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Walks in and Around the Berwyn Mountains

Manylion a Disgrifiad y Llyfr | Book Details & Description

  • ISBN: 9781845240899
  • Author: John Tranter
  • Publication December 2007
  • Format: Paperback, 182x124 mm, 80 pages

A collection of 12 graded circular walks reflecting the diverse landscape, natural beauty and rich history of the Berwyn Mountains, comprising easy-to-follow directions and maps, together with information relating to local attractions. 13 maps.

Gwales Review
This is a welcome addition to the excellent ‘Walks with history’ series, detailing twelve walks in this wild upland where tourist activity is relatively quiet, and where a sense of solitude can still be found.

The walks are prefaced with a concise and informative introduction describing the geology of the Berwyn range, its Silurian flags and shales laid down some 400 million years ago and the later effects of the last ice age cutting through several U-shaped valleys which define the shape of the Berwyn today, with a featureless plateau which can make navigation in poor weather particularly difficult. The author goes on to describe the human influence on and activity in this area dating back from at least the Stonge Age or early Bronze Age as indicated by standing stones, cairns and stone circles. Some of these are incorporated into the circular walks later on. From these ancient historical beginnings, we are taken on a brief history from Roman occupation through to the defeat of Henry II by Owain Gwynedd, the campaigns of Owain Glyndŵr in the early 1400s. We also learn about the drovers routes through this area, used to drive cattle from Wales into England to be sold.

The walks themselves are graded from easy and moderate to strenuous, ranging from 4 to 12 miles, allowing for plenty of choice and variety of landscape. There are more descriptions of historical interest included in each of the walks, such as the ancient shrine of Santes Melangell, the stone circle at Rhos y Beddau and Craig Rhiwarth hill fort. More navigationally challenging walks (particularly at times when bracken can be thigh deep) are interspersed with easier routes such as the two short walks around Lake Vyrnwy, and the 4 mile circular beginning at the enchanting waterfall, Pistyll Rhaeadr.

Each walk refers to the accompanying OS map, which is strongly recommended especially where the landscape here offers so few distinctive features. The author helpfully includes detailed information on where there is difficult terrain or unclear paths, which is good preparation for the walker. This is an excellent companion guide to walking in the Berwyn and its compact size makes it easily portable out on your days’ roaming these remote and peaceful hills.

Jane MacNamee