Keeper's Pond - Punchbowl - Blorenge

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The Blorenge forms part of the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, which became a World Heritage Site in 2000 and is described as 'an outstanding and remarkably complete example of a 19th Century industrial landscape'. The S E Wales Hang-gliding and Paragliding Club bought it from the Coal Authority to safeguard access to one of the best light wind sites in South Wales (Site Reference 7.002, grid ref 275 122). After a two-year project, they became the registered owners of the 973-acre site in March 1999 and are the first UK club to own a major hill site. In the limestone beneath your feet, Ogof Draenen lies between Gilwern Hill and The Blorenge. It is the second longest cave in the United Kingdom and contains some of the largest cave passages, but is only open to experienced cavers. The entrance is near the Lamb and Fox public house.

This walk starts from a car park that is dedicated to Gwent Councillor Ron James, 'who so keenly sought its provision'. A good path leads around the Keeper's Pond to an interpretive sign which explains that the lake was formerly called Forge Pond, as it supplied power to nearby Garnddyrys Forge. From here, a bridleway crosses open ground before descending a bracken-clad hillside to reach Thomas Hill's Tramroad, where some stone tramroad sleepers can still be seen. This tramroad once carried pig iron from Blaenavon Ironworks to Garnddyrys Forge, where it was worked into wrought iron before being taken to the Llanfoist inclines and thence to Llanfoist Wharf on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.

The bridleway continues its clockwise circuit around The Blorenge to reach The Punchbowl. This was carved out by glacial action during the last Ice Age, although the lake is much more recent. Bluebells can be seen in spring. The bridleway leads uphill and enters beech woods that provided pannage during the Middle Ages. You may see birds such as green woodpeckers, together with bats around dusk and dawn.

After a short uphill walk on a minor road, a final zigzag along a track leads to the summit of The Blorenge. The track then crosses open ground on the summit plateau to reach the Foxhunter car park. Two conspicuous antennas behind the car park provide a prominent landmark. Minor roads lead back to the start of the walk. A highlight of this walk is the wide-ranging panorama that, on clear days, encompasses the Bristol Channel, the Brecon Beacons National Park, Abergavenny and the Black Mountains, the Sugar Loaf, the Skirrid (see Walk 1045) and the River Usk flood-plain.

Wales - South Wales - Monmouthshire - Black Mountains


Birds, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Industrial Archaeology, Lake/Loch, Woodland
1/22/2014 - Joyce Pentland

Did this walk today, 22nd January 2014, excellent walk, the directions are so easy to follow & there are lots of waymarked detours to extend the mileage. I would agree with the previous comment, fairly steep climb after the punch bowl wait until the top to have your lunch. The route through the wood was blocked in several places by fallen branches & tree trunks requiring careful maneuvering. Top Notch walk.

9/12/2012 - Roger Stevenson

Great walk, easy directions to follow, stunning views. One piece of advice. If you are taking food with you, don't eat it at the Punchbowl. Afterwards is a steep climb with a bench near the top. This makes a much better place to eat.

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