Knowing several of our regular walkers would be missing this morning, I was delighted to have only opened my front door to be greeted by our newest prospective member Anne. She was on her way up to meet the group at Wick Village Hall. By 10 am we had arranged car shares and 10 of us headed off to a parking lay bye on the outskirts of Cowbridge. Once all parked up, the sun was breaking through and the temperature perfect for a leisurely walk. However, I was conscious we were a little behind schedule to meet those parking in Aberthin, so bidding adieu to the group, set off on a power walk to say we were on our way. I waited on the lovely stone roundabout which doubles as a circular seat, with the loveliest tree as its centrepiece. I then spotted Mary and Anne happily chatting away on a bench outside The Hare and Hounds. Before too long the main group of walkers appeared, and 12 Wick Wanderers wandered off down Llanquian Road which follows Nant Aberthin.
To our right the ground rose up to Stalling Down, but we were busy admiring the picturesque houses to the left. The first had the most beautiful Magnolia tree bursting into flower, above a vivid pink Camelia. Many of the houses had their own little bridges linking the properties to the road. The Great House had its own gatehouse with a vivid red door below a sundial. We could also see its walled garden leading to the majestic building with stone mullioned windows and matching red door. Graham seemed to prefer living in Brewery Cottage. Helen was able to translate a fairly lengthy notice outside a house saying in a lovely way ” No Parking”. At one point I was quite excited to find a footpath that Graham hadn’t ever been down…..so of course we had to explore. But not far down we abandoned that as it had a man up a very tall ladder, and as it’s unlucky to walk under a ladder turned back.
The stream reached a long lake with a semi-circular island, where we spotted Canada Geese and Mallard Ducks. The hills behind rose up steeply, and we were almost at the gate leading into Pant Wilkin Stables, the home of Tim Vaughan Racing, also our destination of Fredwell Cafe and Patisserie. We ordered various refreshments and settled down in the outside seating area to admire the lovely countryside, recharge our batteries and non-stop chatter. Well, everyone but me as I frantically packed and unpacked my rucksack looking for my car key which unfortunately had not taken part in the walk! I think just looking at the ladder had brought me bad luck. Mags wondered why I had a tape measure wound around my whistle…..obviously to measure the route!!!! Who needs Map My Walk?
After a lovely stop we set off back towards Cowbridge. We split into three groups, as some had limited time with responsibilities awaiting. Others could take their time at a slower pace. However, all offered to keep their eyes peeled playing Hunt the Car Key. By some miracle, the key was sitting patiently waiting on the lovely stone circular seat.
Many, many thanks to my fellow walkers who joined me on this lovely morning and put up with a panicky Moira.
Best of all Anne has decided to join the group.