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Our Favourite Winter Walks...

"Do you have any walking recommendations?"

This is the question we get asked the most, which is wonderful as we hope to attract guests who enjoy the outdoors and exploring the local countryside as much as we do. There are many excellent walks and often my mind changes as to which ones are my favourite depending on the seasons/weather etc.


I'm from the Peak District which is famed for it's rolling hills and craggy ridges and although very beautiful I can find it a bit overpopulated at times. Here in the Radnor Valley what we find so special is that you can walk all day and not see another soul, its very peaceful. The local area is also steeped in history, known as the Welsh Marches the area encompasses a wide range of landscapes: amazing river valleys, rugged but mineral-rich hills and ridges, and flat fertile plains. This diversity, and the relatively unspoilt nature of the countryside, have made it perennially popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Artists and writers have also long been drawn to the area for its rich history and enchanting scenery.


I have listed below some of our favourite Winter Walks, all of these are local and are either walkable from the cabins or a 5/10 min drive, (I must also say that these walks are great for any season).

We reccomend downloading the O.S Maps app so you can see the footpaths and routes clearly, or feel free to ask us for directions and more information.

The track up to Hanter Hill/Worsel Woods and Hergest Ridge with the black and white house on the left.

Hanter Hill

Hanter Hill is the hill you can see directly opposite Hergest Lee, reaching 414.2 metres high.

At the top you can enjoy far reaching views across the valley and even over to the Brecon Beacons on a clear day. There is a path to follow that takes you around the hill or you can also also scale up the side of the hill which is possible in Winter but can be tricky when the bracken grows back in Spring & Summer. It takes about 1.5 hrs round trip. Hanter Hill along with Stanner Rocks and Worsell Wood have long been considered to be the oldest rocks in Wales having been dated to 700 milion years old.


Follow the quiet track named 'Hunter Lane' opposite us (across the main road) and when you get to the litte black and white house take a right and you will see the path from there. It's a beautiful walk with tree tunnells and rolling fields, past Worsell Woods on your left.

Hanter Hill from the cabin

Hanter Hill and our beautiful valley.

Hergest Ridge

Hergest Ridge straddles the English and Welsh border and is a favoured section of the Offa’s Dyke walk as well as a standalone highlight in any exploration of Herefordshire. You can start the walk from the cabin, take the track opposite when you get to the main road and when you reach a small black and white house take a right and head up to the saddle aongside Hanter Hill, or you can start from the main carpark in Kington, climb a modest 400m up from the quaint town to enjoy spectacular 360 degrees views. You can’t go wrong with visible natural landmarks all around (including and unexpectedly a delightful clump of monkey puzzle trees towards the top of the ridge).

Heading to the top the views emerge all around the beautiful moorland, you may chance on wild ponies grazing. Look out for the Victorian racecourse that sits atop Hergest and imagine the horses galloping around the track.


You should also see the Whetstone near the summit, a natural stone, which in medieval times was used as a place to distribute food to people suffering from leprosy. Legend has it that the stone rolled down to Hindwell Brook each time it heard a cock crow.


From the ridge you can look across to the Black Mountains and even as far as the Malvern Hills, with uninterrupted English and Welsh countryside landscapes all around.


One of our favourite walks is (from us) along the ridge and drop down to Hergest Croft Gardens where you can be rewarded with home made cakes and a bacon roll. You can take the bus back from Kington if you dont fancy walking back. Get off at the 'Stanner' bus stop and walk back along the track to us.


Another favourite is along the ridge and the other way towards Gladestry and have a pint in the Royal Oak before heading back. An elderly local gentleman once told me that from the trig point on Hergest Ridge you can see 10 different counties. Can you name them all...?

The Walk up from the saddle up to the ridge with Worsell, Stanner & Herrick Hill in view.

Stanner Rocks.

There are two ways to walk to Stanner from us but our favourite is the longer route passing the Navages Wood. Walk from us up the hill towards Old Radnor, you will join the old quarry path, follow this through the quarry and down to the main road, cross the road and join the path up to the Navages wood.


This national nature reserve is a paradise for those interested in rare and unusal plants; it has many species that are rare in Britain and more frequently associated with the Mediterranean region.

The reserve largely comprises a steep outcrop of igneous rock with thin soils lying on its surface and in shallow hollows. The southerly aspect of this outcrop allows the soils to warm up very quickly in spring, ensuring the survival of plants that are used to more balmy climates than are usually encountered in Wales.

The shallow, fast drying soil also limits rank and more agressive plants from encroaching on the site and either competing with or even eradicating the rare species.


Stanner Rocks NNR is the only location in Britain where the Early Star-of-Bethlehem (Gagea bohemica) - also known as the Radnor Lily -can be found. The thin soils in and around Stanner Rocks NNR support other wildflowers that are either rare or unusual for this part of Britain. The wonderful wildflowers of the nature reserve attract many insects, and Stanner Rocks is a particularly good place to see lots of butterflies on warm, sunny days in summer. Another delight of this lovely little nature reserve is that all of our native British woodpeckers live there - the Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major), Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor) and the Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis). The least shy of the three is undoubtedly the Green Woodpecker, which forages for insects in grassy places and often seems unconcerned by our presence until we overstep the mark by trying to get too close to them. Usually their distinctive yelping cry gives away their presence long before they are seen. If you are lucky you will also spot the wild horses around the top.


Beautiful & majestic wild horses at the top of Stanner.

Whimble

The Whimble is a shapely hill just on the outskirts of the very pretty villiage of New Radnor. (It's about a 5 minute drive from us). You can walk to the hill from New Radnor through the church yard or if you like you can drive up Mutton Dingle and park at the top which makes walking easier. There is also an interesting castle mound dating back to the dark ages, some history can be found here The castle mound is a great one to do with children, ours love walking from the park in New Radnor (opposite the School) to the shop and then with snacks in tow, we take them to the castle mound and have a picnic. When you reach the beginning of the Whimble you can explore the magical forest and climb up the hill which has amazing far reaching views. Some of our recent guests said this was the most magical forest walk they had ever experienced. It's a great pace for mushroom hunting in the Autumn too.

Larch trees on the way up to the Whimble.

Nash Woods

Just outside the historic town of Presteigne about 10 mins drive from Hergest Lee. Nash Wood lies half in Wales and half in England. The circular walking trail goes to a viewpoint overlooking one of the many hillforts along this part of the border.

The woodland habitat is ideal to see buzzards and goshawk or you may see siskins and crossbills which thrive on the large cones produced by the noble and Douglas fir trees.

You may also see one of the many roe deer that live here and, if you visit in autumn, keep an eye out for colourful fungi. The Nash Trail is a moderate-grade walking trail with a steep climb at the start.

This circular trail makes its way through the woodland to the viewpoint where there is a bench.

The viewpoint overlooks the Iron Age hillfort of Burfa Bank, and there are views over the Radnor valley and to Herefordshire. The trail is waymarked from start to finish. If you enjoy running this is one of my favourite trails to run in the area.

The view at the top of Nash Woods. It takes your breath away every time.

Water Breaks It's Neck.

Once the royal hunting ground of Norman kings, the forest is now a landscape of hill farms, moorlands and steep, narrow valleys, patrolled by red kites. Warren Wood where the waterfall is located is just under a mile from the village of New Radnor, so named for the labyrinth of rabbit warrens that kept the locals fed for centuries, now dwarfed by towering beeches, oaks and conifers planted in the 1800s to provide a bit of scenic beauty for the picturesque-loving Victorians.Starting from the Warren Wood car park, the Water-break-its-neck Trail (¾ of a mile) climbs gently south of the river for 500m to a spectacular viewpoint over the top of the puzzlingly named Water-break-its-neck falls. The cascade has created its own microclimate.The fine rainbow mist in the air and green lushness of the gorge make for a perfect fairyland setting, and if it’s a hot day, there’s nothing more refreshing than pulling your boots and socks off for a cooling paddle. - Please check if it is open because they have been doing some maintenance recently.

Worsell Woods.

This beautiful woodland is the closest forest to us, we are so lucky to have this on our doorstep. In the colder months the forest becomes a Winter wonderland. There are trails to explore around the forest and it's beautiful at the top. Scots Pine trees tower above you and it's home to a colony of red wood ants, deer and protected door mice. The walk to the woodland takes about 15 minutes from us along the track opposite. (as with Hanter & Hergest Ridge) take a left past the black and white house and you will enter the forest. We made a swing on a large oak tree as you enter the forest, can you find it?

The top of Worsell Woods

Entering Worsell Woods from the road

There are so many wonderful walks a bit further away too. Some of our favourites include;

Hay Bluff, The Brecon Beacons, Shropshire Hills, Malvern Hills, The Mortimer forest, Wapley Woods & Hill Fort, Croft Castle parkland, The Cats Back & The Black Mountains...So many more, we love walking so please do just ask if you need any advice and we would be happy to help.





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