The first proper upland section of the Path takes you over the Black Mountains and into the majestic splendour of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Distance: 25.89 km
Ascent: 714 m
Time: 6 hours 30 mins
Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Pandy to Y Gelli Gandryll / Hay-on-Wye
Facilities are scarce and public transport a rarity until the end of the section at Hay on Wye, where you’ll find shops, cafes and hotels aplenty, as well as regular bus services to Hereford railway station just 30 minutes away. Food, drink, accommodation and camping can be found at the half way point at Llanthony, to which you have to divert, including the Llanthony Priory Hotel, the Half Moon Inn, and Llanthony Court Camping.
Keep an eye out for:
Traveline for UK Public Transport can be used to determine exact bus and train times.
Offa’s Dyke from Pandy to Y Gelli Gandryll / Hay-on-Wye Details
The third section of Offa’s Dyke from Pandy to Y Gelli Gandryll / Hay-on-Wye
Offa’s Dyke from Pandy to Y Gelli Gandryll / Hay-on-Wye Route Map and GPX file
Into the Black Mountains
Climbing steadily out of Pandy, armed with food and drink for an isolated trek, you’ll soon be amid the splendour of the Black Mountains. The Trail snakes through an extensive area designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, closely following the border on a well-defined ridge walk that at its highest point rises to 700m, at Hatterall Ridge. The going then gets easier as you traverse these uplands, offering stunning if windswept scenery over huge expanses of both sides of the border, for some 20km and over the 677m summit of Hay Bluff before the descent into the town of Hay on Wye.
Stopping off at Llanthony
Many opt to break the journey at the half way point by descending off the ridge down to the village of Llanthony to the west, which derives its name from the original Llanddewi Nant Honddu. The impressive ruins of Llanthony Priory are well worth inspecting, especially as admission is free. Another building worthy of a few minutes of your time is St Martin’s church in the nearby hamlet of Cwmyoy or Cwm-Iau. Known as the crookedest church in Wales, its tower leans at an angle they’d be proud of in Pisa, and the whole building defies gravity after suffering severe subsidence many centuries ago.
You can rest your weary feet at the Llanthony Priory Hotel or the Half Moon Inn, both offering accommodation, while campers could head for Llanthony Court.
Hay on Wye
The end of the section sees you traipsing gratefully into the delightfully laid-back town of Hay on Wye, known as Y Gelli Gandryll in Welsh. Literally straddling the border, it hosts the annual Hay Festival of Literature and Arts every May-June, that has attracted such star attractions as Stephen Fry, Germaine Greer and former US president Bill Clinton, who described the event as “the Woodstock of the mind”.
Hay is known as Wales’ Town of Books, boasting book shops on every corner holding stocks of millions of largely pre-owned books. The town centre is dominated by a somewhat quirky Norman castle, beneath which you’ll find – what else? – an open-air book store. Accommodation options in town are plentiful, as are bars and restaurants.