Gorgeous Cwm Clydach


The Afon Clydach flows through an autumn hued woodland.

I returned to the gorgeous Cwm Clydach in Monmouthshire this morning. I previously visited just over two weeks ago and throughly enjoyed myself but I wanted to explore a few more places along the Afon Clydach. 

I started today by walking from the quarries down along the steep Beech lined path through the Cwm Clydach national nature reserve. The trees leaves are now a riot of autumn colours. Its a real kaleidoscope of orange, yellow, greens, reds and brown colours. The woods contain some really old Beech Trees and as you travel down deeper into the gorge its like adventuring into a lost magical world. There is a feeling of age and history everywhere. I love that sweet autumn smell thats in the air and the sound of the rushing waters of the Afon Clydach seems to flow through my body and fill me with excitement.

Information Board.

Eventually I got to the bottom of the steep path where it meets another path that runs up above the river. The sides of the gorge are really steep here and I think I was about fifty feet above the bottom of the gorge at this point.

I headed up river and walked along on a carpet of orange leaves and an avenue of mainly Beech Trees. The noise of the river was getting louder and as I progressed I was getting closer to the river. The air was full of water vapour and all the tree trunks were black and wet. I could see lots of white water ahead of me and plumes of mist occasionally drifted through the trees.

Then I arrived at a cascade of waterfalls known as the Pwll Crochan ( Cauldron Pool) or also known as the lower falls on some information maps.

Pwll Crochan Waterfalls

The water was roaring under a huge tree that had fallen and then created two waterfalls either side a huge section of rock. It made a great place to take some slow shutter speed photos.

Cauldron Pool

The noise of the river was quite deafening and as I was focused on taking pictures I failed to notice two people also arriving at the waterfall. The first was a young woman who I only saw when I turned around and she made me jump. I said hello and then she vanished down the path.

The second person turned up just as I was about to fly my drone and he looked as excited as I was. Turned out Matthew was also a photographer and a drone enthusiast like me so we had plenty to talk about.

I had done a bit of a recce of the location and there was just enough space for a drone to take off and fly up above the river between the trees.

I wanted to get a birds eye view of the waterfalls and of the tree canopy. Up went my drone and it did not disappoint at all. The colours of the trees were absolutely spectacular.

A birds eye view of Pwll Crochan Waterfall

A huge fallen tree lies across the river

 It was great having a chat with my new photographer friend Matthew but I needed to push on and head off to my next location on the river. I am sure Matthew will also have taken some great pictures.

I headed back along the river and then climbed the steep path back up to the quarry where my car was parked. That hill really got my blood flowing and by the time I reached the car I was puffing away like a steam engine.

My next stop was going to be the Devils Bridge. I knew it was near a place called Gellyfelin but not quite sure where the path was located. As I drove down one of the winding roads I stopped and asked a walker who very helpfully said I was headed in the right direction and needed to find a post box where there was a layby. Then head down a lane and find that sign that points to Cwm Pwca ( Pucks Valley).

Keep an eye out for this sign.

Information Board.

Once I had found the path it was then a case of heading down and even steeper path. The journey down was like descending into another world of vibrant orange. The Beech Trees looked amazing and the path was covered in slippery wet leaves. You need to be careful you don't slip and fall over.

As I got deeper down into the gorge once again I heard the loud rushing noise of water and found the Devils Bridge ( Pwll Cwn).

Devils Bridge.

The Afon Clydach flows in a torrent under this old bridge and then plunges down through a narrow gap through the rocks. I could not find anywhere safe to get further down below the waterfall. The slope here around the gorge are wet, steep and the leaf litter is extremely slippery underfoot. I erred on the side of caution and viewed the waterfall from a safe position close to the path.

I then walked further upstream and found another waterfall cascade which was really pretty and deep down in the gorge.

Up river from Devils Bridge

This is as far as you can go.

I spent quite a bit of time here admiring the view. Its a very tranquil spot and it gave me vibes of Middle Earth and at any time I was half expecting a Wood Elf or a Hobbit to pop its head out from behind a tree.

My time was up however and I had to leave for an appointment.

I think just one  word  - "Gorgeous", is very apt for Cwm Clydach. I walked ( perhaps crawled would be a better word) back up the super steep slippery path.I was already planning between gasps of breath, my next trip to this magical part of the world.

See you next time.


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