Rhayader: Valley Vistas
Distance: 5 miles
Duration: 2 ½ hours.
Suitable for pets.
Not suitable for wheelchairs or prams.
This is a five miles walk, mostly along quiet lanes and tracks, and so suitable throughout the year. There are some fine views of the Elan Valley and beautiful countryside surrounding Rhayader.
Commencing outside the Leisure Centre, proceed up the hill on the road to St. Harmon passing the main car-park on your right. After 1/4 mile, turn left into Bryntirion Lane, following the signs for the school.
Walk along the lane, you will pass Rhayader Primary School on your left. Follow the lane as it winds up the hill (Pic 1), you will pass turn offs for Cefnfaes Hall and a pottery however, continue to follow the lane as it passes through some woodland before descending to cross a small stream.
The lane now climbs almost continuously for about 1/4 mile with occasional views to the right of the summit of Moel Hywel (495 metres). You will pass a farm with loud dogs but they should be kept off the lane. Near the summit of the hill you will pass a small cottage at right-angles to the lane (Llidiartcarnau) and just after a small conifer plantation on your left you will reach a cross roads of the lane and a farm track (Pic 2). Take the left-hand track and, after passing through several gates (please leave them as you find them) and a couple of old railway vans used as storage, the track descends quite steeply into the Wye Valley. Straight ahead there are many fine views to be had of the Elan Valley including Drygarn Fawr, at just over 2000 feet, the highest point in Mid Wales.
Follow the track down hill past a reservoir on the hillside to your left, to eventually reach a gate at the bottom of the valley giving onto the main road (A470). Carefully cross the main road and proceed left until, almost opposite a wooden bungalow on the hillside, there is a fairly overgrown way-marked footpath on your right. Follow the path down and either climb the stile or use the gate next to it. Continue down to the footbridge (Cwm-bach) which is a modern laminated timber renewal of the earlier suspension bridge. Cross this and continue up the hill away from the River Wye. The path then crosses the old railway line and climbs upwards. Follow the path to a rather old wooden gate which gives onto a tarmaced lane. Turn left along this lane which runs parallel with the main road on the other side of the valley (Pic 3). Stay on the lane as it meanders gently down hill following the curves of the valley. Eventually you will reach a t junction where you should turn left heading back towards Rhayader. This road is the Aberystwyth Mountain Road known locally as the ‘Coach Road’ since this was the main route to the coast used by coach and horse.