Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here. My human and me went for a walk around the Erddig estate on the morning of Halloween. During the previous night the weather had been awful. There had been heavy rain and high winds, but when we ventured out the winds had died off and the sun was shining. Great walking weather according to the big feller. It sounded good to me also, mud and puddles ahead!
Erddig is a stately home run by the National Trust in north-east Wales. There are numerous carparks around the estate, but we chose the main carpark close-by the house. We would start our walk at the Dovecote and follow the red waymarked route. This route is 3.5 miles long and takes in a variety of areas of the estate. It is called the Coed Fforest / Dol Ffrengig walk or the Forest Wood / French Meadow walk.
As we left the walled carpark I found a rather still but very colourful sheep. After an investigative sniff I decided that there was no fun to be had there so we moved on.
The route led us along a track to the ornate wrought iron gates at the rear of the mansion where we had a lovely view along the canal feature of the full splendour of the house. Most importantly, I found the muddy puddles. I was allowed to have a short blast through these while I ran free from the constraints of my lead. Bliss! I even managed to lay down in one. Misery Guts wasn’t as enthusiastic as me about the lovely squelchy mud.
We entered Big Wood with the path running through the trees. They were mainly oak and sycamore according to my human. I was spoilt for choice on which to mark as mine, but I found several suitable spots. We were in the woods for a while before we reached Lime Walk which is a long straight avenue of trees with lovely views across the French Meadow. We also had good views of the Clywedog Valley which we had walked recently. I thought that we were the only pooch and person left on the planet as we hadn’t seen another soul on our walk.
As we left the Lime Walk we had a short and fairly steep section of road walking down to Sontley carpark. The next section was my kind of walk. We entered the French Meadow and crossed through the fields. It was wet, wet, wet. Not the Scottish group, just mahoosive puddles. The big feller cursed as the water filled his boots. I can’t physically laugh, but I was howling inside. Well, we walking through the Clywedog flood plain after a storm, after all. We passed close to a lake formed due to land subsidence in the 1980’s caused by coal mining at Bersham.
Those of you who have been following our hikes will be familiar with the very annoying habit that my human has of singing as we walk. This time I had to put up with an old punk song called Hersham Boys by Sham 69. He was singing the word Bersham instead of the correct lyric. He really thinks that he is funny and he really thinks that he can sing. I have news for him. Neither is true.
We plodded on with his boots making an alarming loud squelching sound until we left the meadow by a stone bridge over the Clywedog. On turning left we walked along a wide stone track running alongside Black Brook. Soon we crossed a wooden footbridge that took us to the Cup and Saucer. This is a cylindrical waterfall built in the 1770’s to drain water from Black Brook to prevent erosion. Just next to it is a hydraulic ram that was built shortly after the Cup and Saucer to pump water 90 feet uphill to water the formal gardens and supply the mansions fountains. I wasn’t even allowed to have a drink from the Cup and Saucer for a reason only my human knows. He is health and safety mad.
We walked through some fields that are sometimes used by the Erddig Shire Horses. They weren’t there. What was there was a number of young cattle. I have to walk quickly and close to my human in fields of cattle. We had to watch where we trod because these beasts must have eaten a bad curry the previous night. This was not a pleasant section of the walk as these land-mines were huge and everywhere!
We left the field by an obvious, but unmarked exit, into woodland and up a slope. We joined one of the estate lanes for a short section before turning left along a green lane. This lane passed Sontley Farm before entering oak woodland of Forest Wood. At this point it started to rain so we picked up the pace as we were nearly back at the carpark. The trees that lined the lane were Giant Redwoods that were of the first to be introduced to the country.
We left the trees and crossed a field that took us back to the Dovecote as the rain stopped and the sun broke through again. That was the end of our little walk. I was filthy and smelt a little of cow poo, according to my disgusted human. He would have to shower me when we returned home. Ha! Till next time!