Can you believe that Corwen walking festival is the first walking festival I’ve been to? Nope neither can I! Corwen (Denbigshire) is a charming little place not far from me (Ceiriog Valley) and each year they host a walking festival to give people a taste of the wonderful walks available locally and wider a field.
Let’s face it, I may be taking part in this Walk 1000 miles challenge but I don’t find myself picking overly hard walks and their website is generally a good resource to find out which grades are suitable for you. It’s also meant that I’ve chosen further walks (some more challenging) to complete in my own time which I’ll tell you about another time.
Anyway, the Ponderosa (which sounds like it belongs in some much hotter and exotic climate) located outside of Llangollen next to the Ponderosa cafe is the walk Rik and I chose to do one sunny Saturday afternoon in September. I got my fix of lush purple-clad heather moorlands, wet boggy bogs, bilberries and rolling countryside.
If you want stunning views of the Dee Valley, then this is the route for you. I’d class it as mildly strenuous because the first 4 miles or so means ascending and descending the undulating Llantsysilio range which is tough on the knees, and hard on the feet due to stoney ground. There are 4 (I think from memory) summit points and the path is clearly marked out among the heather. Signs advise you to stick to these paths to reduce erosion. Each summit provides you with panoramic stopping off points to rest and refuel. With boggy patches in places, I can imagine they get worse in the winter since this is moorland terrain.
Once you’ve tackled the peaks, it’s mostly wandering across wide open fields, a few wobbly stiles, through woods filled with berries to eat along the way (seasonal) and then a gradual descend down from the hills (the woods section is steep here) with hobbit-like views of no, not the Shire, but Carrog (just as beautiful) home to an exceedingly good pub – The Grouse Inn ( great range of Vegan and Veggie meals.) A half-hour stop off here for a much-needed lemonade and we walked back to Corwen.
Highlights: Meeting a visually impaired lady who had a zest for the outdoors and hiking the local hills.
Funny moments: turning up with OS map 55 instead of 56. That my friend is me still learning about navigation. I did get to sit down with one of the walking leaders and go over his map, he kindly gave me a few pointers!
Lows: only taking 1.5l of water for a 10 -mile hike and not eating breakfast! A banana and a packet of crips weren’t enough to sustain me. I do know better.
There are more technical aspects of the Ponderosa route here
I’d like to say a big Diolch to Corwen Festival which runs on donations for dedicating their time and attention to promoting this beautiful part of North East Wales, see you next year. That does mean my current 2017 milage is 780 well-earned miles. I’m not too sure I’ll make 1000 by the end of this year but it’s not how many miles you walk, it’s the things you’ve done and seen whilst walking those miles, right?
Have you been walking recently? Did you attend the Corwen walking festival?