Black Pudding Gaiters

Hiking, travelling, gear



Alternate, solo Valentine’s

It’s Valentine’s Day. The cards, presents and flowers are nowhere to be seen so, rather than a candle lit dinner, I decided upon a slice of malt loaf up a hill.

Parking up in the upper Moel Famau/Bwlch Penbarra car park, I eventually tracked down the one working pay and display machine and headed up Foel Fenlli. I glanced over to Moel Famau behind me, watching the hordes of people strolling up to the Jubilee Tower like ill equipped sheep.  I concluded I’d made the right decision with this route….albeit not a well planned route. I had planned nothing other than head up and over Fenlli and just go where ever I fancied. Somewhere different would be preferable but, given the crisp sunny day it was just nice to be out, and away from the masses.

It’s quite a steep climb to the top of Fenlli (511 meters) but once at the peak there are some lovely views and  the remains of the Iron Age hill fort can clearly be seen.

View from Foel Fenlli
Foel Fenlli peak

From the peak,  I continued South down a steep scree path to join the Offa’s Dyke path to Bwlch Crug-glas and on to the junction of paths to the East.
It was at this junction I drew up a rough route plan. I had never ventured over to the East of the A494 so quickly devised a route towards Mount Pleasant.

The first step on this hastily arranged plan was a left, heading North East, passing through plenty of mud and a farm gate.
Where the path splits, I could take either, both led to the same location. For no particular reason I continued on the ‘top path’ before taking a right and dropping down to Plymog and crossing a A494.

River near LlanferresThe next path was almost directly over the road. Crossing over a river, I continued to where a spring joined the river and plonked myself down on a large piece of concrete jutting in to the water.
An ideal place for lunch.
Here, there was nobody about at all and I was far enough away from the main road for a peaceful break.

Crossing stream

I eventually made my way on to the path in to the woods, using stepping stones and a small wooden bridge to make my way over the water.
The trees became fewer as I walked towards what was presumably an old quarry at Bryn-yr-ardd.

As the path became more of a track, I took a left almost going back on myself, into the woods. As I passed old, derelict buildings, I crossed a stile to my right, deeper in to the woods towards the buidlings at Mount Pleasant where I took another right heading initially East and then turning to the North.
The original ‘plan’ was to take the next path to the West towards Llanferres, however, I spotted a cave marked on the map so continued North through the woods of Big Covert. Unfortunately, as this was a very haphazardly planned route,  I didn’t have the exact co-ordinates of the cave. After a short wander in the general vicinity proved unfruitful, I decided to return another day (with my head torch!) and rejoined the the small village of Maeshafn.

Woods near MaeshafnTaking a left when I reached the road, I took the next footpath on the right, walking South West to the track. At the crossroads, I took a right towards the houses and continued West to the A494, crossing the road and taking the narrow road almost opposite through Llanferres.
At the end of Rectory Lane I took the path through the field heading North West, passing to the left of the farm at Fron Hen.

When reaching the road, I took a left and another left at the t-junction heading to the lower Moel Famau car park. From there I followed the path parallel to the road back to the top car park.

The gpx file for this 7 mile walk can be downloaded from the ViewRanger website

Foel Fenlli (Iron Age Mums are haunting my cagoule)

Foel (or Moel) Fenlli is the second highest peak of the Clwydian Range in Denbighshire, North Wales.
It’s peak is at 511 metres/1,677 ft, slightly lower than it’s neighbour Moel Famau but attracts far fewer walkers making it far more pleasant.

The best place to start the walk is the Bwlch Pen Barras car park. This pay and display car park currently costs £1.50 for the day.
The path up Fenlli is to the south of this car park.
There are a number of routes up, I headed to the back of the car park, following the narrower path to the left hand side of the hill.

Views from Foel Fenllli

Take the steps up the final stretch to the cairn at the top where, on a clear day view stretch across to Snowdonia one way and Wirral and Merseyside the other.

The remains of a hill fort are found at the peak, it is believed that the site dates back to the Iron Age.

Take the first path down, signposted with the Offa’s Dyke route acorn symbol and continue to follow these signs taking the path which the right of two small woods and across a couple of fields.

At a ‘crossroads’ take a right, still following the Offa’s Dyke route.
The path comes out on to the A494. Take a right here and again, follow the Offa’s Dyke signs.
After a short distance, take a left off the road, taking a track. Where this forks, take the right hand track, passing some houses before continuing through woodland (it can get very muddy here!)

After passing Bathafarn farm, turn right on the road until the first footpath to the right, crossing a field.
I found this to be over grown and not well signed so stayed to the edge of the field following it round to the far end which had been fenced off (easily climbed!). Continue in a north easterly direction, you’ll see some caravans and, eventually a stream, keep this to your left hand side.

At the right time of the year, the woods at Coed Rhiwsig are great for wild garlic picking. *
Leave the woods, cross over the A494 again, then take a left to for the continuation of the path, a horseshoe route which, when I went in summer,  was very over grown.
Unfortunately the last part of this Cowswalk follows a road, take a right, uphill, passing the Halfway House before eventually reaching the car park.

Look out for the local residents!

This walk is around 8.5 miles in total (13.7km)
And the GPX file is available to download from my ViewRanger page.


* wild garlic is easy to spot, it is rather pungent! It is usually ready for picking in Spring and, unlike ‘conventional garlic’ it is the broad green leaves you want rather than the bulb. The white flowers can also be eaten but are rather mild.
I like the leaves whizzed up with some Parmesan cheese and olive oil to make a pesto, goes great with steak!

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