from the Lake to the Trig Point is quite strenuous. The walk starts and finishes at the Llandrindod Lake where the facilities include parking, a restaurant and public toilets. As with all the walks around Llandrindod, the paths can be muddy and slippery in wet weather when stout shoes or boots are advisable. As the area is very much sheep country, dogs should only be taken if they are on leads and under close control.
This is mainly a walk through fields and woods with a return through part of the town. From the Trig Point there are panoramic views over the town and the whole surrounding area. The length of the walk can be adjusted to suit individual requirements. In the middle of the walk there is a picnic site with parking for several cars.
At the picnic site there is an ancient right of way to the old church of St Michael across the river Ithon. At one time it was by way of a ford for carts and foot passengers. Then in Victorian times a bridge for pedestrians was constructed of wire spans joined by rough planking – this of course was very ‘shaky’. However the shaky bridge and the ford have now both been replaced by a solid bridge.
1. Leaving the Lakeside Restaurant area go clockwise around the Lake for about 300m. Turn left through a kissing gate onto a broad tarmac track. When the track bears left keep on through the trees on a narrow pathway to a grassy slope still going uphill. At the top pass the finger post and keep to the path with the hedge to your left. Just before the net finger post and before you cross the stile, turn right up the bracken slope. At the cross path turn left and shortly after turn right on the path leading uphill through the trees and out into the open. Cross the stile by the gorse bushes and then keeping straight ahead make for a stile to the right of a line of trees. From here you can see the next stile on the opposite fence.
2. There is a faint grassy track up hill to the Trig Point (marked by a white pillar about a metre tall) from which the Ordnance Survey mapped the surrounding country. This hill is called Beacon Hill and has been used for that purpose for centuries - the last beacon was to celebrate the start of the European Union. Follow the track down to the road making to the left of a stand of conifers you can see below and turn left. (To shorten the walk by over half a mile you can keep on the road until you reach a gate to your left with Llanolau on the nameplate, and you will have rejoined the main route.) To keep to the main route turn right after a few yds into a clear felled plantation. The plantation has been replanted with both conifers and broad leaf trees and the brush has been left as protection and fertiliser for the young trees.
3. When you reach the end of the track through the plantation turn right over a stile. You are going round the outside of a garden and after a short distance over another stile. Still keeping round the garden continue till you come to a stile to your left. This takes you onto a hillside. Dodging the gorse bushes and bracken try to keep close to the fence on your right as you go up hill until you reach a track. By kind permission of the landowner as it isn’t a public footpath turn left on the track and continue to the hawthorn tree. Then turn left downhill to reach a stile in the fence. This leads to a driveway which you cross and leave by another stile almost opposite. You have to turn right immediately and over another stile which is fitted with chicken wire to keep the goats out. After less than 20 yds turn left along a straight path which takes you over a small bridge made of railway sleepers and up to the road. Go left uphill and soon after the bungalow on your right turn right on a track which leads past the old farmhouse called Llanolau. (Llanolau means church settlement of lights or perhaps should be Llwynolau which means grove of lights.)
4. Continue on this track which starts to descend, ignore a path going off to the left – it only leads to a spring which was the water supply for the farm. You will reach a narrow country road. Beware the traffic! (To shorten the walk by another half-mile you can turn left on this road and rejoin the others at a stile from the field to your right.) If you turn right down the hill you will come to the Shaky Bridge picnic site near the river Ithon and you can visit the ancient church of St Michael by going across the bridge and over the common. To continue on the main route climb over a stile to the left of the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust’s Information Board into a field. Go up the field, keeping to the left of ground sloping down to the river and make for the stile to the road where your fiends are waiting.
5. Turn right still going uphill until the road bends sharply to your left. The road becomes wider and passes Bailey Einon Farm. Einon was one of the medieval Welsh rulers and this must have been the site of one of his fortified houses or baileys. His name occurs in several place names in Radnorshire.
6. You will be going down hill now for a while and just after the 30mph sign and by a huge glacial erratic boulder turn right on a tarmac lane. After 50m turn left and over a stile onto an enclosed path which leads to a bridge. Across the bridge you reach a field where you go up the slope with the hedge on your right to another lane leading to Llanfawr (the large church settlement or grove) Farm. Turn left here and pass bungalows on each side. Go down the slope and just past a corrugated iron barn which used to be a blacksmith’s, there is a kissing gate to your left. This leads to a play area.
7. Go round the play area in front of Wylesfield Old People’s Home until you reach a road. Turn right and follow the road which bears to the left, first through modern houses and then reaches the edge of the Victorian town with its red brick multi storey guesthouses. At the crossroads go straight over into Beaufort Road (Lord Beaufort was the owner of much of the land that Llandrindod was built on) and continue as far as the T-junction, turn right and immediately left into Princes Avenue which leads back to the Lake.