New House Wood 1
From the Doorstep of Elmsleigh
Turn left out of Elmsleigh and left again upon leaving Thirty Acres.
At the top of the road, enter the grounds of St. Mary's church by the first gate at the top of the short elevated footpath. Walk around the left hand side of the church grounds to a gate into the field behind the church.
Turn right and walk through the meadow; there is no defined path, but look for the stile at the top-right of the field.
Keep right initially through the next field, then as the field opens up, walk through the meadow to the stile at the top of the field, right of centre. Again, there is not much of a defined path through the meadow.
The White HouseWalk up a short steep slope to a sheep track and then walk towards the derelict 'White House', as it is known locally. There is a track through the ferns to the right-hand corner of the White House.
Turn left in front of the White House and follow the track around the hill. There are great views over the valley. Try to spot Elmsleigh B&B in the near distance beyond a copse of tall trees.
Follow the fence on the right, then look out for a stile, partially hidden by a tree. The stile is before the gate at the end of the field.
The Yellow Bulldozer
After this stile until joining the road at the top of the hill, there are ground-nesting Skylarks, which are an RSPCB red-listed rare species. They are a joy to listen to but often hard to spot, being a small brown bird, somewhat larger than a sparrow but smaller than a starling. Keep dogs close on their leads and stick to the paths.
Climb straight up, spot the path's marker post, then bear right and head towards the abandoned yellow bulldozer. Double back and rejoin the path up the hill, walking to the right of the small quarry.
Follow the track, generally keeping right on the way up towards the escarpment at the top right of the field, looking out for a stile.
Spectacular Views of Hay Bluff
Head straight up the hill to a sheep feeder on a minor crest and enjoy the impressive views of Hay Bluff and Twmpa (Lord Hereford's Knob).
Turn right and walk along the ridge a little way, there are some convenient rocks just below the ridge to sit and enjoy the view.
As the ridge starts curving to the right, turn left and head back towards the summit.
Listen out for and try to spot Skylarks - they tend to hover, then drop directly to ground. You can usually hear many Skylarks all over this moor.
Cusop Hill Summit
There is another sheep feeder and then a stile into the next field.
Turn immediately right to follow the fence; the actual summit is just to the right on the other side of the fence.
At the corner of the fence, continue straight ahead following a sheep track to a small pile of stones and then turn left, again folowing a sheep track, until you meet a raised dirt track. Turn left onto the track and head towards the stile/gate, which exits onto the road in front of a copse of trees.
Turn right and walk down the road for about 600m. You'll see New House Wood with the 'triangle field' in front to the right. There are fabulous views of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons.
Just before the woods is a farm entrance on the right with a gate and footpath sign.
Follow the farm track, which runs alongside the woods for a while, passing through a couple of gates, before arriving at the bottom of the triangle field. Either climb to the apex of this field, maybe walking under the canopy of trees for shade, or shortcut across the bottom of the field to a stile at the opposite corner.
Through New House Wood
Just after the stile, the track enters the wood. This is only a short stretch through the trees, quite magical, but the path is a little undefined just after entering the woods.
You may have to duck under a few branches, or climb over/around others that have fallen. The track generally heads towards the right, there should be a ribbon tied to a branch helping highlight the route.
The track under the trees opens out onto a well defined track. Turn right and walk a long way down this track, with the woods to either side, until it switches back and continues downhill, following Dulas Brook.
Ford Over the Brook
The track continues all the way down to a ford across Dulas Brook, but about 200m before the ford is a signpost pointing right to the track you need to take back into the woods.
It is worth taking dogs down to the ford for a drink, especially if it is hot, it's only a short distance out of your way. Walk around a gate onto a small road and the ford should be in view at the bottom of the hill.
Walk back up to the signpost and re-enter the depths of the wood.
Farmstead and Old Chapel
The track now climbs gradually through the woods, crossing a few stiles before arriving at a very handsomely renovated farmstead, an old chapel and a few other buildings. There is a nicely paved footpath between the buildings at this point. The views from here, across the valley, are very picturesque.
Leave the small group of buildings through a gate and follow the track to the left of the fence, until it opens out into a large steep field.
There is no obvious path through this field, but walk directly down the slope; the gate is at the very bottom exiting to the right onto a farm track, which can be very muddy after rain.
Shortly after exiting the field, the track crosses another small tributary stream.
Dulas Brook is the Welsh-English Border
Follow this track and Dulas Brook all the way to Brickyard Cottage, where you will join Cusop Dingle at its uppermost point. Along the way there are a couple of places where you can get right down to the water. If you wade or hop to the opposite bank, you will be in Wales.
Walk all the way down Cusop Dingle, alongside Dulas Brook, looking out for wildlife, including deer. In the mornings and evenings there is a chorus of birdsong in the air.
There are waterfalls on the left by the idyllic Paper Mill Cottage. Pass the Rose Cottage Acupunture Centre, then continue straight on down the Dingle.
Return to Elmsleigh
At Lower House (bridge over brook to the left) turn right up the steep narrow track, which brings you back to St. Mary's church.
Walk either through or past the church and back down the hill towards Thirty Acres.
Take the first turning right after Trewern Outdoor Centre to get back to Elmsleigh.
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