Pool of Avarice - Report

Pool of Avarice – Report

Sunday 22nd June 2014

Walk to the “Pool of Avarice”

Of the group who turned up for this walk only two knew where they were going – all the others were regular visitors to Twmbarlwm and claim to know it like the back of their hands, but they didn’t know about Pwll Tra – so this added to the myth of the location of this mysterious pool.

47 good legs met up at the car park, so not a bad gathering really (seven dogs, nine fit humans plus Terry with a bad knee ). Already at 11am it was brilliant sunshine and very warm so when we got up onto the ridgeway the slight breeze was very welcoming. The sky larks were rising from the undergrowth and flying high above us, obviously enjoying the gorgeous weather and the abundance of insects it brings – unfortunately the cuckoo was not to be heard anywhere, some say they were last heard just 4 or 5 days ago.

Rob must have had several cans of Red Bull (other energy drinks are available) for breakfast as he set a good pace across the ridgeway – but we managed to haul him back in. As we dropped down to car park two of the forest drive we encountered a group of mountain bikers fixing a puncture on on of their  bikes – turns out they had travelled all the way from the SE of England to visit our lovely mountain.

As we walked on up the forestry road we came to a picnic bench, set in the middle of nowhere, but surrounded by a pile of plastic bottles and sandwich wrappers.

This location is alongside the cycle track so make your own assumptions of who brought the litter here – whoever it is, they have managed to carry the full bottles up here but then find it too much trouble to carry the empty ones back down with them (see the photos in the gallery).

Soon after the litter incident we took the secret turning off the beaten track. There’s evidence that this was once a well used lane, with deciduous trees either side – and suddenly it opens into a clearing and off to one side we see the bank of ferns give way to reeds surrounding the tranquil looking pool. Some of the dogs were quick to go and investigate and drink their fill because it had been a dry trek so far.

All who hadn’t seen the pool before were quite amazed to see it – it’s not huge but big enough to come as a surprise those locals who haven’t spotted it before – it’s an oval about 30m x 20m and deep enough for the dogs to swim in but I wouldn’t like to guess at the depth. There’s plenty of freshwater weed in it and loads of damselflies and other wildlife around it – so it’s obviously quite a healthy pool. BUT – there is no stream running into it or out of it, Rob set us the task of searching around it to see if we could find any evidence of a water source, but to no avail.

We settled down on the grassy bank under the trees overlooking the pool to have our picnics – and Rob regaled us with the legend of Pwll Tra and recited Arwyn Evans’ Haibun poem (complete with sound effects).

Everyone remarked what a beautiful, peaceful hideaway this is and resolved to return here for their own moments of solitude.

Unfortunately there is much evidence of the larch disease in the surrounding trees and it will be a great tragedy when they are taken down by Natural Resources Wales as they have declared they will start doing in November of this year. We resolved that we should contact NRW to ensure that this area is treated with great care when this area is felled.

Terry’s dogs then put on a display of their retrieving abilities of sticks from the pond while Mike’s dogs looked on from the shallows – they were all very glad of the cooling properties of the crystal clear water (footnote: their coats were beautifully clean and smooth at the end of the day, as though we had used a conditioner on them – is this a new property of the pool).

Fully refreshed, both physically and spiritually, we carried on down the ancient lane which eventually took us back around to car park two – where we stopped for another breather at the picnic site, before climbing back up to the ridgeway. Half the group then split off back to our starting point while the rest continued to the Twmp itself – personally I can’t walk up to Twmbarlwm without taking in the Twmp as well. As usual, on such a sunny day the views were magnificent over the channel in one direction and to the Beacons in the other.

It was only about a four or five mile walk, but on such a warm day it felt like more – and it was even more satisfying to know that everyone who came along were surprised by what we found and thoroughly enjoyed their day out.

Rob has promised to do the walk again later in the year, so please make sure you watch this website and Facebook for announcements.

Read the story of Pwll Tra here – written after a previous visit to this very special location