Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Dog Walking Holiday; Wye Valley, Wales

We're back from a lovely weekend in Wales; this was my first time visiting Wales and I'm completely in love with the scenery, it's beautiful! I understand there's a whole lot more of Wales to explore but we've made a start at least.

We set off early Saturday morning down the M4 towards Wales and looked a little worriedly at each other as we drove through a heavy snow storm! Thankfully as soon as we got into Wales we had nothing but glorious sunshine the whole weekend we were there. It was noticeably chilly, but you could certainly feel the sun's warmth when lugging the camera bag around and striding out on our walks. I'd planned a whole itinerary for the weekend, much to Jack's amusement, but I think he's glad about me being organised.

Walk 1: 'Trellech Beacon'
First stop was just outside of Trellech, to a Forestry Commission car park. Once parked, we donned the walking boots (my new walking boots have been well and truly christened this weekend) and an excitable Barry was very pleased to be out of the car and ready to explore. Our first walk consisted of an easy 3.5 mile walk around woodland and heathland, also taking in the beautiful Cleddon Falls. It was the perfect way to ease us into the Wye Valley, with beautiful views too. Barry loved drinking and splashing in Cleddon Falls and relished jumping from rock to rock too, we swear he's part Mountain Goat!

Our route

Barry the Mountain Goat

I absolutely loved this mossy wall

Splashing around Cleddon Falls

Part of Cleddon Falls

After Walk 1, we got back into the car and drove back into England to a lovely place called Clearwell, where we stopped at The Butchers Arms for some lunch. The staff here were very friendly and it was lovely to talk about places nearby and about Jack Russells too. Barry was more than happy to sit under the table while we ate some lunch, to see if Jack or I would drop a chip! I did come prepared though and he gobbled up a chew pretty quickly. We then got back into the car (much to Barry's disgust - he's been a very good boy with all the car journeys this weekend though) and headed back onto Wales' side of the Wye Valley and onto Penallt, near Monmouth where we were staying on Saturday night.

I booked a B&B room a while back at the lovely 'Inn at Penallt'. It looked like a great location for some walks, was pet friendly and the menu for the evening looked good too (always thinking with my stomach). We parked up the car as it was too early to check in and instead headed off on the next walk I had planned - all walks I found via Google, I'll provide links at the end of the blog.

Walk 2: 'The Penallt-imate' (Jack's name for it!)
This walk was slightly longer than our first walk at 4 miles, but considerably more a 'hiking' route as opposed to walking, with various terrains and hills (my they were hills!). This walk took in woodlands carpeted with Bluebells, open grassland while walking along the River Wye, a couple of pubs along the way (we stopped at one) and a small amount of roadwork (Where we only met one car the whole time). I loved this walk, it was certainly tough in places climbing up through steep woodland, but the views were fantastic and the River Wye looked lovely in the sunshine. I'd certainly like to come back again in the summer when the trees are full of leaves. We stopped at The Boathouse pub for a quick drink part-way around this circular walk before continuing on through beautiful Bluebell woodlands. The climb was tiring on the way up but when you reach the old church at Penallt you're rewarded with stunning views.

Our route

River Wye

The noser/poser

"Come on Mum, keep up!"

Old Church at Penallt

Great views when we had a rest at the church before the final climb back to where we were staying

We finally made it back to the Inn at Penallt feeling a little weary and rather hot in the sunshine and big coats. We checked into our room which was a lovely cosy room separate from the main pub and overlooked the pretty gardens. As soon as Jack had lifted Barry's crate into the room, Barry went straight into it and fell fast asleep, I think we wore him out! We had a little rest for a short while too and a nice shower before leaving Barry with his dinner while we went for ours. I'd had a quick nose at the menu before I booked us in and it sounded great but I wasn't expecting such fantastic food (food in general was good when you're tired and hungry!). I had a lovely leek and potato soup to start, followed by pork belly. Jack of course had dessert too but I was feeling rather tired and full by that stage. The food was delicious and the pub was very popular so a great atmosphere too. You are able to eat in the bar side of the pub with your dog if you want to but as Barry was so tired we decided to leave him to happily snooze in the room.

Fantastic food in the pub for dinner, an added bonus after a day of walking

We slept well on Saturday night and woke up feeling ready for some more walking on Sunday. The breakfast included in our stay was so yummy; we picked from a menu the evening before so it was cooked fresh once you arrived at your table. It set us up for the day and not long afterwards we checked out of the room and drove towards Abergavenny for our final walk.

Tasty Full Welsh Breakfast

Walk 3: Blorenge Mountain
We drove to the 'foxhunter' car park part-way up Blorenge Mountain. Once out of the car the walking route to the top of the mountain is nearby and is mostly over rocky upland, though can be a bit boggy and slippery in places (cue filthy dog and lots of rock jumping too!). It was quite chilly as we set off, although the sun shone which did keep us a little warmer. It was a fun walk to the top; Barry is incapable of walking, he instead chooses to run and bounce everywhere, but he had us in stitches trying to leap over some of the boggiest areas. Sometimes he'd run straight through them covering himself in mud and then other times he'd leap like a Gazelle over them. It didn't take too long to reach the top and front of the mountain where we sat down overlooking Abergavenny below. The views were fantastic as the weather was so bright and clear and we had lots of sheep grazing around us too (as responsible dog owners Barry was back on his lead at this point so as not to scare the sheep and their lambs, even though he didn't show too much of an interest in them anyway). We then headed back the way we came, choosing a slightly rockier route to pretend we too were Mountain Goats! In all this was just under a 3 mile walk.

Our route

So glad we remembered our hats!

Rock climbing can be added to Barry's favourite hobbies

My Two Favourites xx

Barry & I


View from Blorenge Mountain of Abergavenny below

Blurry photo as my shutter speed wasn't correct but it gives you an idea of how Barry chooses to get around!

Flying Jack Russell Again!

We got back to the car, attempted to clean some of the mud off of Bazza before heading back down the mountain and into Abergavenny. We found a Waitrose and bought ourselves a sandwich for lunch to see us through the journey home and ate it in the car park while Barry chomped on a chew I gave him. We then set off home, going back through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.

We had a fantastic time and it's shown us just how stress-free it is to pop in the car, drive a couple of hours to somewhere different to enjoy a walking holiday together. We're already looking into some other holidays and I definitely want to return to Wales soon (suggestions of where to go next are appreciated). Barry still isn't massively keen on the car, but there was no sickness at all this weekend and other than a small amount of panting and crying as we arrived at our destinations he was as good as gold. He was so exhausted on Sunday that when we got all the way home after a 2 hour car journey we were amazed as we pulled onto our gravel driveway and didn't hear a peep from him in the boot. When we opened the boot he was squinting back at us with a wrinkled face, he'd obviously been fast asleep the whole way home! I gave him a good bath on Sunday afternoon as the boggy mud was hard to get off, and he then promptly curled up in my lap to dry off and snooze. We all went to bed early on Sunday night!

This is where Barry loves to dry off after a bath, wrapped in a towel on my lap!

Sorry that this post has been so photo-heavy! I have to say it was lovely getting the camera back out again though and the photography bug has returned! I've included a few links below to the walks we completed and where we stayed. It's really worth a visit!

Helpful Links:
The Inn at Penallt B&B; http://www.theinnatpenallt.co.uk/ 
Walk 3: Blorenge Mountain; http://www.abergavenny.org.uk/blorenge.htm
The Boat Inn, Penallt; http://www.theboatpenallt.co.uk/

Em x


  1. So glad you had lovely weather you were not to far from me, everyone thinks it does nothing but rain in Wales they are so wrong we have had brilliant sunshine for 9 days now, perhaps on your next visit we will meet up :-)

    1. Hi Dawn, gutted to hear I wasn't far from you, if I'd have known I'd have planned to visit (though I'd probably not want to leave again haha), definitely next time though! I will be back to Wales as soon as possible, I'd move there tomorrow if Jack would let me! x

  2. I agree with Dawn the weather has been wonderful in Wales lately. Mike & I spent most of Sunday in the garden. It looks like the three of you had a fabulous time, Barry looks very happy in the photos. xx

    1. The weather really was lovely there Jo, glad you got out in the garden too (loved the photos of Rocky helping with the gardening!). Barry had a fab time in Wales, he was certainly a very worn out dog. Took him to the vets yesterday for his annual boosters and the vet was even commenting on what a muscly little dog he is! xx