Ann Griffiths (1776 - 1805) was a Calvinistic Methodist hymn writer who lived the majority of her life in Dolanog, near Welshpool. Many people travel to the remote area to visit the places associated with her life and work. This 7 mile walk takes in a variety of landscapes from river valley and gorge through meadow and woodland to forestry plantation and bare hilltop. It follows closely the bank of the River Vyrnwy for most of its length.
Start your walk from the Forest Enterprise picnic site at Pont-Llogel, Llwydiarth, within the broader community of Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa. From this point a footpath leads down the road below the church of St Mary. Entering the lower car park encounter the first waymarker for the Walk. A loosely surfaced path, ideal for wheelchairs, runs downstream alongside the turbulent waters of the River Vyrnwy.
This sunny bank is designated a site of Special Scientific Interest, and visitors interested only in a short stroll can walk down to the picnic spot, returning by the higher path (colour-coded waymark posts). Whatever your indulgence, the work of Forest Enterprise in creating this area will be rewarding for all, giving fascinating wildlife insights as the seasons unfold. Tables beside the river, mark the end of the graded path, which runs on to a gate/stile to enter sheep pasture. The footpath leads on to cross a gated footbridge over the Nant Llwydiarth. Go right along the Ann Griffiths walk, fording the little stream, perhaps taking a glance right at the water's dancing cascade into the River Vyrnwy. Follow what appears little more than a sheep path beside the river, via a stile and through an open larch grove into a long meadow, accompanying the river, which runs through several attractive rocky constrictions. Cross a stile, with convenient sliding dog trap, below a charmingly sited cottage. Coming to the conclusion of the meadow, angle half left to a stile/gate. Ignore the cottage's access track, instead go right, crossing the plank and rail footbridge and subsequent stile/bridle-gate. The route passes the site of Rhyd yr Abadau, 'the abbot's ford', the name would suggest a significant crossing on an old pilgrim's route or monastic droveway.
Continue by gates to a stile then cross the sleeper footbridge, to enter woodland via a stile. The path begins to rise with steps, and overlooks a fine sweep of the river. Cross a stile partway up, the route contours out of the woodland passing a sheep pen to a gate onto the farm road. Opposite stands the farmyard and half-timbered farmhouse of Plas Dolanog, a fine period vernacular structure, built by the Watkin Williams Wynne family in 1664. Go left up to the road junction, a right turn would bring you quickly down into Dolanog, but hasten not! Allt Dolanog is one of the scenic high points of this walk and fully merits inclusion in anyone's itinerary.
The walk turns left, following B4382 northwards, until the white and black gateway of the lane to Dolwar Fach comes into view. The now combined waymarked routes leave the road right, at a stile/gate, onto the open common. Should you wish to take a glimpse of Ann Griffith's home, then make the short spur diversion down the metalled lane to Dolwar Fach. Now the home of the Jones family, who have been here since the Thomas' vacated the farm early in the C19th, although they will appreciate any genuine interest, do respect their privacy, especially if you glance into the old yard below the charming little farmhouse (rebuilt since her lifetime).
The Ann Griffiths Walk embarks upon Allt Dolanog's open pasture from the road, ascending beside a rutted track to a signpost at the brow, from where it is guided right. At a rusting McCormick mower, above a marsh bear left - at this point it is possible to pick out Cadair Berwyn, Arans Fawddwy and Benllyn, Maesglasau and Cadair Idris along the northern and western skyline. Rounding the corner of the hill, right, see the summit of Allt Dolanog, which carries the twin ramparts of the Iron Age hill fort Llys-y-cawr (the giant's court). Descend the steep bracken bank to join a track, the signpost directs the Ann Griffiths walk sharp left. However, a detour right is recommended, down the track to Pont Dolanog. The village has a shop, toilets, car park and most important of all, the Ann Griffiths Memorial Chapel. The chapel was built in 1903, the interior furnishings are uniformly simple Art Nouveau, the qualities of the Arts and Crafts Movement shining through most emphatically in the beautiful corbel heads, of which Ann Griffiths' is most serene, her youthful features faithful, as she died in childbirth aged 29 years - 'only the good die young'. Retrace your steps back up to the lane to continue her Bible Walk.
Shortly the track passes through a gate continuing in a shallow hollow-way in pasture, watch for the waymarking guiding more steeply tight to reach a charming footbridge over Nant Dolwar, the dingle above is similarly enchanting. The path rises beyond, sweeping up left as a hollow-way above a pasture to a track junction, a signpost directs right, beneath the mature conifer woodland passing through a gate. Hereafter the track progresses within woodland, well above the river, emerging onto a track, beside a wooden garden chalet. Continue to the road, go right to Pontrobert. The first dingle, Coed Lletty'r-aderyn, appropriately means 'the wood of the birds lodging', the next stretch beside a long meadow offers glimpses down upon a lively passage of the River Vyrnwy. All around are oak woods ringing with bird song. Rising over a bluff the road crosses Nant y Pandy which cascades impressively into the river. The walk duly enters the village, go left at the first junction, and left again up the lane to Hen Gapel John Hughes, where ends the Ann Griffiths Walk.