There are walking routes on site, along the Monnow Valley and up onto the Black Mountains – either straight from the door or with a short car drive. We’re always happy to give advice and suggestions and in The Barn you'll find a full Walking Guide to the area, along with maps. From a gentle walk up Hatterrall Hill or Black Hill, to a slightly more challenging walk up to Black Darren and Hatterrall Ridge or up the Olchon Valley – there’s a walk for all occasions around the Black Mountains and Offa’s Dyke path.
We link to some walks we’ve tracked using the free ViewRanger app - www.viewranger.com - and you can find all our published routes at www.bit.ly/wandw-walks. We recommend long trousers and walking boots anytime of the year.
Below we share our most favourite walking destinations and routes.
On site at Garn Farm
A map of Garn Farm will show the land and paths for your to explore, as well as good spots for views, sunsets and campfires. There are also books with ideas for nature-based games and activities.
Clodock and Longtown
Clodock is a short walk (15 mins) down the road. The Cornewall Arms pub is just after the bridge. To get to Longtown either carry on along the road (bearing right at the junction) – or there is a footpath along the river by the bridge, which comes out at another bridge on the Longtown road, where you can either cross the road and carry along a footpath towards the castle or turn right and carry on along the road to get to The Crown pub and Hopes Shop.
Walterstone and Carpenters Arms
There is a nice route over fields, with views towards The Skirrid, to the Carpenters Arms Pub in Walterstone. It is under 2 miles and usually takes 40 mins (there are gates to climb over). For a mapped route on ViewRanger - see our routes (see Garn Farm to Walterstone and Carpenters Arms Pub).
The Black Hill / Crib y Garth
Just up the valley and well sign posted is The Black Hill or Crib y Garth (Cat’s Back), which offers a fantastic walk for all ages. On a clear day the views into England are amazing, and from the top you’ll start to see the peaks of the highest points of the Black Mountains over Hatterrall Ridge.
By car (20 mins drive)
There is a car park (signed by brown picnic signs from Longtown) which takes you up a good part of the hill, from where you can then explore as far up as you want. There is a clear route straight up or bear right half way up the first steep section for a less steep ascent.
Round Loop (5 miles)
You can make this a lovely loop by walking all the way along the ridge past the trig point until you get to a footpath on the left (marked by a pile of stones) down into the Olchon Valley, and return to the car park along the road. For a mapped route of this loop on ViewRanger see our routes at http://bit.ly/wandw-walks - (see The Black Hill Loop).
The Olchon Valley is a lovely spot sheltered on one side by the upper reaches of Hatterrall Ridge and on the other by The Black Hill. The Black Hill Round Loop above includes walking along part of the Olchon Valley, but you can drive along it to explore it separately too. Follow directions above to The Black Hill, but rather than turning off for the car park carry along until you get to the horseshoe of the valley and park by the bridge. You can then walk up the bridleway into the upper reaches of the valley.
Black Darren and Red Darren
Up the valley on the opposite side from Garn Farm you can usually make out Black Darren and Red Darren ('Darren' signifies 'edge' in Welsh), on the eastern side of the Hatterrall ridge west of Longtown, a set of landslips formed by glacial action. They offer a fairly steep but clear walk up to Hatterrall Ridge, with fantastic views into England from the parking area alone.
By car (15 mins drive)
Head to Longtown, past the castle and school, and then on leaving the village take the first left onto the ‘Mountain Road’. Follow this down and up, over the cattle grid and along until you get to a parking area (look out for stone information sign). From the car park you can explore either Red and Black Darren. Our favourite is to go up between the two and bear left up Black Darren. You can then go back the way you came or…
Round Loop (5 miles)
Make this a lovely loop by continuing and walking all the way up to the Hatterrall ridge, joining the Offa’s Dyke path for a while before turning right off it at a stone marked ‘Darren’ and following the winding path down the Red Darren side and returning to the car park. See a mapped route of this loop on ViewRanger at http://bit.ly/wandw-walks - (see The Darren’s Loop).
Hatterrall Ridge is the main ridge running across the valley from Garn Farm. Along the top runs the border between England and Wales, and the Offa’s Dyke path. It offers great views into England, and, from the top into, Wales and the rest of the Black Mountains.
It is possible to drive up to the southern end of the ridge, parking on the side of the road before the gate, and then walking up along the ridge as far as you want. It offers a gentle hill walk with great views into Herefordshire, the Black Mountains, and on a clear day down to Newport and Bristol Channel.
It is possible to walk from Garn Farm up to Hatterrall Ridge, and there are a number of footpaths up. Our favourite is the following route which takes you part way up – high enough for the views but not to the very top, although does have options to extend it to the very top.
Round Loop (6 miles) – From Garn Farm towards Hatterrall Ridgethis loop takes you on foot part way up towards Hatterrall Ridge, via Walterstone and Oldcastle, with fine views into England along the old green lane, before dropping back down to Clodock and back to Garn Farm along the road. It is under 6 miles but with a 1000ft altitude gain/loss, usually takes 4hrs 30mins - although does go nearby two pubs! See a mapped route of this loop on ViewRanger at http://bit.ly/wandw-walks - (see Route from Garn Farm towards Hatterrall Ridge).
Vale of Ewyas
The Vale of Ewyas is the next valley west from us and offers popular walking routes. From Garn Farm it is a great walk up and over Hatterrall Ridge to Llantony Priory (but it is a long all day walk so be prepared) or a 30 mins drive. There is a car park at the Priory, and a Hotel and Bar in the grounds serving teas/coffees, ales and meals.
Further up the valley is Capel-Y-Ffin with its tiny white chapel and semicircle of seven ancient yews (in the graveyard are two gravestones with elegant script carved by the artist Eric Gill, who lived here in the 1920s). Further up the valley is Gospel Pass which provides access to Hay Bluff and Lord Hereford’s Knob (Twmpa), both offering the ultimate panorama.
Grwyne Fawr Reservoir
The next valley west of the Vale of Ewyas provides access through the Mynydd Du Forest and a walk to Grwyne Fawr Reservoir. From Garn Farm it’s a 45 mins drive to Black Mountain (Mynydd Du) Car Park and Picnic Area (NP7 7LY) and then 60 mins walk up to the redundant reservoir with Victorian dam. Follow footpath up track to the right. It is also possible to do a longer loop to the highest point in the Black Mountains, Waun Fach, before dropping down to the reservoir.
From Garn Farm you look south towards The Skirrid (also known as Holy Mountain or Ysgyryd Fawr) with its distinctive landslip, which is a popular walking destination with car park at its base (the route up can get busy). From Garn Farm it is a 20 mins drive - head towards Abergavenny on the A465, proceeding past turning to Mardy and Abergavenny, take the left for the B4521and Skenfrith – The Skirrid car park is along this road on the left. Beyond the car park is the Copper Kettle Tea Room (NP7 8AP).
The Sugar Loaf
Another popular hillwalking destination a little further away towards Abergavenny is The Sugar Loaf, which has a range of good routes up, with well maintained footpaths. From Garn Farm it is a 25 mins drive - head towards Abergavenny on the A465. There are lots of routes up and options for parking. A favourite is to use the car park at NP7 7HU near Porth-y-parc.
The Golden Valley
Six great walking routes in the Golden Valley at Michaelchurch Escley, Peterchurch, Dorstone, Ewyas Harold & Abbey Dore, Hardwicke and Snodhill are available at http://www.herefordholidays.co.uk/activities.php