Skirrid Mountain Walk

204 views · Feb 16, 2022
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Skirrid Mountain Walk

“Skirrid hill”, “Skirrid Mountain”, “Skirrid Fawr”, Ysgyryd Fawr (Welsh) or simply “The Skirrid” are five common name variations given to this unusually shaped mountain located on the eastern edge of the Black Mountains, in Monmouthshire, Wales.

I had never even heard of the Skirrid until the end of 2017 when I witnessed its odd shape for the first time while climbing Sugarloaf Mountain, just 6 km to the west. I remember sitting at the summit of Sugarloaf gazing at the intriguing Skirrid Mountain and mentally adding it to my hiking adventure list.

Skirrid Directions - How to get there

The Skirrid car park is situated just off the B4521 (Old Ross Road) just 1.5 miles (2.4 km) east of Abergavenny on the left-hand side. 

The Skirrid Mountain car park was improved significantly in 2016, courtesy of the National Trust. There is now parking available for 50 vehicles plus an additional overflow grassed area for a further 25.

Skirrid Car Park

Parking here is subject to pay and display and the Skirrid car park charges are £3 for cars and £6 for camper vans and minibuses. Please Note: these are the published 2016 rates and may have changed since. If the rates have changed, please advise in the comment box below this article.    

Skirrid Walking Route - Step by Step

The Skirrid walk starts at the western end of the Skirrid parking area and is highlighted by a large National Trust information board that is well worth reading prior to setting off.

Head through the gap in the hedge a short distance past the information board, turn right and follow the narrow stone/gravel path until you reach a gate at the edge of woodland. Go through the gate and follow the path to the right and into Caer Wood.

Continue to follow the well-made dirt path up through the woods. Although this section of the Skirrid Mountain walk is not excessively steep, you will experience a moderate climb for the next 15-20 minutes by which time you should be breathing fairly heavily.

You will then reach another wooden gate. Once you have passed through this gate, you can choose to take one of two Skirrid Mountain walks. Turn left and continue on the Skirrid circular walk (the one that I did) or head right and take the easy Skirrid walk option. This is a more gradual climb to the summit but you do go up and back using the same trail.

Having turned left, the path now becomes relatively flat as it follows the contours around the western side of the Skirrid and through the upper section of Pant Skirrid Wood.

"Looking for your next hiking challenge in the vicinity? Check out Blorenge Mountain across the Usk valley"

At first, the path is a wooden walkway that runs alongside a stone wall to your left. This soon turns into a typical dirt path that winds its way through charming rugged woodland.

Following the Skirrid's contours around the western side of the mountain

One minute you are walking under a lush verdant canopy on a muddy path and the next minute the canopy disappears and thick banks of ferns adorn the banks of the now grassy path.   

Every now and again, a gap will appear in the woods to your left exposing you to the wonderful green patchwork that are the fields of the Gavenny Valley to the west, beyond which sits the unmistakable Sugarloaf Mountain.

Did you know? The Skirrid to Sugarloaf distance is approximately 6 km (3.73 miles) summit to summit.

As you continue along the path, the woods gradually recede and you will catch sight of the steep, craggy western upper slopes of the Skirrid for the first time. A little further along the path and the wonderful sweeping views to the north open up, including the eastern edge of the Black Mountains.

The path gradually winds its way around the very steep northern slopes of the Skirrid. Once you reach the wooden waymarker it is time to climb Skirrid the hard way!

Having spent the last 30 minutes or so enjoying the relatively flat path that follows the mountain’s contours, it is now time for the short but very steep climb to the top of the Skirrid.

Near the wooden waypoint marker, you will take the path that runs directly up the mountainside, through the field of ferns that adorn the lower half of the slope. The ferns then give way to an even steeper grassy slope.

After 15-20 minutes of heart pumping, thigh aching effort the trig point at the Skirrid’s summit will come into sight. And what a relief that is!
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