Things To Do - on-site and nearby
You'll be spoilt for choice of things to do... from the 48 acres on-site to explore, to paddling in the local river, walking in the Black Mountains and Golden Valley... adventures await!
Exploring Garn Farm
On-site you have 48 acres of wildlife rich hillside and woodland to explore, with streams to paddle in, views to enjoy, with plenty of picnic and den-building opportunities. In the evenings enjoy a campfire whilst watching the sunset- and on a clear night make the most of the dark skies with some star gazing (we have a telescope you can borrow, just let us know ahead of time).
A map of Garn Farm shows the land and indicates footpaths, as well as good spots for views, sunsetsand campfires. You are welcome to explore and follow the trails. Please ask if you’d like to know where to find signs of badgers and owls. There are also books with ideas for nature-based games and activities.
River and church at Clodock
15 min walk / 3 mins drive
One of our favorites - walk down to Clodock and paddle and take a dip in the River Monnow just upstream of the bridge. The Cornewall Arms Pub is just next door with drinks and crisps!
Next to the river is the 12th century St Clydawg Church, witha 17th century three decker pulpit, box pews and minstrels’ gallery. Traces of wall paintings can be seen and a 15th century painting of the Virgin Mary in a window splay near the pulpit. The oldest possession is a 9th century tombstone.
HR2 0LE / 30 mins walk / 5 mins drive / www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/longtown-castle/
Ruins of a thick-walled round keep dating from around 1200, characteristic of the Welsh Borders, with magnificent views of the Black Mountains, and with grassy areas for children to play in. Head to Longtown, bearing left at the first junction and up hill on the left.
The Black Mountains
There are a number of walking routes from Garn Farm, along the Monnow Valley and up onto the Black Mountains - either straight from the door or with a short car drive. There are maps and suggested routes in the separate ‘Walking section’– and advice is on hand so please feel free to ask before setting off!
With a short drive you can take a gentle walk up Hatterrall Hill or the Black Hill (known as The Cats Back from its Welsh name - Crib y Garth), both offer stunning views into England. A steeper popular walk goes up the Black & Red Darrens and onto Hatterrall Ridge, whilst walks up the Olchon Valley are another favourite.
For those looking for a longer walk you can go up and over Hatterrall Ridge and down into the Vale of Ewyas for lunch at Llantony Priory, or you might prefer to drive there and explore further up that valley to Capel-Y-Ffin and Hay Bluff, or carry on west driving through the Mynydd Du Forest and walk to Grwyne Fawr Reservoir.
From Garn Farm you look south towards The Skirrid (also known as Holy Mountain or Ysgyryd Fawr) with it’s distinctive landslip, which is a popular walking destination with car park at its base (and nearby Copper Kettle Tea Room / NP7 8AP). Whilst a little further towards Abergavenny is The Sugar Loaf, another popular hillwalking destination with a number of routes up.
In his book People of the Black Mountains, Raymond Williams described the Black Mountains using your right hand, which is a nice way to understand them and get your bearings - we paraphrase and modify his description here:
Place your right hand palm downward. Spread your fingers, not widely. This is the hand of the Black Mountains. Your thumb is Crib y Gath (The Black Hill / Cats Back). Your first fingeris Hatterrall Hill and ridge (where the Offa’s Dyke Path runs along), with Red and Black Darren at its knuckles. Your second finger is Ffawyddog, with Bal Mawr at its knuckles. Your third finger is Gadair Fawr with Waun Fach behind its kunckles. Your outside finger is Pen Allt-mawr, with its nail being Crickhowell.
On the high plateau of the back of your hand are Twyn Llech, Hay Bluff and Lord Hereford’s Knob/ Twmpa.
The six rivers rise in the plateau towards your wrist. The first river is the Monnow and flows at the outside edge of your thumb. The second river, the Olchon, flows between your thumb and the first finger, to join the Monnow at the top of your thumb. The third river, the Honddu, flows between your first and second fingers and then curves to join the Monnow. The fourth river, Grwyne Fawr, flows between your second and third fingers and then curves the other way, south, to join the fifth river, Grwyne Fechan, that has been flowing between your third and your outside finger. The sixth river, now called Rhiangoll, flows at the edge of your outside finger and which joins the Usk.
The Golden Valley
To our east is The Golden Valley, which covers the valley of the River Dore and is a picturesque area of gently rolling countryside. The main villages are Dorstone, Peterchurch, Abbey Dore and Ewyas Harold which all have local pubs and are nearby Arthur’s Stone, Dore Abbey, and Abbey Dore Court (all detailed elsewhere in this guide).