16/11/2017

A Photographer's Insight- Dog walks

Having become a dog owner for the first time around November last year, my eyes have been opened. I was surprised how restricted you can be as a dog owner if you are bringing you pets. I had always thought any areas were dog friendly (providing they were on a lead). It was only after we were looking at going to a beach that someone said 'Oh, you better check if dogs are allowed!' that I realised life with a dog can be a lot more restricted than before.

Although still not far away (1 hour or so) beaches are one thing we don't have in the Brecon Beacons, but we do have mountains, forest, rivers and fields. Especially as a farming area I am really aware of being careful around livestock, keeping your dog under control and on a lead, away from the animals at all times, as there have been tragedies in the area where the livestock have been injured and the dog(s) destroyed.

The good thing about the Brecon Beacons National Park are the miles of foot paths that are dog friendly. I haven't seen or walked them all, here are a few that Bella and I both enjoy:

Tor-Y-Foel (about 20 mins to the top)

The start is a steep trudge, but it is really short blast, about 20 mins up from the Beacons Way car park to the top, you can drop down the other side into Llangynider and finish the walk off with a drink in the Coach and Horses, which is child and dog friendly!

(The longer route I haven’t done is from the village of Talybont-on-Usk instead of driving up to the carpark or even longer route from Bwlch at 10 miles, known locally as the 'Bwlch with Magnitude' walk).

The views from the top of Tor-Y-Foel stretch over to the Sugar Loaf in Abergavenny in the east and Pen-Y-Fan, the highest peak in southern Britain, in the west. Sheep on the hillside most of the year, so this is a walk that you have to keep an eye on dog.

There are quite a few other walks in this area; the list could go on, but I would also suggest, the waterfalls walk at the end of the reservoir (carpark at the bottom also about 20 mins, good walk to do if you have kids as it is not very taxing), and the Ty Henry Vaughan Walk from Talybont-On-Usk, a popular one with other dog walkers and cyclists as this is part of the Taff Trail.

If you have a particularly energetic dog, there is a walk from the top of the valley above the reservoir that will lead you along the backs of all the Beacons and is about 6-8 hours.

Usefull links:

http://www.breconbeacons.org/explore/things_to_do/walking/where_to_walk/longer_walks/bwlch-toryfoel

https://talybontonusk.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/vaughan-walk-leaflet-for-website-05-17.pdf

https://www.walkscene.co.uk/map_view_61/talybont_waterfalls_walk

http://www.breconbeacons.org/explore/things_to_do/walking/where_to_walk/short_walks/talybont_valley

https://talybontonusk.com/

The Skirrid (about 40 mins to the top)

Over towards the Wales-England border, on the far eastern side of the national park is the Skirrid mountain.

Park at the National Trust Carpark (not very expensive like some NT carparks) and walk up through the woods, the footpath is clearly seen.

This walk is a really enjoyable one, the woods are great for Bella’s need to sniff things out and wander and when you break through to the top, the view is spectacular, it is even more of a 360 degree view over the Black Mountains and even over to the Malvern Hills. There are no sheep in the woods but there are on the top of the mountain which is fenced off and you pass through a gate.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sugarloaf-and-usk-valley/trails/skirrid-fawr-walk-a-mountain-of-mud-and-myths

So there are a couple of walks, not incredibly long because Bella has only got little legs, but ones that we have both really enjoyed recently. Happy Dog, happy me.

View from the top of Tor-Y-Foel looking at the Sugar Loaf mountian