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Drewin Farm to Rhallt near Welshpool

Tuesday 11th July 2006

Walked 16.5 miles, virtually all on Offa's Dyke Path

By this stage of the walk my sunburnt lips were very sore, so I wasn't sleeping well. However we woke to another sunny day and glorious views, which cheered me up, and we had a very pleasant breakfast at Drewin Farm.
The only problem was the rather opinionated other guest - Mr and Mrs Richards did very well to keep their cool! Mrs Richards' hospitality has made it into Bob Bibby's book 'Special Offa' because he stopped at Drewin Farm when he had run out of water on the Offa's Dyke Path - and found himself drinking tea and eating welsh cake.

We completed the descent to Brompton Crossroads by following first a minor road and then the Dyke past the caravan park in the wooded grounds of Mellington Hall. Only a couple of the static caravans appeared to be occupied.
After Brompton Crossroads we followed the Dyke across farmland, with views to Corndon on the right and to Montgomery on the left, with Town Hill beyond. The walking was easy, though Richard very nearly walked into an inadequately signed electric fence.

After crossing the Camlad River we had a brief steep climb, then a gentle descent and about a kilometre along a road. We'd planned to look for somewhere for lunch shortly after this, but we'd reckoned without the large housing estate that had been built between Forden and Kingswood, and when we left this behind we were on another road, albeit a very minor (Roman) road, climbing steeply.

We were sure that there would be somewhere to stop for lunch once we had turned off the road onto the Leighton Estate, but although it was all very pretty as we continued to climb, with occasional views through the trees to Welshpool and Powys Castle, there were no convenient stopping places. At around 2pm, we eventually found a slightly wider grass verge and stopped there, enjoying Mrs Richards' sandwiches, welsh cakes and barra brith.
We continued to climb up through the trees to 'Offa's Pool', which was just about empty, and a second pond which contained both water and fish. It was here that we discovered (by text) that Michael's second year exam results were excellent.

We continued to climb through the woodland to a small road, then we had use the map carefully (unusual) as there was a gate where the guidebook described a stile between two tracks, and no Offa's Dyke Path sign. However the gate took us to open ground and to the side of a wood - as the book said the stile would.

As we climbed, with splendid views to Welshpool below, we almost caught up with two elderly male walkers. We climbed up to the Iron Age 'Beacon Fort', with two TV transmitters, and circled the fort.
Then began the long descent to Buttington; a 300 metre drop spread over the next 4km. The other walkers were still in front of us and when they 'lost' the path at one stage this prevented us from doing the same thing.

We could eventually make out the pattern of the roads beneath us at Buttington Bridge and we wondered if Gungrog House was the house we could see high above the roundabout. We descended into Buttington via the Offa's Dyke Business park and the men in front of us turned into a house just past here. We continued over fields and over the railway line, to join the road just before Buttington Bridge. There was a lot of traffic on the road (it was about 5.30pm) so crossing the bridge and walking along the road was difficult and crossing the roundabout at the end was nearly impossible.
The sign at the roundabout indicated 440 metres to Gungrog House but we didn't know which way to go (the industrial estate in front of us didn't seem very likely but there was no indication that we were to turn right) so we resorted to a telephone call to Gungrog House. We were told to turn right, go over the bridge and then climb to the end of the lane - so it was the house we had seen from the other side of the valley!

Gungrog House is an elegant farmhouse, very nicely decorated; our room was on the front and Helen's was on the back of the house. We were given a lift into Welshpool for a meal; the first time we'd been in a car for a week! On the way we discovered that the owner of Gungrog House is trying to run down the B&B business (they also have a self-catering cottage) so that she can concentrate on her four grandchildren, all under 4 and all living in Shrewsbury, about 19 miles away. She also told us a bit more about Welshpool and the problems blamed on the influx of Polish immigrants. We had a lovely meal at 'The Corn Store', a pleasant wine bar and restaurant, but it was a bit hot so I took myself for a couple of walks outside; Welshpool seemed a very nice little town. We ordered a taxi at the same time as we asked for the bill and the taxi appeared almost immediately (before the bill!).

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