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The Group meets monthly, on a day arranged by the designated walk organiser, for a walk of about 6 to 9 miles. New members are always welcome. See below for dates of forthcoming walks and events.
THE LONG WALKS SCHEDULE FOR 2015 IS AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.
Sorry, but no dogs allowed on walks (due to previous experiences!).
Contact Steve Monaghan
DETAILS OF RECENT WALKS
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There was a cold wind for the December 2014 walk and it was muddy underfoot, but six well-wrapped walkers met in Magor, near the ruins of the 14th Century Procurator's House, for a 7 mile walk led by Steve and Val Monaghan. The group passed by the abandoned (but still in a good state, despite nearly 100 years of neglect) Pencoed Castle on the way to Penhow Castle and the adjacent 13th Century church of St John the Baptist, where lunch was taken in the porch. The return route was via St Bridget's Church and the nearby abandoned mediaeval village of St Bride's Netherwent, now only visible as lumps and bumps in a field. One source claims the village was abandoned because of the Black Death in the 14th Century, but another states that it was not vacated until the 18th Century. The rain arrived in the afternoon, but by then the party was safely ensconded in the café in Magor, enjoying a well-deserved coffee and cake.
The November 2014 was led by Elaine Booth from the Woodlands Tavern in Llanvair Discoed, near Caerwent. We were blessed with good weather once again this year. The seven-strong group followed country lanes, including one called The Cwm (with its eponymous house), before the ascent of Gray Hill began with a steep climb. A flattish stretch through fields allowed us to recover our breathe, before a long, steady pull took us to the the woodland edge just below the ridge; both of the Severn Bridges could be seen from this viewpoint. The stone circle and the two standing stones, which line up with the rising sun on the winter solstice, were then visited before we descended from the hill, to follow a very muddy bridleway back to the pub, where an excellent lunch was taken.
At the AGM and lunch in November 2014 it was agreed that Steve Monaghan would continue as Group Leader.
The membership fee remains unchanged at £1.00, but is now levied per person, rather than per household as previously.
One walk attracted 11 attendees and another 10 participants. No walks were lost to the weather. Five members attended 7 out of the 12 walks, with the longest being 9.3 miles. Congratulations (and prizes) went to John Andrew, Keith Kennett, Marian East, Sue Collier and Bob Collier.
Finally, a prize was awarded to Bob Bevington for leading the walk with the longest stop (2 hours and 5 minutes).
The weather proved kind yet again for the October 2014 walk, which Bob Bevington led from the Portobello House car park, near Ogmore-by Sea. The route took the group past the Mari Flanders's Well, onto Ogmore Down and eventually down to the Watermill Inn for lunch. The afternoon section of the walk was a looping circuit to Merthyr Mawr, via the historic New Inn Bridge, to cross the river by the stepping stones near Ogmore Castle(where one of the party decided to have an impromptu dip in 3 feet of water!). Eleven members participated in the walk.
With overnight rain, thunder and lightning, the prospects for the September 2014 walk looked poor, especially as the early morning dreariness seemed to herald a wet day. How wrong can you be? Within 30 minutes of setting off from the snack bar at Caerphilly Mountain, the four walkers were taking off coats and the leaders, Steve and Val Monaghan, were regretting the decision to wear overtrousers; by the end of the 6 mile walk shirt sleeves were on show. The route went to Rudry Common via The Warren and Parc-y-Fan woods, followed by a climb onto the Ridgeway for a high level return with views over Caerphilly. Lunch was taken afterwards at the Black Cock.
The weather was again kind for the August 2014 walk, which was led by Penny Jarvis and Marian East. The party of 9 (which included one guest) started from the Star Inn at Dinas Powys and followed tracks and fields to Wenvoe, being treated to panoramic views over Barry en route.
After crossing the A4050 by a footbridge, the group made its way to the small village of Michaelston-le-Pit, where we passed the picturesque Salmon Leaps (a series of weirs on the small Wrinstone Brook). One tall walker did try to knock himself out by failing to spot a low, substantial branch overhanging the path as we neared Dinas Powys, but he recovered sufficiently to enjoy lunch in the Star.
The weather didn't force the cancellation of the July 2014 walk, but it did cause it to be shortened to 5.5 miles. It was so hot that the leader, Keith Kennett, decided that his proposed route plan would risk dehydration and so the group took the bus from Llantwit Major to Marcross, not St Brides Major, the original destination. The party of 6 (plus one guest) followed the coastal path back to Llantwit, via the Nash Point lighthouses, Atlantic College at St Donats and Tresilian Bay, where a large cave was investigated as the tide was out. There was also time for a short history of St Illtyd's Church from one of the greeters there, who happened to be another Cowbridge U3A member, Denise Worsfold.
The June 2014 walk, led by June and Rhys Morgan, started from the “Plough and Harrow” pub in Monknash, passing through Monk's Wood on the way to Wick and its two windmills and then across the fields to Monkton, finally arriving at the “Horseshoe Inn” in Marcross for lunch.
The select group of four returned to the start via the coastal path. Temperatures were in the mid 20's and the total distance of the walk was about 8 miles.
The party provided amusement for heifers and bullocks, dogs and horses and spotted numerous different butterflies, including a blue which Keith Kennett identified.
The sun shone (at times!) and the rain stayed away for the May 2014 walk, which started from the centre of Welsh St Donats. Ten members were guided by Jo Ilsley on an 8 mile tour of this quiet corner of the Vale. On our walk, we went through part of Hensol Forest, circuited a former home of Tom Jones, named "Llwyn ddu", (In 1994, Tom was able to divert a public footpath here legally and he also had a fence constructed to maintain some privacy. He doesn't own the house any more but the detour and fence still remain as a legacy.) and crossed a racehorse training area near Tre-Doderidge. A coffee break and lunch were taken by the waters of Llywn-yoy Pond and Pysgodlyn Mawr Lake respectively.
Bob and Sue Collier were the leaders of the April 2014 walk, which started from their house in Maendy, not far from Cowbridge. Seven of us met to walk over 9 miles through the Vale of Glamorgan countryside, via the villages of Ystradowen (with its motte), City, Craig Penllyn (where packed lunches were taken), Llansannor and Pen-y-Lan. Parts of the route were familiar to some of us, but there were a lot of paths we'd never trodden before. The woodlands were a picture, carpeted with wood anemones, celandines and, just starting to make an appearance, bluebells. At one point, we had to wait while a flock of ewes with lambs was herded down the road to a new pasture; there was an awful lot of bleating when they arrived, as mothers tried to locate offspring and vice versa!
|Dates for your Diary|
|Fri Jan 23||Walk to be led by Jim Bostock|
|Fri Feb 20||Walk to be led by Keith Morgan|
|Thu Mar 12||Walk to be led by Elaine Booth|
|Fri Apr 24||Walk to be led by Penny Jarvis and Marian East|
|Fri May 8||Walk to be led by Jo Ilsley|
|Sat Jun 6||Saturday 6 - Tuesday 9 June 2015: Weekend away break with Wednesday Walking Group|
|Fri Jun 19||Walk to be led by Rhys and June Morgan|
|Fri Jul 24||Walk to be led by Keith Kennett|
|Thu Aug 27||Walk to be led by Bob Bevington|
|Fri Sep 18||Walk to be led by Bob and Sue Collier|
|Thu Oct 8||Walk to be led by Judith Nunn and Claire Fawcett|
|Fri Nov 20||Walk to be led by John Andrew|
|Thu Dec 10||Walk to be led by Steve and Val Monaghan|