Peterchurch to Whitney Bridge

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Arthur's Stone
Map Marker Illustration
Peterchurch
Wellies Illustration
10.7 miles
Intro

A short distance from the trail (near Dorstone) lies the craggy ruin of Snodhill Castle, one of the largest and oldest Norman castles in Britain. Worth a visit, its unique features once included a 12-sided High Keep with a twin-turreted entrance and unusually elaborate defences. In 1402, Henry V ordered the castle garrison to prepare for an attack by Owain Glyndwr’s forces, but it is likely the castle was destroyed in the English Civil War. Forgotten for centuries, its secrets are now being uncovered thanks to a huge restoration effort.

Route Guide

This once turbulent border country bristled with castles. A mile away along the trail is Dorstone Castle Mound accessed on a path by the village hall.

Take refreshment at the Pandy Inn, before climbing the steep path up Dorstone Hill to Arthur’s Stone. This atmospheric Neolithic burial chamber predates Stonehenge by a millennium. Nearby, in 2013, archaeologists discovered the former sites of two 6,000-year-old ‘Halls of the Dead.’ Long-barrows, standing stones, flint scatters and stone axe discoveries across the uplands between the Wye and Golden Valleys are evidence of a Stone Age “integrated ceremonial landscape,” say experts.

Later, soak up superb views from wild Merbach Hill Common which overlooks the Wye Valley at more than 1,000 ft above sea level. Here, the trail heads down an old drovers’ road etched into the hillside.

There is no charge for foot sloggers crossing historic Whitney Toll Bridge, which dates from 1797. The placid-looking river can become a raging torrent after heavy rain in the Welsh hills. Three earlier bridges, as well as Whitney parish church, were all previously destroyed by the Wye in full spate.

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