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Walk No 15: Castle Farm - Lady Hill Wood - Gwehelog Common - Ash Wood - River Usk
(6½ miles -
2½ hours; directions last revised on 23.01.21)

Boots are essential as stretches of the walk are often very boggy.
Binoculars are useful for spotting stiles and footpath markers in the distance.


This is a moderate walk, with 1 steep climb, through woods and farmland, taking in some of the beautiful countryside north of Usk, and returning along the east bank of the Usk. Given the need to study the copious directions, it may take longer than the time indicated above.

North of Usk looking towards the Blorenge
North of Usk looking towards the Blorenge

(See an enlargement of this photo.)

Leave the town square and turn right on the main road in the direction of Raglan and the A449. Opposite the fire station, take the lane signposted “Usk Castle”. Just after the car park (on the right) go through the small wooden gate to the right of the larger one. Take the lane up the hill,
go through a metal gate (sometimes left open) and continue ahead. (The Blorenge and Sugar Loaf can be seen in the distance on the left.)


 

Bear slightly right at Castle Farm (shortly to see, off to the left, a rock with a blue plaque commemorating the Battle of Pwll Melyn in 1405) and in 60 metres cross the stile to the left of a wooden gate (often left open). Go straight ahead, with a hedge on the left. At the end of the field go through the wooden gate (often left open) into Goats Wood and straight ahead up the broad track, which is sometimes very boggy but can be partly avoided by a loop path on the left. Follow the track uphill past a small pond on the left and shortly cross a stile to the right of a metal gate. Go downhill with a wire fence on the left.

 
Autumn in Lady Hill Wood
Autumn in Lady Hill Wood
     
The pond in the wood
The pond in the wood
  After 100 metres cross a stile to the right of a metal gate marked “Kitty Beech Road” on to a track. Follow this down through Lady Hill Wood, crossing over the first intersection. Turn left at the junction with the next track and cross the stream. Follow the track to the left and after 25 metres cross the stile on the right. Turn 90° right and after 25 metres cross a stile off to the right and then go straight ahead through trees. After a short distance cross a stile and go ahead with trees and a pond on the right.
     

Cross another stile and head half left to 2 adjacent power-line poles. Continue in the same direction and cross a stile to the left of a metal gate (often left open). Bear half left across the next field to a stile to the right of a metal gate (sometimes left open) in the hedge, which appears as you climb the slope. Head in the direction of the stile's foot plank to a line of trees. On reaching a small stream, follow it to the left for a short distance until you find a small wooden bridge (two railway sleepers) over the stream. (NB: This is invisible until you are very close as it is in a dip.) Cross the bridge and after 10 metres bear half left. After 40 metres go through a very narrow gap on the right between large bramble bushes and cross 2 stiles very close together. Go straight ahead with trees on the right. Head for a telegraph pole, then right to a small wooden gate next to a garage. Turn left on the lane, soon ignoring a small lane which forks to the right.

     
Keep straight on at the next junction, where there is a house called “Ty Mynydd”. Go downhill and soon cross a stile on the left at a waymark post. Go straight ahead, passing a house, and step over a small wooden gate by means of 2 tree stumps, eight metres to the left of a large tree. Turn right and go down the drive. (This is a public right of way though it appears otherwise.) Turn left on the lane and immediately left on another where there is a yellow gravel bin. .

(See below for a much shorter return route from this point.)
 
West of Gwehelog
Near Gwehelog Common
(See an enlargement of this photo.)
 

Go downhill and just beyond the lane on the right marked "Unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles" and before the large green shed, cross a stile on the right. Turn left and at the corner of the field cross a stile and continue by a stream to the corner of the next field. Go through a metal gate and immediately cross a stile on the right and turn left. At the far left corner of the field cross a small wooden bridge and stile. Head half right to Ash Wood and cross a stile just to the right of the conifers. Take the steep, indistinct, overgrown path uphill, initially keeping remnants of a barbed wire fence on the left. Join a track, continue climbing, ignore a path on the right and after 20 metres turn right at a wide opening between trees.

Cross a stile near a large fallen tree and turn left along the field edge. Follow the field edge a short way round to the right. Cross a stile and immediately another on the right. Turn left and go downhill with a hedge on the left. Cross 2 stiles at the corner of the field and turn left on a lane. After 90 metres cross a stile on the right, then go straight across the field to cross another stile. Head for the far left corner of the field and cross a stile. Turn right on the busy road and after 100 metres take a broad track on the left, where there is a green footpath sign.

Go through a metal gate and soon turn left at the end of the field and then right by an old corrugated iron barn. Continue on a broad track, with a huge array of solar panels on the left. After passing a wooden chalet on the right, go through a metal gate and follow the track. At the end of the solar panels enclosure go straight down the field, staying close to trees on the right. Where the line of trees ends, continue in the same direction until reaching the river. (NB: This is where the O.S. map and the Monmouthshire Council Website show the path but sometimes crops are planted over it, which can make it difficult to choose the best route.) Turn left on the riverbank and follow the obvious path to where it meets the road. Cross a stile and turn right. Walk parallel to the river, back into the town centre, turn left at the T-junction and return to the town square.

(A short optional detour is to take the path through the kissing gate just before the veterinary practice and walk along the river bank (Conigar Walk) as far as the bridge. Take the path up to the road and turn left to return to the town square.)

     

Conigar Walk and River Usk
Conigar Walk and River Usk

 

 

Shorter return route from point noted above:

Continue on the lane through a pleasant valley, eventually passing a farm at Upper Llancayo. Turn left on the road to Usk. Walk parallel to the river, back into the town centre, turn left at the T-junction and return to the town square.


A laminated A5 card showing this walk route, along with photographs, can be easily ordered here.
The walk can be ordered more cheaply in digital format (PDF file) on the alternative Order Form.

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Page last updated 27.09.21