A group of 12 walkers joined Sheila from Penarth and District Ramblers near The Star in Wick village at the start an 8 mile journey through the delightful Vale of Glamorgan following a Valeways leafleted walk entitled The Hidden Vale.
Setting off on their socially distanced walk in bright sunshine and following the quiet Ewenny Road for a short distance past areas beside the road that had been re-seeded with wild flower mixtures, they headed into fields passing growing lambs and calves on the journey to Clemenstone. The estate was developed by the Franklen family in the 19th century and was eventually broken up because of the lack of a male heir. A lovely old stone stile brought them into an uneven meadow and downhill to a track where they were passed by two horse riders, whilst being barked at by a small dog in the garden of the lovely Victorian North Lodge.
Following the rough track past the lodge and chatting to three men who were rebuilding the stone wall on the road bridge over the Clemenstone Brook, a field led them to the unmanned railway crossing and onwards to the pretty bridge over the Afon Alun. This marks the spot where a fair sized village one stood, which had its own church and a mill beside the river, but for some reason was abandoned and lost forever.
A narrow partly overgrown green lane led them uphill to a lovely old stone stile and after crossing they were able to view Llampha Court which was built in the early 19th century and is Grade II listed. Heading across another stone stile, a stone boundary wall made the perfect place in a corner of a field to pause for morning break out of the breeze, with the added bonus of home-baked carrot, nut and coconut cake from Sue R.
Overhead a rather dark ominous cloud was making its presence felt as the group moved on towards a road as the temperature dropped considerably, but thankfully no rain fell. Following a short road walk they were back into fields heading towards Ty-maen Farm on the perimeter of Colwinston, where sturdy inquisitive calves ran forward to greet them whilst their mothers continued to chew grass realising the group were no threat. Making towards the 12th century village church, which is dedicated to St Michael and All Angels, a stop for a leisurely lunch as another black cloud passed overhead before the sun returned.
Continuing through Colwinston passing The Sycamore Tree pub the village War Memorial was the next stop. Colwinston is a ‘Thankful Village’ as the 23 men who were mostly agricultural workers that went off to fight in the Great War all returned home alive and well. But the four men who lost their lives in WW2 are commemorated, including Agatha Christie’s son-in-law from nearby Pwllywrach which she visited on a regular basis.
Heading down between two houses and clambering over an awkward stile led them back into a huge field filled with sheep and lambs and gradually downhill through meadows to follow a road towards Stembridge Farm. Deviating off the road and crossing a wooden footbridge beside the 19th century Baptismal Pool, that belonged to the local Baptist Church, a very boggy meadow followed near Mill Farm, where they were overlooked by an audience of cattle held back by a temporary fence, that were also having problems in negotiating the boggy meadow.
Crossing the Llandow Brook and entering the village they made for the Holy Trinity Church for a short afternoon break, before continuing past the 17th century Great House and some road walking, before re-entering fields on the journey to Tynycaia. Past an old WW2 Pillbox and a pony in a snazzy coat calling to three other horses in the nearby barn, before carefully re-crossing the railway line after a high speed train had passed through, they picked their way across a boggy area to arrive at Sutton. This rambling old house was built by Edward Turberville in the late 16th century and making their way past its idyllic pond, pigsty and old barns, a large field filled with ewes and lambs led them up to a field of barley being blown about by a fierce wind, and tramping through tractor tram lines to open ground near the field edge, a large hare speedily bounded past them. Three friendly horses greeted them as they made their way through fields back to their last stile and following pavements at Wick they returned to their start where several of the group enjoyed a post-walk drink at The Star prior to their journey home.
You can follow the group’s exploits before, during and after lockdown on Facebook.