Friday, 1 November 2013

Up ...and up... through Hafren Forest to the source of the River Severn

I briefly visited Hafren Forest a few weeks ago, and vowed to return and explore it further... soon! So on what seemed to be a dry-ish day during Half Term, the boys and I drove up to 'the mountains' along ever decreasing road size, to park in Hafren Forest and walk up to the source of the River Severn.
The walk starts alongside the fast flowing river, which is already surprisingly quite big considering the proximity to its source. The path winds through the moss rich forest, steadily climbing higher.

As you meander along the clearly marked (phew!) paths (very well maintained too I must say!) you catch glimpses of Plynlimon, the highest point in Mid-Wales and our destination. Babbling brooks and dripping rock faces give you sense of the huge drainage basin - this is river geography at its best. The trees start to thin out, the river gets smaller and smaller and the land gets distinctly wilder. 

The final stretch of the walk is along the moorland or perhaps bog-land might be a better description, of Plynlimon, until you get to the end of the path, the source of the river, marked with a simple post. The whole area is like a sponge, slowly releasing its water. Everything is wet, oozing and dripping. You can understand why Plynlimon is the source of not just the Severn, but over to the south, the Wye as well.

We were the only people there, having been the last of the days visitors to arrive. It was a little disconcerting, to be all alone in an almost moon like landscape, but incredible too. You do feel as though one misplaced step off the path and you'd be sucked into the bog, never to be heard of again! I was very appreciative of the slabbed path and the efforts undertaken to put it there. How wonderful to be able to safely access such an extreme landscape.
The post at the source, also marks the official start of the Severn Way , a 210 mile footpath following the river to its mouth at Bristol day!

We hastily began our retreat back down the path and through the forest to get back to the car before darkness fell. We just made it back in time. My panic was beginning to show with the constant 'hurry up!' to the poor tired boys, oh dear!
We will return again, maybe when the days are longer and we don't have to rush the walk to enjoy more of this amazing scenery. 'One of the best walks ever!' declared Son #2 - hear, hear!