Enjoy spectacular views towards the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons, keep your eyes peeled for lots of wonderful wildlife, and discover hidden heritage along the way.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Walk away from the village and over the River Trothy. Turn left after the bridge up into Mill Wood (not down private drive to Mill Farm) following the bridleway sign through the wood. Go through the gate into the field and walk diagonally uphill across the field, and slightly to your right. Pass through another gate and continue straight across the field heading for some farm buildings (one has a red roof) in the distance.
You might spot a dipper, or if you are really lucky an otter or mink, which have been seen along the river.
(1) Go through the gate onto the drive to Treowen House and turn left, walking past a pond and horse chestnut tree on your right. Keep on this track past the magnificent 17th century mansion of Treowen. Keep on this track passing some farm buildings on the left.
The view here includes four mountains; from left to right the Blorenge, the Sugar Loaf, Skirrid and Hay Bluff. Look out for mistletoe, topiary balls and a tree that’s probably as old as the house. Built in 1627, Treowen, which is four storeys high, may be the tallest house in Monmouthshire. It has wood panelled rooms and a magnificent oak staircase and enough space for 30 guests!
(2) Straight after the buildings, take the track on the left, through Treowen Wood to a wooden field gate, framing a fantastic view, stretching from the Blorenge to Hay Bluff. Pass through the gate and head across the field to another gate.
(3) Walk downhill to the river. Keeping the river to your left continue until you reach the footbridge, turn with your back to the footbridge and head across the same field to the gate opposite. Pass through the gate, over the concrete culvert and follow the old track up and around the bank and down to the field gate. Go through the gate and carry straight on keeping the hedge to your left. Look out for a pond in the field on your left where you may spot a heron. Carry on alongside the hedge, through rolling pastureland where cattle often graze, passing through several more gates until reaching the road at Lower Hendre.
(4) At the road go right. At the brow of the hill leave the road as it bears to the right around Lower Hendre Farm, and take the track on the left marked Offa’s Dyke. Continue straight on along the track, passing the Forestry Commission barrier, for approximately 1 mile until you reach an open junction of paths.
Offa's Dyke was a ditch and rampart earthwork, built by King Offa over 1200 years ago. It formed a boundary between Offa’s kingdom of Mercia (in England) and Wales, stretching from Prestatyn in north Wales to Sedbury near Chepstow in the south.
Much of King’s Wood is ancient woodland. The native deciduous trees you can see here - oak, ash, willow, and hazel - don’t die when you cut them down. The stump of the tree sends up new shoots which become many smaller trunks; these can be cut back time and time again. This is called coppicing. This process provided a valuable supply of wood for building, fencing, heating and for use in the local iron industry in the past. Today charcoal is one of the main products of coppiced wood. Dormice especially like to live in this ancient woodland. You may also see fallow deer.
On the far side of King’s Wood is The Hendre estate, once the family home of Charles Rolls, co-founder of Rolls Royce. This mansion has witnessed many different forms of arrival, by horse and carriage, bicycle, hot air balloon and, of course, Rolls Royce. Local tradition has it that King’s Wood is named after Royal visitors entertained here, but it is more likely to be a much earlier king who is referred to!
The Rolls family also owned Amberley Court on the other side of King’s Wood. This was Lord Llangattock’s shire horse stud farm where magnificent shire stallions, such as Prince Harold, (right) were kept. Harold was purchased for £2650 in 1895 (more than £160,000 today, ) ‘to further the breeding of the best and heaviest type of draft horse, especially in Monmouthshire’.
(5) At the junction, turn right taking the main forest road and continue straight uphill until the next right turn.
(6) Turn right following the forest track through Whitehill Wood until reaching a gate leading out of the wood. Continue downhill through the farmyard, passing Whitehill Farm on the right.
You may be able to spot the wooden tower of St. Wonnow’s church below you to your left. Horses were stabled in the church during the Civil War when Parliamentarian troops were garrisoned next door at Wonastow Court, the home of Parliamentarian supporter John Millborne. On a clear day you might also see the flag flying on Raglan Castle, away to your right. For two long months in the summer of 1646 the castle was besieged by Parliamentarians. Despite their attempts to demolish it during the Civil War, much of it still stands today, and it remains ‘beyond question, the most picturesque and beautiful ruin in the kingdom.’
(7) Turn right onto the lane. Follow this country lane downhill and look out for the tiny Primitive Methodist Chapel of Gwern-y-Saint, built in 1850. It’s tucked away behind a yew tree on the right, just before the first house on the right. Continue along this lane until you reach a left turn down a farm track.
(8) Take this track on the left and continue past two cottages until you reach farm buildings on the right at Treowen.
(2) Keep straight on, following the track past Treowen mansion until a bridleway sign on the right, opposite a small pond. Take this path which crosses two fields before entering Mill Wood through a gateway. Follow the path downhill through the wood and turn right at the road which leads into Dingestow Village.(D/A)
From this vantage point above the village you may be able to see a large mound in the fields on the other side of the road, just to the right of Dingestow Church. This is all that remains of Dingestow Castle, built by the English, but demolished by the Welsh on several occasions!
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 115ft - Dingestow
1 : mi 0.53 - alt. 236ft - Gate
2 : mi 0.83 - alt. 259ft - Buildings
3 : mi 1.35 - alt. 121ft - River
4 : mi 1.96 - alt. 220ft - Road
5 : mi 2.82 - alt. 456ft - Junction
6 : mi 3.14 - alt. 584ft - Forest track
7 : mi 3.79 - alt. 272ft - Lane
8 : mi 4.22 - alt. 236ft - Junction
D/A : mi 5.47 - alt. 112ft - Dingestow
There is limited car parking in Dingestow, (Grid ref 457104). Layby parking is available for vehicles and trailers on the minor road south of Jingle Street (Grid Ref SO475105), just off the old Monmouth to Raglan road near the Somerset Arms pub. Parking can be prearranged for cars, trailers and horse boxes at Whitehill Farm for a small charge. Grid Ref 474113 (www.whitehillfarmuk.com). Please ensure trailers and boxes are securely and considerately parked.
For details of accommodation see : www.visitwyevalley.com
For details of cycle hire and repair, horse stabling, grazing, farriers, vets and much more see : www.treadandtrottrails.co.uk
For help in planning your visit call : Monmouth Visitor Information at the Shire Hall on 01600 775257.
For details of public transport visit : www.traveline-cymru.info
Please ride with care on road sections, wear high visibility aids, and acknowledge consideration shown by drivers of motor vehicles.
Keep to the line of bridleways as shown when crossing farmland and remember hooves can damage surfaces especially during winter months.
There is limited water available along the route for horses.
Landmarks and conditions change over time; use an OS map, compass or GPS. Mobile phone coverage may not be reliable along all sections of this trail.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.