On a fine autumnal day, nine members set off from the Nant yr Arian visitors centre to explore the Rheidol Valley – a different approach from the walk which started from Devil’s Bridge. Straight up a hill and past a wind farm, we soon dropped down to some of the old mine ruins of Cwm Brwyno, a once productive mine with an output of 6k tons of lead ore at its peak. Once we climbed above these ruins on the hillside above, there were traces of old wheel pits far below as well as far reaching views towards Goginan. Our coffee stop was enlivened by a persistent black horse who stretched across the fence hoping to appropriate Susan’s oatcakes, and then it was on through a pretty stretch of woodland where a fungi foray revealed a fine example of Calvatia Cyathiformis (the purple spored puffball).
Continuing on past streams we climbed up to a lovely lunch spot next to a wonderful Sycamore (or was it a field maple? The debate continues).
From here there were views towards the Rheidol gorge and back towards Banc Hafodau.
To finish we headed along the rim of the Rheidol Gorge with twisted sessile oak woods nestled below us and some fine vistas unfolding below of a patchwork quilt of field boundaries and the Vale of Rheidol railway cut high into the gorge cliffs. On reaching Bwa Drain hill fort (300m), reputedly inhabited between 800BC-74AD, we took in more fine views of the meandering Rheidol and, at the top right hand corner of the photo above, the waters of Cardigan Bay.
Heading down past the Statkcraft hydropower plant (taking water from Nant-y-Moch reservoir via a series of aqueducts and pipelines), we retraced our steps to Nant yr Arian as a cooler breeze took hold.