Wednesday, 22 April 2009
We were in Llangybi (or sometimes Llangybbi - Llangibby in English) on family business and decided to then do a walk. This is the Llangybi in the Usk Valley in Monmouthshire or Sir Fynwy in Welsh. I found this walk on the excellent parish website.
We first had a look around St Cybi's church. The highlight was the 15th century wall paintings, which were uncovered in the 1970s. The one shown below is a Christ of the Trades and shows Christ surrounded by the tools of many trades. Its message is the need to keep the Sabbath holy. There is a restored holy well in the southeast of the churchyard.
The walk begins by leaving the village along the road towards Usk, but you soon turn off to the left (west) and begin a long ascent past Llangybi Castle Farm and skirt round the ruins of the medieval Llangybi Castle (sadly hidden in the trees). John Newman in the Gwent/Monmouth volume in the Buildings of Wales series describes the early 14th century castle as "enormous" and "ambitious" and refers to archaeological studies which suggest that it was abandoned unfinished.
You emerge into open country and rolling hills in Llangybi Park ...
... and after passing through a bit of woodland and a large field arrive at the medieval barn at Porthllong.
Turning right here, you are quickly on a ridge at 525ft, with splendid views towards the Black Mountains.
At the end of a series of fields, you go through a small patch of woodland to emerge on one side of the Dowlais valley.
You descend the hillside to the valley bottom. Below is the view along the valley to the south west.
Through an isolated settlement of a couple of farmhouses, you turn right and follow the bottom of the valley through a dozen or so fields, filled with sheep and their lambs, to reach Little Cwm Dowlais farm. Here the route again turns right up a steep hill through grass and then woodland to reach Little Hill Farm. We saw "Hill" Farm next on the route and thought that if that was Little Hill, how big must Hill be. Fortunately the worst was already over and we passed Hill Farm and Tresteven Farm to return to the main road and Llangybi.
The most striking was a field full of Cuckooflower (or Lady's Smock) - delicate, multi-headed, pale pink flowers.