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Stage 8

Hay-on-Wye to Bredwardine

Stage 8

Hay-on-Wye to Bredwardine

This is an undulating section with a steep ascent and descent at Merbach Hill near the end of the section. Leaving Hay cross the Dulas Brook, marking the Wales/England boundary. The route crosses fields, passing Priory Farm, its name hinting at its earlier use, and continues over fields and along country lanes. Just before Locksters Pool Farm the path follows the former track of the Golden Valley Railway for a short distance.

This was the land of the Norman Marcher Lords and the route passes a motte and bailey at Lower Castleton (and at Bredwardine). There's a hefty climb up Merbach Hill, which at 1000ft (305m) gives views of the Welsh Hills and the Malverns. The bridleway here may have been an old drovers' route bringing livestock to the markets of the Midlands and London. There is a steep descent down to Bredwardine.

Elevation profile

Route Facts

Wye Bridge, Hay-o- Wye
Red Lion Hotel, Bredwardine
8.5 miles (13.7 km)
Height ascent:
1396ft (426m)
OS Map:
Explorer 201 Knighton & Presteigne
None on route.
Public Transport:
Brecon to Hereford bus services pass through Hay-on-Wye. Bus service between Hereford and Bredwardine.
Passport Collection Point:
St Andrew's Church, Bredwardine


Merbach Hill

Once an important grazing area for local farms, Merbach Common is now a nature reserve with butterflies, birds and dormice. The Wye Valley Walk follows a bridleway, which was probably an old drovers’ route taking cattle and livestock to the markets of the Midlands and London long before the railways arrived. From the cairn on the summit of Merbach Hill eleven counties can be seen on a clear day.

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The lost village of Crafta Webb

After former tramp turned millionaire George Davies left £30,000 to help the local poor the unusual settlement of Crafta Webb appeared almost overnight on Bredwardine Hill. Under the 'one night house' idea people believed if they built a house on common land, with smoke coming out of the chimney in one night, the land belonged to them. Francis Kilvert recorded visits to the thriving village of 400 people in his diaries but by 1900 everyone had gone. It’s now called the 'shrunken' village.

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Kilvert Country

One of the finest nature and travel writers of the 19th century, Francis Kilvert, was the vicar of Clyro and Bredwardine. He kept a diary recording day-to-day events of life as he saw them, telling of a way of life on the Welsh border which has been lost. A memorial seat, under the huge yew tree in Bredwardine churchyard, commemorates Francis, who died here in 1879, aged just 38. His grave is a marble cross on the North side of St Andrew’s Church.

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PLan Your Adventure

Passport StampBoots Illustration

Wye Valley
Walk Passport

It’s a fantastic achievement to walk all 136 miles. Mark the miles by keeping a record of your journey, collecting (digital) passport stamps along the route…