This month, rather than our usual, sedate teashop walk that we’re so fond of featuring, we’ve gone all hardcore and included an all-out mountain hike up the Skirrid (take a thermos and some sarnies and, hey presto – no teashop needed!) The walk may be a little strenuous in places, however the views are spectacular and, on a clear day, stretch as far as the Severn Estuary to the south-east and the Black Mountains to the west.
Length of walk – 3.5 miles
Time – Allow 2-3 hours
Notes – Red and white broken line – walking route
Broken blue dotted line denote footpaths not described in this walk
There is no charge for the Skirrid car park, but it does get busy on sunny days!
Go up the Ross Road (B4521), past Maindiff hospital and Wernddu Golf Club. Parking for The Skirrid is on the crest of the hill, on the left, and is more of a layby than a car park. The start of the walk begins at the gate to a path, at one end of the layby, which is marked with a National Trust plaque. Follow this path, which takes you up a steady incline across the field.
Go over the stile. If you’re already puffed, you can take a breather here on the conveniently located bench. At this point there is a vehicle track that goes left. You could follow this if you want a longer, but less steep ascent, (if you follow the vehicle track, be sure to re-join the footpath when the two routes cross one another; just before the track starts going downhill again) but our route goes straight on up the footpath, through Caer Wood. The path has helpful wooden steps, but it is steep, and can be very slippy in the wet, so be careful.
You will reach a wall with a gate. At this point any canine companions should go on a lead, as there are sheep grazing beyond. Go through the gate. The short route to the peak is to your right, however our route goes left and, you’ll be glad to hear, is relatively level. The path follows the stone wall, over a wooden walkway, and rounds the south end of the Skirrid.
After about ¾ of a mile you will reach the landslip that gives the Skirrid its name. There are some steep drops to your left just before the landslip, so be careful if you are with children and dogs. The path goes between the peak and the detached portion, known as Little Billy. High up and to your right, you will see a toadstool shaped rock formation known as The Devils Table. The piles of boulders here aren’t very stable, so it’s best not to climb on them.
As the path rounds the northern end of the Skirrid, you have the option to head for the peak, up the (very steep) ridge. However, if it is wet, or your legs aren’t up to it, follow the path around until you are at the northeast corner.
Follow the ridge path to the southern end. Some steps and a stone pavement lead you back down into Caer Wood. When you arrive at the gate in the stone wall again, go through, and retrace your steps back to the car park.
Have you done the walk? Tell us below!
If you’d like a high resolution version of the map, that is suitable for printing out, click here.