Talgarth Pwll-y-Wrach (Witch's Pool)
A Short Drive from Elmsleigh
It's an 8 mile drive from Elmsleigh, back through Hay-on-Wye. Head west towards Brecon on the B4350.
At Glasbury, carry straight on, the road becomes the A438. Upon exiting Aberllynfi (Three Cocks), opposite Black Mountain Activities on the right, is the left turn towards Talgarth on the A4078.
When, after about 2 miles, the road ends at the T-junction in Talgarth, turn left and head towards Abergavenny on the A479. Take the first left at the roundabout, the main Talgarth car park is on the left.
The Old Hospital
Starting from the town map at the entrance to the car park, walk towards the centre of Talgarth. At the first right turn, heading up Heol Las. This is signposted Pwll-y-Wrach, follow these all the way to the nature reserve.
At the end of the road, turn right for a few metres up Regent Street (The Tabernacle Baptist church is to the left), cross the road and take a footpath to the left, just before the dead end sign. This takes you to the bridge over the river Ennig.
Turn right over the bridge and follow this road, uphill to the left. Mynydd Troed will be in front of you to the right as you climb. After about 0.5 mile, you'll reach the disused Mid Wales Hospital, the main entrance has a big red post box at the gate,"The Lodge" is on the corner.
Shortly after the hospital, the road narrows to a single track. About 300m further on, is the entrance gate into the nature reserve on the right.
Take the lower track to the right, which follows the river more closely; the upper track is the Easy Access Trail.
In spring there are fields of wild garlic and bluebells throughout the nature reserve. It's also fine to let well-behaved dogs off the lead in the nature reserve, to have a good explore.
The track branches to the right, to a little wier. It's a beautiful spot. Keep walking upstream, close to the river.
Another iver meets the Ennig where there are lots of pebbles to use as stepping stones. Cross the river (weaterproof shoes!) to see a little waterfall on the other river, then cross back over the Ennig to climb back up and rejoin the main path.
Now it starts getting muddy. Stay close to the river to see lots of little waterfalls and wiers. You'll rejoin the Easy Access Trail (still muddy!) and then shortly after, you will get to Pwll-y-Wrach.
The river plunges in two separate waterfalls over a lip of rock. The name comes from the ancient practice of ducking witches in the plunge pool.
Tourist Information Telephone Box
Carry on up river to exit the nature reserve and rejoin Hospital Road; turn right and a little way up the road is the red "World Famous Tourist Information Telephone Box", which is worth a look.
Keep a look out for gliders if the weather conditions are favourable, the airfield is just behind the telephone box.
Opposite is a signposted not-very-dogfriendly stile beside two benches, that leads to a path that quickly becomes a farm track, uphill to the left.
As you climb through this sheep field, Rhos Dirion and Y Das mountains will be in front of you. Head to the gap in the trees at the top of the field.
Great Views of The Black Mountains
The views are impressive, you can see Rhos Dirion (East), Dragons Back and Mynydd Troed (West). On a clear day, you'll also se Pen-y-Fan in the distance, and the glider airfield, should be visible to the right.
Head up the field to the right of the gate, where there is a stile in the trees, which is quite well hidden.
Head across the next small couple of fields, looking for the stiles in the top left corners. This will bring you into a large meadow, head directly for the mountains, and pass through the gap in the hedge at the top.
Walk more or less straight now, through gaps in hedges, gates, over stiles and even over a tiny footbridge with a handrail over a boggy patch. At a gap in the trees there is a signpost with two footpath arrows, branch left.
Road Across the Moor
Exit the field over a stile signposted back to "Cwm Pwll-y-Wrach", and turn left onto the road by a couple of houses.
Follow this road, with the mountains on your right, for about a kilometre, until you get to a crossroads, then turn left. This road takes you all the way back to Talgarth, passing the other side of the derelict old hospital.
At the crossroads, you'll be able to see Hay Bluff and Twmpa to the East around the side of Rhos Dirion, and also the airfield to the West.
Also listen out for Skylarks, you may even see one, they are small & brown with white rear edge of the wing.
The moor ends at a cattle grid & gate, and then heads downhill for about a kilometre until you get to a T-junction, where you turn left, continuing generally downhill towards Talgarth.
After passing the hospital, descend to a bridge over a brook, there is a little path to the left, if you want to take a look at the small waterfall, that you can hear from the road. There is a garden with anohter red telephone box, a railway signal and other memorabilia.
St. Gwendoline's Church
The road becomes Church St. At the kissing gate, enter the church grounds for a look around, a\nd exit at the bottom kissing gate. Turn left, the head right down "The Bank".
This takes you into the centre of Talgarth, to the Mill with the clock tower. On the corner is a town map; there are several pubs and cafes to refresh yourselves; The Mill itself is excellent.
Turn left at the bottom of "The Bank", cross the bridge over the river Ennig and head back towards the car park.
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