The Gruffalo Walk

Once a week I meet up with a couple of friends to walk for about 2 to 3 hours and enjoy the hills we are so lucky to live in. Today, I revisited the Hermitage walk which starts in the Vale of Grwney, just above Llanbedr and takes you alongside the beautiful Grwney Fechan which winds through the valley between the East side of Pen Allt-mawr and the West side of the Myndd Du Forest in the Black Mountains.
This circular walk is about 6-7 miles, depending on where you start, and includes some walking along a small lane which took me past the ruins of the Hermitage.
From the Hermitage we ascended into the stunning valley where the towering ridge of Pen Allt-mawr can be seen on one side and Waun Fach looms up ahead. It was the first bright day for some time and yet there was still a sprinkling of snow on the tops of the surrounding mountains. The crisp air, winter sunshine, deep blue sky and crystal clear views for miles filled me with the idea that spring is not too far away!
Walking down towards the small river the Tal-y-Maes Bridge comes into view. This simple but picturesque little stone bridge must be one of my absolute favourites and spans the gurgling Grwney Fechan. We crossed here and headed up into the hills on what is known as McNamara’s Road (apparently he built this path in order to cross Pen Allt-mawr and visit his mistress who he kept at Hermitage!). We walked up here for a while before turning and walking back along this other side of the valley. Our walk took us through Park Wood (which always puts me in mind of the Gruffalo Wood from the children’s story) and then out the other side and down the steep edge of Cwm Banw to a sharp bend in the lane, where there is a handy parking pull in.