Mynydd Llangattwg and Craig y Cilau

Walking with; Ruthy
Easter Sunday and what better way to burn off the chocolate based calories than a walk up Llangattock Mountain! We parked the car near the Brecon and Monmouthshire canal and were soon walking down narrow country lanes towards the imposing gritstone escarpment of Mynydd Llangattwg or Llangattock Mountain. The area has been extensively quarried and the initial route followed the old tramlines used to bring limestone down the mountain to be put on canal boats for onward travel. After passing a couple of delightful farmhouses and a lot of bluebells and celandines we arrived at the foot of the first of two short, sharp and very steep climbs up the old tramway. Whilst it was difficult to concentrate on much except putting one foot in front of the other it was possible to see holes in the stone where the tram rails had been screwed into the rock and towards the top of the first incline were the very ruined remains of one of the old brakehouses, an office with a view! We continued our ascent up the second incline to reach the escarpment and a flat trail that followed the contours towards the fantastic natural amphitheatre of the Craig Y Cilau Nature Reserve.
The reserve sits in one of largest upland limestone cliffs in South Wales and is home to Lesser Horseshoe bats who have a winter roost in one of the caves, a species of Whitebeam that is found nowhere else in the world and the Osof Agen Allwedd cave system which for many years was considered the largest in the UK. We saw a couple of Ravens circling the crags and there was clear evidence of the cave systems everywhere. We descended from the amphitheatre following a very rocky path through woodland before emerging at Waun Ddu or Black Bog an SSSI where we saw a Wheatear and had to concentrate hard in order to keep our feet dry. There was also a Buzzard circling overhead as we climbed away from the bog and crossed the minor road into more woodland before emerging in the middle of a field full of lambing Ewes, some of them literally in the process of giving birth! Trying to cause the expectant mothers as little distress as possible we continued across the field and followed a Hawthorn edged path down through more farmland before emerging back onto the canal. All that was then required was a gentle stroll downhill past the square stone chapel to The Horseshoe Inn and a pint of “Brain’s”.
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