Llanfair Waterdine to Upper Duffryn. Welsh, Work and Wildlife.
Stoned Tracks, lanes and cross field bridleways
Clun, Llanfair Waterdine
Lat/Long: 52.3794694587, -3.1149929899
A 5.25 mile linear route from Llanfair Waterdine to Duffryn much of it through a working landscape and in the hills over 1,000ft affording beautiful views. The route takes you through the beautiful Teme Valley and into an area called the Clun Forest, although but a few remnants of the ancient forest exist today. The landscape is one of soft undulating hills with a remoteness that takes your breath away.
The place names along the Blue Remembered Hills Bridleway now reflect the Welsh influence. We are west of Offa’s Dyke and the Norman defence line. We are close to the current border between England and Wales marked by the river Teme. The prefix of Llan meaning church or village becomes widespread. Bryn (hill) and Cwm (combe) are common place. The Bridleway climbs up out of the Teme Valley, over the watershed, and down into the Clun Valley to Upper Dyffryn (meaning ‘valley’).
This area is called the Clun Forest. There was once a large forest covering an area that stretched from Ludlow up the Clun Valley. There are few remnants of the forest today but ancient woodland does still exist in some deep, inaccessible valleys and a fairly large area of forest sits on the English/Welsh border north of Anchor. The current landscape is one of soft undulating hills with a remoteness that takes your breath away.
The countryside here is very much a working landscape, much of it over 1,000ft. Farming in the area is predominantly concerned with stock rearing and there is very little arable land. Cattle and sheep graze contentedly but farming at this altitude can be an inhospitable occupation and it is a struggle to derive a livelihood from this beautiful countryside.
There was once a large forest covering an area that stretched from Ludlow up the Clun Valley.
There are two native sheep breeds that have developed in the area. The Clun Forest is a highly adaptable sheep with high disease resistancy and is now reared in many countries around the world. The breed characteristics are a dark brown, speckle free face with wool on top of the head and small pricked ears. In contrast the Kerry Hill sheep are quite distinctive. The breed has panda-like markings and pricked ears. These were bred to survive the harsh hill conditions and originated around the small town of Kerry in Powys.
You may be lucky enough to spot the Red Kite soaring above with its distinctive chestnut red colour and forked tail. Persecution of these elegant birds in 17th and 18th centuries resulted in virtual extinction in Britain. A few pairs managed to hang on in Mid Wales and concerted efforts by landowners, rural communities and dedicated individuals and organisations have resulted in an increase of the Red Kite population.