Walking & Cycling

Offa's Dyke Path

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Offa's Dyke

Built in the 8th century by King Offa as a boundary between Wales and England the dyke is now a national walking trail within easy reach of Rhayader.


Following the border between England and Wales for 182 miles (293km), the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail passes through some of the most spectacular scenery either country has to offer. The trail largely follows the ancient Offa’s Dyke, an 8m high earth embankment built in the 8th century by King Offa as a boundary between Wales and England, and guarantees the most commanding views of the surrounding countryside.

Nantgwyllt to St Harmon Walk

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Nantgwyllt Church Elan Valley

This section of the trail from Nantgwyllt Church (Grid ref SN 909639), covers 11 miles, including mountain tracks over over high ground, before descending to cross the River Wye and following the Marteg valley to St Harmon Church.


Geolocation
Route Name: Gwastedyn Church Trail - Section 2
Length of Route: 11 miles
Walking Difficulty: Moderate
Start Location: Nantgwyllt Church

Nangwyllt Church, Elan Valley

A Victorian church built at the turn of the 19th century by Birmingham Corporation to replace the small Nantgwyllt Church which was swallowed up by the flooding of the Elan and Claerwen Valleys to supply water for Birmingham in the early 20th Century. Nearby was the “House under the Water” made famous by author Francis Brett-Young.  The poet Shelley lived at both Cwm Elan and Nantgwyllt houses, both of which were drowned. The Church has an exhibition of photographs showing the construction of the dams.

Eglwys Nantgwyllt, Cwm Elan

Eglwys Fictoraidd a adeiladwyd ar dro’r bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg gan Fwrdeistref Birmingham yw hon.  Fe’i hadeiladwyd i gymryd lle eglwys fach Nantgwyllt a ddiflannodd pan foddwyd Dyffrynnoedd Elan a Chlaerwen er mwyn anfon dŵr i Birmingham ar ddechrau’r ugeinfed ganrif.  Gerllaw roedd y ‘Tŷ dan y Dŵr’ a wnaed yn enwog gan yr awdur Francis Brett-Young.  Bu’r bardd Shelley yn byw am gyfnod byr yn nhai Cwm Elan a Nantgwyllt - dau dŷ a gafodd eu boddi. Yn yr eglwys mae arddangosfa o luniau sy’n dangos y cronfeydd yn cael eu hadeiladu.

Distance from town centre: 4

Nantmel to Ysfa Walk

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Nantmel Church

A fairly level 4 mile walk beginning from St Cynllo's Church at Nantmel (Grid ref: SN 034 664), past Llyn Gwyn Lake to St Mark's Church at Ysfa.


Geolocation
Route Name: Gwastedyn Church Trail - Section 4
Length of Route: 4
Walking Difficulty: Easy
Start Location: Nantmel Church

St Cynllo’s Church, Nantmel

A Georgian Church rebuilt in 1792 on an ancient site in a circular enclosure and restored in 1881. The lower part of the tower is though to be 13th C. The lytchgate is 18th C. Sundial dated 1773. It was the main church of the area for some enturies and has six bells.  The list of incumbents starts in 1349. The font having been thought to be from the Cistercian Monastery, Abbey Cwm Hir, which lies to the north of the Church has been identified as being made out of a Jacobean chimney pot.  The dedication of the Church is to St Cynllo circa 5th C.  It is said of this saint that wherever his knelt or his horse trod the marks remained permanently in the ground.  The hills behind the church contain many ancient monuments, standing stones and the site of a prehistoric village. The walk down from Camlo Hill to the Church provides some of the most stunning long distance views of the Trail.

Eglwys Sant Cynllo, Nantmel

Eglwys Sioraidd a ailadeiladwyd ym 1792 ar safle hynafol mewn tir caeedig ar ffurf cylch ac a adferwyd ym 1881.  Credir bod rhan isaf y tŵr yn perthyn i’r drydedd ganrif ar ddeg.  Mae porth y fynwent yn perthyn i’r ddeunawfed ganrif ac mae’r dyddiad 1773 ar y deial haul.  Hon oedd prif eglwys yr ardal am rai canrifoedd ac mae ganddi chwech o glychau.  Mae’r rhestr o ddeiliaid swyddi yn yr eglwys yn dechrau ym 1349. Nodwyd y bedyddfaen fel un a wnaed o gorn simnai Jacobeaidd.  Cyflwynwyd yr Eglwys i Sant Cynllo tua’r 5ed ganrif.  Dywedir am y sant hwn pryd bynnag y byddai’n penlinio neu lle bynnag yr oedd ei geffyl yn cerdded fod y marciau yn aros yn barhaol yn y ddaear.  Mae’r mynyddoedd y tu ôl i’r eglwys yn cynnwys llawer o henebion, meini hirion a safle pentref cyn-hanesyddol.  Wrth gerdded i lawr o Fryn Camlo at yr Eglwys gellir gweld rhai o’r golygfeydd pell gorau o’r Llwybr.

Distance from town centre: 5

Llanwrthwl to Cwmdeuddwr Walk

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Llanwrthwl Church

A relatively easy 3 mile walk beginning from St Gwrthwl's Church in Llanwrthwl (Grid ref: SN 970 638), mostly along tarmac lanes, crossing the River Elan where it meets the River Wye, and finishing at St Bride's Church at Cwmdeuddwr, just south west of Rhayader.


Geolocation
Route Name: Gwastedyn Church Trail - Section 6
Length of Route: 3
Walking Difficulty: Easy
Start Location: Llanwrthwl Church

St Gwrthwl’s Church, Llanwrthwl

A late Victorian building on a 4,000 year old site with large sacrificial stone.  The font is 13th century, possibly from Abbey Cwmhir.  The valley leads up to the original abandoned village.  The area abounds in bronze age cairns, standing stones and circles. Legends surround Carn Gafallt, named for King Arthur’s hound,  Saith Maen, seven maidens turned to stone by St Gwrthwl for dancing on Sunday and Drygarn Fawr and Gamriw with their massive cairns. Little is known of St Gwrthwl, “The Confessor” who could have founded his church in the 5th or 6th Centuries with connections with Vortigern or St David and St Afan. His saint’s day is the 2nd March. Of note is Penuel URC Chapel to the South dating from 1832

Eglwys Sant Gwrthwl, Llanwrthwl

Adeilad o’r cyfnod Fictoraidd diweddar ar safle 4,000 mlwydd oed gyda charreg aberthol fawr.  Mae’r bedyddfaen yn perthyn i’r drydedd ganrif ar ddeg, o bosibl o Abaty Cwmhir.  Mae’r dyffryn yn arwain i fyny at y pentref gwreiddiol sydd bellach yn anghyfannedd.  Mae llu o garneddau, meini hirion a chylchoedd o’r oes efydd yn yr ardal. Mae chwedlau yma sy’n gysylltiedig â Charn Gafallt, a enwyd ar ôl ci’r Brenin Arthur; Saith Maen, saith o forynion a gafodd eu troi’n garreg gan Sant Gwrthwl am ddawnsio ar Ddydd Sul a Drygarn Fawr a Gamriw gyda’u carneddau enfawr. Ychydig sy’n wybyddus am Sant Gwrthwl, ‘Y Cyffeswr’ a allai fod wedi sylfaenu ei eglwys yn y 5ed neu’r 6ed ganrif ac a oedd â chysylltiadau gyda Gwrtheyrn neu Ddewi Sant a Sant Afan.  Dydd y nawddsant hwn yw 2 Mawrth. Mae Eglwys Ddiwygiedig Unedig Penuel a leolir i’r De ac sy’n dyddio o 1832 yn werth ei nodi.

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St Brides Church, Cwmdeuddwr

Dedicated to St Bride which reflects the presence of a sacred well just outside the churchyard, which is a prehistoric circular site . It was here that Lord Rhys, the Welsh prince called together a gathering in the 13th century to present the vast area of the Elynedd to the monks of Strata Florida. The common of Cwmdauddwr Grange provided food for Rayader Castle.  These ancient areas still exist in designated commons and sheepwalks. The present Church is Victorian but has some interesting plaques from Nantgwillt Church which was submerged when the Elan Valley dams were built in the late 19th Century. One of these commemorates the fact that Emmeline Lewis-Lloyd, who was a pioneering Alpininist, was the 8th woman to climb Mont Blanc. The Church has a very fine ironwork rood screen.

Eglwys Santes Bride, Cwmdeuddwr

Mae’r eglwys hon, a gyflwynwyd i’r Santes Bride, yn nodi presenoldeb ffynnon gysegredig yn union y tu allan i’r fynwent, lle sy’n safle cylchol cyn-hanesyddol. Yma y galwodd yr Arglwydd Rhys, y tywysog Cymreig, gasgliad o bobl ynghyd yn y drydedd ganrif ar ddeg i gyflwyno ardal enfawr Elynedd i fynachod Ystrad Fflur. Roedd tir comin Plasty Cwmdeuddwr yn darparu bwyd ar gyfer Castell Rhaeadr.  Mae’r ardaloedd hynafol hyn yn dal i fodoli o fewn tiroedd comin a ffriddoedd dynodedig.  Mae’r Eglwys bresennol yn perthyn i oes Fictoria ond y mae yma blaciau diddorol o Eglwys Nantgwyllt a gafodd ei boddi pan adeiladwyd cronfeydd dŵr Cwm Elan yn niwedd y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg.  Mae un o’r rhain yn coffau’r ffaith mai Emmeline Lewis-Lloyd, a oedd yn un o’r gwragedd cyntaf i ymddiddori yn yr Alpau, oedd yr wythfed ddynes i ddringo Mont Blanc.  Mae gan yr Eglwys groglen wych iawn o waith haearn.

Distance from town centre: 4

36 mile Gwastedyn Church Trail

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Gwastedyn Church Trail

This circular 36 mile trail over an established pilgrimage route begins and ends in Rhayader and Cwmdeuddwr.  Linking seven historic churches, the route uses mountain paths, lanes and old railway lines to guide you into the heart of our magnificent mountain, river and lake country.  To follow the Trail takes you into a world of history and literature derived from the world of the Celtic Saints, the Romans and Romano British, the Normans, the Welsh princes, the medieval monks through to the romantic poets and the Victorians.

Mae’r llwybr hwn, sy’n dilyn llwybr pererindod sefydledig, yn 36 milltir o hyd ac yn dechrau a diweddu yn Rhaeadr a Chwmdeuddwr.  Mae’r llwybr sy’n cysylltu saith o eglwysi hanesyddol, yn eich tywys drwy ardal odidog mynyddoedd yr Elenydd gyda’i hafonydd a’i llynnoedd, dros lwybrau mynyddig ac ar hyd ffyrdd a hen reilffyrdd gwledig. Mae dilyn y Llwybr yn eich cyflwyno i fyd hanes a llenyddiaeth o gyfnod y Seintiau Celtaidd, y Rhufeiniaid, y Brythoniaid Rhufeinig, y Normaniaid, y Tywysogion Cymreig, mynachod y canol oesoedd, hyd at y beirdd rhamantaidd ac oes Fictoria.


Route Name: Gwastedyn Church Trail
Length of Route: 36 miles
Walking Difficulty: Strenuous
Start Location: St Clement's Church

This trail is divided into more manageable six sections - see our Walking and Cycling page.

The Gwastedyn Trail is funded by the Community Welcome Scheme, which is managed by Powys County Council Tourism Section and is one of sixteen Rural Development Plan projects, which aims to assist local communities with small scale community based tourism projects.
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