By: Blonde Two
Being born in Worcestershire, the River Severn or Afon Hafren to give it its Welsh name, has been part of my life for a long time. In those parts it floods a lot, looks fabulous from the Malvern Hills and is a bit too brown and grumpy for meaningful swimming. As my place of birth was within smelling distance of the Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce factory (fabulous on scrambled eggs) I am surprised I haven’t thought of visiting the Source of the River Severn before now.
Walking the length of rivers from source to sea is a fabulous idea and can take you through a lot of history. However rivers that rise on moorland usually have their origins in smelly, hard-to-negotiate bogs, these generally being in the middle of nowhere and tricky to find. Not so the mighty Afon Hafren! A couple of weeks ago I accompanied Mr B2 on a (his) bike packing trip to Mid Wales and, while he was heaving his bike over numerous fallen trees, squelching through bogs and fighting off midges in his bivvy bag, I had the luxury of my own field, the camper van and the opportunity to do some exploring on foot.
I can thoroughly recommend the walk up through Hafren Forest up to the Source of the Severn. It is well way-marked, follows tumbling waterfall after tumbling waterfall and climbs steeply enough to give your legs a good workout. As you climb you pass through managed coniferous forest and young native forest before you meet the fire road that marks the start of the moorland section. This has been beautifully protected by a stone path and then flagstones, all the way to the Source, which is marked, in English and Welsh by a rather lovely wooden post.
I spent a very pleasant half hour at the top enjoying the stillness of the pools and the business of the dragon flies. The sun was shining and I only had a couple of friendly visitors to interrupt my thoughts. It was one of those lovely outdoor moments you wish you could bottle and keep for ever.
Well done Wales. It was good to see you in all your natural sunshiny glory.