For the first time this walk will have two distances. The full distance is 40kms (25 miles) with 1200m of ascent, but there is an option to walk a mini-pilgrimage of 25 kms (16 miles) with 730 m ascent, which may suit people who can arrange their own transport to retire from Pont Marteg/Gilfach.
The Monk’s Trod is part of an ancient routeway across the central area of the Cambrian Mountains which links the Cistercian monasteries of Strata Florida and Cwmhir. Early travellers along the way would have either walked or travelled on horseback. The line of travel is not direct. There are a number of reasons for this, the most likely being the safety to be gained from keeping to the high ground. The route goes near St. Harmon which was an important Christian centre and may have influenced the arrival of the monks at Cwmhir.
On leaving Strata Florida the route climbs steadily across the home grange towards the Teifi Pools. These are an important local water supply. The trail moves on towards Claerwen Farm and the most challenging part of the walk. A steady climb takes you into one of the most remote areas in Wales, across the Elenydd towards Pont ar Elan. This is a very special area of great historical interest and a delicate peatland environment, giving long views and an unparalleled appreciation of Central Wales.
From Pont ar Elan a shorter section of less challenging walking leads to the crossing point of the River Wye at Pont Marteg. Those doing the mini-pilgrimage will leave us here.
From Pont Marteg the path follows the River Marteg through a nature reserve to the longhouse at Gilfach. From here a climb takes you onto higher ground again to reach the checkpoint near St. Harmon. The route descends to gentler ground before the final climb to the hill above Cwmhir. You are now in the ‘long valley’ as your footsteps carry you towards your destination in Abbey Cwmhir.
The HQ for the walk is Philips Hall, Abbeycwmhir, Powys LD1 6PH. Free parking is available at various locations in the village. Many participants will choose to start here - where toast and hot drinks will be available from 06:45, in time to register and be taken to Strata Florida (GR SN745656, SY25 6ET) by coach leaving at 07:15 from Abbeycwmhir, in order to start the walk at 09:00. Participants who do not wish to be taken to Strata Florida, can instead arrive at Strata Florida directly and register there by 08:45.
This is a challenging self-guided walk over high remote terrain, much of which is not waymarked and therefore participants should be proficient in navigation and carry the compulsory kit list. The walk also includes stretches on footpaths and country roads. It is not a race. There are 3 en-route check-points where water and energy snacks will be provided (Llyn Egnant dam GR SN790666; Pont ar Elan GR SN903716; St Harmon Road GR SN985703) and in addition cake and hot drinks will be available at the fourth check-point at Pont Marteg/Gilfach GR SN952715 (where those walking the mini-pilgrimage will retire). Soup and hot drinks will be available at Philips Hall, where the full pilgrimage walk finishes. All other refreshments need to be provided by the participant. Any participant who wishes to retire part way through the walk, should do so at one of the check-points and all participants must notify their completion of the walk with a Walk Marshall.
Any participant under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult and these walks are not recommended for anyone under 14 years.
Dogs are allowed as long as they are kept on a lead at all times. They can be taken on the coach.
A route description and GPX file of the route will be provided in advance.
This event offers the option to purchase Booking Protect, so that participants may be able to get a refund if they are unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances.