Key information: Hatterrall Ridge
- Walkopedia’s favourite walking in the Black Mountains has to be this fantastic long easternmost ridge of the Black Mountains, with huge views across the green beauties of western England, as well as westward over the lovely, hidden Vale of Ewyas to the central ridges.
- Walk the length o the ridge, or create some stunning circuits.
- Walkopedia rating86.5
- Natural interest14.5
- Human interest12
- Negative points1
- Total rating86.5
- Note: Neg: popularity
- Length: Day or less
- Maximum Altitude: 703m
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
Walkopedia’s favourite walking in the Black Mountains has to be the fantastic Hatterrall Ridge, the long (11 or so miles) ridge from the ancient hill fort above Pandy to Hay Bluff above Hay on Wye.
This is the easternmost ridge of the Black Mountains and accordingly has huge views (said to be up to 40 miles – you can easily see the Malvern Hills) across the green beauties of western England, as well as westward over the beautiful Vale of Ewyas to the range’s central ridges. The ridge is both the England-Wales border and possibly the finest stretch of Offa’s Dyke Path.
The beautiful long ridges and verdant hidden valleys of Wales’ Black Mountains make perfect walking country. The mountains’ defining feature is their long, generally north-south ridges: rough moorland of heather, bilberries and grass, with sheep-cropped grass, bracken and wood on their often very steep flanks; between them lie delicious little valleys of farmland, hamlet and the odd special place like Llanthony Priory. You will see birds of prey, a lot of sheep and groups of nearly-wild Welsh mountain ponies.
The Ridge is, for much of its northern length, sufficiently wide that the majority of your view you is its gently undulating, slightly featureless moorland, with fairly limited views to each side, albeit slightly more to the west of the further Black Mountain ridges receding into the blue distance. Every so often you wind closer to the lip of the great drop to the east, so you get more of the huge eastward views across Herefordshire.
You could walk the entire ridge in a longish but not difficult day,or
Create a circuit (which manages to combine the charming and the dramatic) from tiny Capel-y-Ffin or the atmospheric ruins of Llanthony Priory, climbing onto Hatterrall Ridge to join Offa’s Dyke Path for a way before circuiting back, or
Make the wonderful circuit combining the northern end of the Ridge with the Black Hill Ridge, which runs up from the upper Monnow valley to join the far north of the Hatterrall Ridge just east of Hay Bluff which is is in Walkopedia's view, the most enjoyable single walk you can make in the Black Mountains. Black Hill Ridgeis pure FUN, a long and ludicrously narrow ridge with crags below, exciting and atmospheric but never intimidating, which climbs from just north of Longtown to Black Hill, with mouth-wateringly pretty views on each side, and the imposing flank below Hatterrall Ridge a mile or so away.
A Walkopedia favourite place to stay is the charming (and pleasingly unmodernized) Llanthony Priory Hotel, with rooms up a spiral-staircased tower of the eponymous priory.
Expect unpredictable weather: this is one of the wetter bits of the UK!
The book you will need is Cicerone’s Offa’s Dyke Path. And http://www.walkingbritain.co.uk/walks/walks/walk_b/3342/ has further detailed information.
FOR MORE WALKS AND PRACTICAL AND FURTHER INFORMATION, GO TO OUR BLACK MOUNTAINS PAGE.
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