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Hay-on-Wye to Monmouth
three days along the England/Wales border


This walk is along a favourite part of the Offa's Dyke trail, though there's no dyke to be seen in this bit. We have done the whole trail previously, and picked this section because of the interesting start and finish, the chance to walk again in the Black Mountains, and especially the two lovely night stops, in the Llantony valley and at Llangattock Lingoed. We found it harder going than last time, partly because we are older, but also because this was August 2022 and the temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius. This made the afternoons particularly tiring.

Getting to and from the trail needs country buses, so we took a day at each end. We took a train to Hereford, then the T14 bus (Stand 1, in spite of what the web site says) to Hay. Returning from Monmouth was tricky, especially as it was a Sunday, but bus 36 runs every day. The train goes via Newport, so you might find a neater solution.

We used the Official National Trail Guide, Offa's Dyke Path South, and we also had OS Explorer OL13, Brecon Beacons East, which covers most of the trail with the mobile download to reassure us where we were (though signeage is generally very good).

[The green line on the map is the border between England and Wales.]


Day 1: Hay-on-Wye to Llantony (12 miles)
When we did this walk going north, the final few miles to Hay (photo 1) were a bit of a slog, so it was pleasing to find that going the other way, the approach to the mountains is delightful (photo 2). Also, this time we went up the official way, avoiding Hay Bluff and taking a longer route up the side of the mountain. Rejoining the path to the bluff (photo 3, looking back) we soon had lunch (sandwiches only, no facilities or shade up there) and started the six miles (photo 4) towards Llantony. These I found fairly boring, and we came down on an earlier footpath (photo 5) at a pile of stones. The walk along the valley was disappointing (maybe because we were tired), and I recommend taking the track down just above Llantony. Llantony, where the ruins (photo 6), the Priory Hotel, and the Half Moon Inn, are still magical!
Day 2: Llantony to Llangattock Lingoed (9 miles)
The path out (photo 7) and up the hill is long (photo 8), gentle and clearly marked. I found the scenery more interesting (photo 9), and soon you see the way down, by a series of levels, to Pandy. We left the trail to go to the pub north of Pandy for lunch. Then it was back down (a small road means you don't have to walk along the A465) and left for just over two miles to the delightful Hunter's Moon Inn (photo 10), right next to a little church (photo 11).
Day 3: Llangattock Lingoed to Monmouth (13 miles)
There is nothing extreme about this day (photo 12), but that's a relief after the previous two. The countryside undulates gently, there is always a new view. Looking for shade, we had sandwiches in the churchyard at Llanvihangel-Ystern-Llewern (photo 13). There is a final up-and-down through King's wood, and a long trek to the Wye river (photo 14) and Monmouth (photo 15), on this occasion entirely untroubled by the mud that is notorious here.
(Click on a photo to see a large version in a new window.)
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