First published in: The Times Click here to view a map for this walk in a new window
A winter day in a million. A gentle breeze out of a cloudless blue sky over mid-Wales, with the sheep pastures along the valley of Cwmannell sparkling in the sunlight as they sweated off last night’s sharp frost.
We followed the farm road from Beulah to the horse paddocks around Hafod-y-garreg, then a slippery hill path that descended through golden oaks to a water-splash pond below Erw-felin. Here a solemn tribe of shaggy-legged horses came to sniff at our hands. No biscuits, lads, sorry!
Up beyond Bwlchmawr the hills grew lumpy, their flanks patched with bracken glowing rusty red in the sun. A network of old green tracks crisscrosses these valleys, and we followed one that dipped in and out of the dingles of Nant Cwm-du and Nant Einon. A cottage stood in roofless solitude above the Einon stream, where a flock of grey-headed fieldfares flew off with sharp grating calls.
The three faces of Mynydd Epynt stared back at us on the southern skyline as we stopped for a breather at the crest above Bron-rhydd. Then it was steeply down to cross the Nant yr Annell stream, and steeply up to meet a broad ridge track. It led us west to a high pass and a sensational view from the nubby heights of Cribyn Bedw.
A seat on a prominent rock, and a good long stare round the wide bowl of hills that encircled the well-wooded farmland down along the Annell and away up the curved valley of the Afon Cammarch. Mynydd Epynt looked massive and solid from here, a crouching beast of a hill.
Far below lay a side valley that might have been modelled by Disney, so perfect were the proportions of its fields, hedges, farm, chapel and forested slopes. Yellowing larches stood up like rockets among the dark conifers, and the guns of invisible shooters went pop-pop-pop as a line of beaters drove pheasants out of cover.
At last we rose and started back down the broad green track to Beulah. Rams stood at the fences, nose-to-nose with ewes in adjacent pastures, and the winter sun poured down like cold honey over woods and fields.
Start: Trout Inn, Beulah, near Llanwrtyd Wells LD5 4UU (OS ref SN 920513)
Getting there: Bus 48 (Builth Wells – Llanwrtyd Wells)
Road: Beulah is on A483 between Builth Wells and Llanwrtyd Wells. Trout Inn car park is behind garage – please ask landlord’s permission!
Walk (6½ miles, moderate hill walk, some short overgrown stretches, OS Explorers 187, 188): Right along A483, in 100m, right (‘Abergwesyn’). In 300m, left (917515) on bridleway road past Aberannell and on for ¾ mile to Hafod-y-Garreg (905513). Pass sheds on left; in 150m, at entrance to Bron-rhudd drive, left down track. In 150m, right (905512, gate/stile) across field to stile (903511); ahead, parallel with Nant Einon stream on left. In 400m, fork left, descending to ford stream (900512, stile).
Up brambly bank opposite; up field to gate; up next field to gate into Erw-felin stableyard (899510). Ahead up lane for 700m to road (898504). Right to Bwlchmawr farm (893508); fork right between house and barns up green lane. In 400m at waymark post, right to cross Nant Cwm-du (889510); through gate; track past cottage (blue arrow), descending to cross Nant Einon by decorative bridge (891513). Right up fence to second gate (892513); right along grass track with fence on right for ½ mile, rising to summit (901515).
Same direction through 2 gates; track bears left (902516), descending to cross Nant yr Annell (899513), then bearing right and rising to gate (903519). Ahead for 50m to ridge track; left for ¾ mile to summit of Cribyn Bedw (891523) for sensational views. Return down track and on for 1½ miles to lane at Aberannell (915515); left to road; right to A483; left to Trout Inn.
Lunch: Trout Inn, Beulah (01591-620235, thetroutinn.net).
Accommodation: Lake Country House, Llangammarch Wells LD4 4BS (01591-620202, lakecountryhouse.co.uk) – friendly, comfortable former fishing lodge.