St Brides Major, Coed Y Wallas, Coed y Bwl, 31st July

Leads: Mags and Moira

Saturday morning arrived to our great relief without torrential rain, or sun scorching weather conditions, so our planned walk around St Brides looked promising.

Eight Wick Wanderers met outside the Village Hall, and we set off fairly promptly towards the picturesque Pitcot Pool, spotting the heron hiding in the reed bed. 

We then crossed the road to join Farmers Arms Lane which led us out of the village, before turning right towards Castle Upon Alun.

Apart from the beautiful stone houses, colourful gardens and ruins of farm buildings the main feature proved to be the bespoke sign post. Very handy to visitors and van delivery men giving the direction and meterage to each dwelling – apart from the two which wished to remain anonymous! 

We then headed downhill towards the River Alun, crossing it via the clapper bridge, before heading uphill again through trees, over stiles across a small field and the railway line. The rear end of the line of walkers politely telling the leaders to hurry up over the stiles before the train came. Fortunately, all 8 survived to wave cheerily to the Bridgend to Barry Express as it sped past.

A further ascent through Coed Y Wallas led us to the open fields that Mags and I got to explore in detail on our “reccie”. We now knew the way and headed to the road via Wallas Farm, although the stile count went up via Graham’s short cut.

We then headed along the lanes admiring the donkeys, and even cuter Shetland ponies before we descended to the dried-up ford via Heol y Stepsau. The stepping stones were the perfect refreshment stop, providing each of us with a seat and perfect place for the customary group photo. Thanks Liz for the suggestion and Mags for the flapjacks.

Suitably refreshed and after a quick vote, the steep climb up to Old Castle Down lost out to the gentler ascent via Coed y Bwl. A good choice as we could enjoy an almost Gulliver’s Kingdom experience walking alongside the towering sweetcorn plants, and admiring the various wild plants and flowers (Graham is still working on identification of the latter). The sweet corn had blocked our foot path, and after earlier joking about hurdling the stiles, we came across the final hurdle – a locked gate! However the fearless walkers, gingerly in my case, climbed over a handy wooden fence.  

We returned to St Brides via Blackhall and Pen y lan. Those who wished to headed off to The Farmers Arms Beer Garden for further refreshment.

Thank you all for coming. The appreciation of the beautiful countryside and exercise made even better by the laughter, companionship and knowledge of the members of Wick Wanderers.