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Walk Reviews
Review 12: Walk No. 20; Date walked: 08.10.16; Review submitted by Andrew Johnson

Comments: Hi I ran Walk 20 today and what a cracking route. The instructions were excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Some observations/comments below:

Footpath maintenance
a) The 2nd stile at the top of the field immediately above Clytha Castle is broken.
b) The gate at the top of Bank House drive has been chained shut, the inside of the field railed and two tree trunks placed either side to climb over. This doesn't seem to be a satisfactory arrangement.
c) Part of the bridleway just after Russell Hill Farm is quite overgrown I don't know if you have a contact in MCC for the first two. For the latter I'll see if I can pop back in the car soon with some shears just to cut it back.

Instruction suggestions:
A big new green metal half moon kissing gate has been installed at the point where you leave the Usk Valley Walk and turn right towards the Clytha car park in case you wanted to include that in the notes. The stile for the permissive path where you cross the field to Coed y Bwnydd is 125m after you pass the road on the left.

Personal view: I think this walk would work better for views and profile the other way round. The view from the hill looking back at Bettws Newydd church with Sugar Loaf and Skirrid on the horizon was awesome and I'd always rather get the climbing done in the first half of the walk and then enjoy walking down the river to finish. It might be worth including the option to cut out the Clytha / Coed y Bwnydd loop and just walk the road from Chainbridge to Bettws Newydd.

I started my walk from the main car park as there are toilets, the coffee shop where I bought the guides and the Co-Op easily to hand. Like I said at the start, I thought it was excellent. It's the first one I've done but I have also bought Walks 10, 12, 15, 17 and 19 and plan to work my way through them in the near future. I prefer the walks with lots of off road in them. If you have any other walks that you would like me to do please let me know. Thanks again for producing these guides. Whilst I live in Raglan, they have given me some great new routes to run.
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Review 11: Walk No. 15; Date walked: 04.09.16; Review submitted by Michelle Mansell

Comments: Thank you for providing this walk. I did this walk with my two dogs for company. For some unknown reason, it took us about 4.5 hours! I have a few comments on the directions and conditions of the route. Third paragraph: Where you say to "Go straight ahead downhill, with a wood and fence on the left", I initially thought that this meant go downhill and then uphill (in the direction of the cattle that I could see in the distance). However, I then realised that the gate was only a short distance away to the left, I decided that we could get through the gate before the cattle would see us. Maybe the directions should say to head slightly left, following the line of trees, shortly to a gate/stile. Your word "shortly" is at the start of the next paragraph and, as such, is slightly disconnected from the previous paragraph. Fifth paragraph: there was a multitude of cattle in the field with the telegraph poles and so I managed to find a way round. There were two way markers on the stile where we had left the track (and there were two footpaths on the OS map). The easiest way is to follow the hedge on the right of the field, heading upwards. However, there are then no further way markers! Also, I could not open the gate at the top of the field and had to climb over (the dogs managed to get under the gate). I then continued in the same direction through several fields (with open gates) and ended up at the farm (sorry, I can't remember the name). I also checked to the right as I could still see the field with the telegraph poles and there was an open gate into that field from the fields that I had passed through. At the final metal gate, I could not work out how to open it but climbed over (and the dogs got under). I then followed a track/lane in the same direction which ended up at the Ty Mynydd in your sixth paragraph and so I was back on route. Sixth paragraph: I could not find the "small, wooden gate." It appears to be a wooden fence with two stumps to use to get over and there is no way marker. The couple living at Ty Mynydd were in their front garden and I had a chat with them. To avoid any problems, I took their advice and went back down the track towards the fields and there was a way marked stile on my right (on the left if you are coming from the fields). Cross the stile, go straight over the field and then straight over the next field which has a stile (and an open gate). The third field has a stile and two gates. However, if you use the stile or one gate, then there is an awkward cattle grid for dogs. However, the other gate can easily be used. This brings you out on the same drive to which you referred. Seventh paragraph: Where you say to cross two more stiles, the landowner has not been very helpful. There were two gates in the field, one leading to a crop field and one leading to the lane. The gate leading to the crop field had barbed wire to keep the gate shut (but could be undone with care) but the stile after it looked very awkward. Therefore, I approached the other gate and found it to be padlocked. I climbed over (dogs got under) and then went immediately right over the overgrown, way marked stile. The path uphill through Ash Wood was a bit overgrown with brambles and there was an awkward fallen tree to get under/over (I got under after taking off my rucksack). What a lovely view at the top! Eighth paragraph: The two stiles at the corner of the lane had quite a few brambles at head height ( didn't have my secateurs with me). These are only minor issues (apart from my wish to avoid large herds of cattle). Thank you once again for the walk.
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Review 10: Walk No. 10; Date walked: 26.08.16; Review submitted by Michelle Mansell

Comments: My dog and I enjoyed the walk. The directions were generally easy to follow. There were a lot of cattle in the field after the glider club (after the two metal gates) but they let us pass to the side of them without chasing us. Please note that the yellow gravel bin is now a dark green gravel bin. I was surprised by the length of the lane before we reached the allotments. It would be nice if diagrams could be provided with the walks, especially where there is lots of offroad walking. Thank you for providing the walks. I hope to try some more soon.
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Review 9: Walk No. 17; Date walked: 11.04.14; Review submitted by Jon Hiscox

Comments: Yes we did enjoy the walk, and the instructions are good. Unfortunately we were too early for the bluebells. The young trees in the woodland by Llanolway Farm have not overgrown enough to cause a problem.We’re looking forward to doing more of your walks. We did 18 last week and the instructions for that were good too. Do any of your routes go past Allt y Bella? Many thanks for your work!
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Review 8: Walk No. 15; Date walked: 30.12.13; Review submitted by Edward Richardson

Comments: Firstly, can we just say a HUGE thank you for the walk directions. We had a very short break in Usk recently and had an afternoon to spend on a walk, so we followed the directions for walk 15. It was an excellent walk and the directions were very well written, extremely clear and easy to follow. It did take us a bit longer than expected, but we did stop briefly and 'ambled' a lot - Plus a long pause before deciding we did have to wade knee deep through the minor flood! We were conscious that you wanted feedback on walk 15 and tried to think of as many helpful corrections as we could. The fact that there were so few, and those were so very minor, just goes to show how excellent the directions already are! We missed the blue plaque - didn't matter but thought it may be worth a line pointing out where it was and maybe a line about who the battle was between. Then again, anyone who is interested can just google it later! Just after entering Kitty Beech Road bridleway, ignore the track heading off to the left - go straight on for a short way before crossing straight over the 1st intersection you come to (we weren't sure if we had to turn left at this one) A bit further on: Head towards the double telegraph pole in the middle of the field ahead of you (we started to head towards another one up on the left). Like I said - very little improvement can be made to an excellent set of directions. Thank you for putting in the time and effort to create them for us and others. We had a fantastic time and will return to the area to try out another!
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Review 7:  Walk No. 21; Date walked: 09.06.13; Review submitted by Julie Chouhan

Comments: L
ovely walk but very very overgrown in places and some of the markers are not correct and some are missing. We needed our wits about us not to get lost.
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Review 6:  Walk No. 16; Date walked: 21.08.11; Review submitted by David Hoccom

Comments:
We enjoyed the walk very much. Lovely scenery and chatted to a couple of the local residents. There is an amendment as the black garage has been painted white! It might be worth changing the detail to "alongside the garage next to the white house". The new owners told us that the house is called "The White House" so, hopefully, it will not change colour!

Thanks again for an enjoyable walk.
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Review 5:  Walk No. 18; Date walked: 05.08.11; Review submitted by David Hoccom

Comments:
The walk was very enjoyable, thank you, although there is a need to update the description, please. We followed the direction of the footpath post by the two metal gates diagonally across the field to the stile as described. The path through the plantation finishes halfway in at some pheasant feeding drums. We persevered through a very overgrown section only to find the next stile no longer exists.

It would seem necessary to follow the right hand field edge from the two metal gates to a forestry track. Follow the track, cross a stile and enter the next field. It is not possible to see the next stile across the field so it is best to pass towards the left of the conifers ahead in a "10'o'clock" direction from the forestry track stile.

Unfortunately, there is dense undergrowth on the other side of this next stile and we had to skirt left into the edge of the wood to get round it. Some of the stiles need hawthorn etc trimming back to allow easier access. However, this is an enjoyable walk along quiet lanes, fields and woodland with some lovely views and St David's Church is interesting.

Editor's comment: The "missing" stile is in fact still there but was hidden by a mass of bramble bushes.  The directions have been amended accordingly.  Many thanks to Mr Hoccom for alerting me to this problem!
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Review 4:  Walk No. 15; Date walked: 01.09.10; Review submitted by Barry Melville

Comments: John Nichols and I did this walk today. The directions were very clear and we particularly liked the idea of pointing  the walker in the direction of the foot slab of a stile. Scenically it was easily the best of the twelve or so we have done so far. And it did indeed take a bit longer than the time suggested!
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Review 3:  Walk No. 20;
Date walked: 28.07.10; Review submitted by Graham Clutton

Comments: Great walk and pretty good directions. However, the paragraph below is far from correct. It says 1 and a half miles - it is more like 3. "After 1½ miles turn right on a lane, soon crossing Chain Bridge. (The Chain Bridge pub is nearby.)"

Editor's comment: In fact the OS Explorer map and Microsoft AutoRoute both indicate a distance of 1.7 miles.
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Review 2:  Walk No. 20; Date walked: 01.07.08; Review submitted by Barry Melville

Comments: My friend and I felt that this was the toughest of the range of walks but the most enjoyable. The detailed instructions were 'spot on' and the scenery was fantastic. We failed to do it in the suggested five hours though. . . . . more like seven hours! __________________________________________________________________________________________________

Review 1:  Walk No. 14; Date walked: 26.01.07; Review submitted by Barry Melville

Comments: This is an excellent walk and the notes are accurate and easy to follow. There are a couple of places where things could be added but, in general, I thought it was written better than the other 'walks' published in local books.

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Copyright 2003 John Tallet
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