The Seven Stars sits next to one of the most appealing churches in Wales, dedicated to St Cewydd (a rainmaker, like St Swithun).First published in: The Times Click here to view a map for this walk in a new window
Not so long ago the Seven Stars at Aberedw lay closed down, boarded up and despaired of by all and sundry. These days it’s a thriving little place – a testament to how a tiny mid-Wales community and a lively-minded landlord can rally round a moribund pub and breathe life into it once more.
The Seven Stars sits next to one of the most appealing churches in Wales, dedicated to St Cewydd (a rainmaker, like St Swithun). Inside, a glass case displays the two flutes of William Williams, church flautist in Victorian times – he’d also play for dancing, seated in the timber framed porch while the local swains and damsels footed it on the church green.
With such bucolic images as sauce for the day, we set off into a big blowy morning. Enormous clouds marched east across blue sky fields, with sunbursts at their trailing edges. A stony track beyond the River Edw took us up the tiers of a giant natural amphitheatre, a curved hillside of stepped cliffs facing north-west across the Edw’s valley. Here in the winter of 1282 Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, last true prince of Wales, spent his final night on earth in a dark slit of a cave among the hazels, a fugitive from the might and wrath of King Edward I. Next day Llywelyn was caught and killed, his severed head was paraded in London, and Welsh hopes of freedom were snuffed out with the prince evermore to be known as ‘Llywelyn the Last’.
We contoured the curved valley on a green grassy path, then climbed to the broad back of Llandeilo Hill, a sombre sea of dark heather beyond which the graceful peaks of the Brecon Beacons, Pen y Fan and Cribyn, rose pale and ghostly in the south, with the long prows of the Black Mountains low on the south-east horizon. Everything lay marinated in beautiful sunlight – hills, farms, the sloping green fields and fox brown hilltops overlooking the Edw. We passed the low stone cairn that marks the grave of Twm Tobacco – maybe a hanged felon, maybe a much-loved pedlar, depending on who’s relaying the tale – and went steeply down through the bracken with its sheep farms and ancient oak groves.. A muddy path along the Edw among incurious long-horned cattle, and we were heading up the road towards the Seven Stars in the last sunshine of the day.
Start: Seven Stars Inn, Aberedw, Builth Wells, LD2 3UW (OS ref SO 080474)
Travel: Aberedw is signed off A470 Talgarth-Builth Wells just beyond Erwood.
Walk: (7½ miles, moderate, OS Explorer 188. NB: detailed instructions – highly recommended! – online maps, more walks at christophersomerville.co.uk): From Seven Stars pub, right along road past church to cross River Edw (085471). In 50m, fork right up ‘No Through Road’ lane. In 100m, hairpin right up track, through gate and on up track. In ⅓ mile, pass a ruined farmhouse (085467). In another 100m track forks; bear left and follow the grassy stony track, ignoring side tracks. In 250m, track forks again (087465); go right, and follow this track anticlockwise round curve of hillside. In ⅓ mile go under power lines; in another 100m, turn right uphill on track (092464). At top of rise, ahead for 150m; then left along grassy bridleway (094462).
Follow edge of ridge for ⅔ mile; then veer east away from ridge (100472) to meet bridleway at Glannau Pool (104471). Left (blue arrow/BA); follow BAs for nearly ½ mile to Twm Tobacco’s Grave (109475); small cairn). Keep ahead (white arrow on green disc) for 250m; hairpin back to left (112476) along lower track. In ⅓ mile, just past triangular pond on right, bear right on path (106478) past pond and on downhill. Follow this path down through bracken for ⅓ mile to T-junction of tracks (108482). Left downhill to go through gate; follow right-hand side of field downhill and through gate to 3-way junction of tracks (108484). Left here, down through Pentwyn Farm to road (106487). Left for 1 mile. Pass white-painted Glan Dwr house on left; right here to cross river (094478). In 20m, left through gate; in 30m, left across stile (yellow arrow, fingerpost) and follow riverside path (very boggy!). In ⅔ mile where path forks (086473), keep left beside river across field to stile in onto road (085471). Right into Aberedw.
From Seven Stars, right along road – cross River Edw (085471). Fork right up lane; in 100m, right up farm track. In ⅓ mile, pass ruined farmhouse (085467). On up track; in 100m fork left; in 250m fork right (087465); follow track round hillside for ⅓ mile. Under power lines; in 100m, right (092464) uphill. At top, left along bridleway (094462). It follows ridge edge for ⅔ mile, then bends right to Glannau Pool (104471). Right (blue arrows); in ½ mile, pass Twm Tobacco’s Grave cairn (109475); in another 250m, hairpin back left (112476) on track. In ⅓ mile, right (106478) past pond; downhill for ⅓ mile to T- junction of tracks (108482). Left downhill through gates to 3-way track junction (108484); left down through Pentwyn Farm to road (106487). Left for 1 mile; right across river (094478). Left through gate; left across stile (yellow arrow, fingerpost); follow boggy riverside path for ¾ mile to road (085471). Right to Aberedw.
NB Conditions: riverside path is very boggy! Drier alternative between the two bridges is by road.
Lunch/accommodation: Seven Stars Inn, Aberedw, Builth Wells, LD2 3UW (01982-560494)
Info: Builth Wells TIC (01982-553307); visitwales.co.uk; tourism.powys.gov.uk
www.ramblers.org.uk www.satmap.com www.LogMyTrip.co.uk