The Skerrid or Holy Mountain
We have met up with cousins Ruth and Jon for another adventure in the wonderful Black Mountains. Our walk starts in the village of Stanton at the car park near the pub. We follow a tarmaced track uphill for a while and then turn left along a path which follows the contours of the hill which is crowned by the Twyn y Gaer iron age hill fort.
After a short while there is a wonderful group of interconnected beech trees.
We emerge into a more open hillside and are pleased to see our old friend the Sugar Loaf, which we walked with Ruth and Jon in August 2012.
We reach New Inn Farm and head in a northerly direction. Soon there are fine view towards Partrishow Hill to the west.
We pass an isolated, but very well restored, cottage, now a holiday let, agreeing that it wouldn't be much fun in the winter and follow a descending path which brings us to the bottom of a river valley. Here there is a Baptist chapel, or Tabernacle, of 1837. The plaque on the gable gives the initials of the builders.
We cross the road and walk uphill, passing a young German couple who say they have just arrived and are walking to Crickhowell. They have massive backpacks, but I don't think they have too far to go.
We continue uphill across fields and through a farm to reach Partrishow church - strangely also called Patricio. One is a phonetic version of the other. It is the church of of St Islow (or Issui) and is of Norman origin.
The absolutely stunning thing about the church, which is the reason Ruth and Jon have brought us here, is the Rood Screen and Rood Loft of about 1500. They somehow survived the Reformation - and it is interesting to realise that that this particular Rood Screen was only about 40 years old, rather than some ancient institution, when they were being torn down all over the country.
The wood carving is spectacular. Here is a more detailed view.
On the end wall of the small nave was this fine Doom.
Now we retrace our steps down to the river at the bottom of the valley. There is a fine view across the valley which includes the holiday cottage mentioned above.
After passing the Tabernacle again we climb steadily until we are near the ridge on the other side of the valley. There are some stupendous Rowan trees full of berries.
We emerge onto a bracken covered hillside. The route is not too clear but we find our way up to the main path. There are great views behind us to the north-west.
We follow this track all the way back to the car park, with the Twyn y Gaer iron age hill fort this time on our right for a while. We spot this impressive fungus (?) on a wayside tree.
Conditions: bright and sunny, eventually clouding over.
Distance: 7 miles.
Map: AA Walker's Map: Brecon and the Black Mountains.
Rating: four and a half stars. We have no walking like this in our part of the country and it is a real treat.