2013 - To start the Wye Explorer project we:
1) Followed the River Lugg from source in the Radnor Forest. Ascent approximately: 700 meters (2,296 Ft) - Distance Walked 58 Miles (93 Km). Other Details: 5 Camps, 2 towns and numerous people met. Date: July 20-25th.
2) Investigated the Mid/Lower Wye Gorge. Approximate Ascent: Sea Level - Distance Walked: An easy 15 Miles (24KM). Other Details: 2 camps, 1 town and 1 return bus journey. Date: October 11-12th.
2014 - We increased the distance and:
1) Hiked the River Frome from source through to Hereford. Ascent approximately: 250 meters (820 Ft) - Distance Walked: 28 Miles (45 Km). Other Details: 1 camp in a cricket pavilion and 1 bus journey. Date: April 18-20th.
2) Meandered the River Arrow from source in the Radnor Forest. Ascent approximately: 400 meters (1,300 Ft) - Distance Walked: 35 Miles (56 Km). Other Details: 2 camps, 2 towns, 1 car and 1 bus journey. Date: May 2-4th.
3) Approached walked and navigated to the Source of the Wye and traversed its valley to Rhayader. Ascent Approximately: 800 meters (2,600 Ft) - Distance Walked 64 Km (40 miles). Other Details: 4 camps (one at source), 2 towns, 1 village and 4 bus journeys. Date: August 22-25th.
4) Explored the Black Mountains connection via walking the River Honddu and Monnow both from source. Ascent approximately: 1,200 meters (3,937 Ft) - Distance Walked Combined: 53 Miles (85 Km). Other Details: 5 camps, 2 towns and 2 bus journeys. Date: September 13,14,15 (Honddu) and (Monnow) September 26,27,28.
5) SOLO recced the Radnor Forest a Wye distant water source. Ascent approximately: 600 meters (1,900 Ft) - Distance Walked: 23 Miles (37 Km) on account of missing the last bus. Date: October 11th.
6) Video documented one performance art project - Jess Allen
7) Created several rock balances on the Wye & Monnow.
8) Created numerous short films as featured on this site.
2015 - We started 2015 by:
1) Exploring the River Ennig and its waterfalls whilst in spate. Ascent approximately: 500 M (1,640Ft) - Distance Walked: 8.5 Miles (14KM) and 1 return bus journey. Date: 17th January.
2) Hiked the Afon Llynfi with a wild camp meet up and a brief investigation of Llangorse Lake. Ascent approximately 400 M (1,300 ft) - Distance Walked: 23 miles 37KM. Other Details: 1 wild camp, 1 abandoned caravan, 2 towns, 4 villages, and 4 bus journeys. Date: 11, 12 and 13th April.
3) Exploring the connection between the mighty Humber Estuary in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire and the River Wye. Ascent approximately: Flat Sea Level - Distance Walked: 15 Miles. Other Details: 3 Bivvies/1 Bird Hide, 1 family gathering. Date: May 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8th.
4) Section Hiked the Lower River Wye - Trellech to Chepstow via Llandogo, St Briavels, Hudnalls National Nature Reserve and the Devils Pulpit. Ascent approximately: 250 M (800 Ft) - Distance Walked: 24 Miles 39KM. Other Details: 3 Bivvies 1 in a building site, 1 Spring, 1 Waterfall, 1 Castle, 2 German girls, 1 Canadian and a good number of local people met. Date: May 30th/31st - June 2nd.
5) SOLO - Solstice Swim. Early morning Distance Swam: A dip 300 Meters - Distance Walked: 7 Miles 11KM. Other Details: 1 girl met and 1 story of the river told. Date: June 21st.
6) SOLO - Erwood, Wye Valley & Black Mountains view finding via the Begwyn Hills & Back through to Glasbury. Ascent approximately 900 meters (2,900 ft) - Distance Walked: 26.5 Miles 43KM. Other Details: 1 Bivvy, 1 hill mistakenly ascended, 1 Skylark nest, 2 buses. Date: July 16/17th.
7) SOLO - Water Breaks Its Neck in the Radnor Forest. Traverse of the forest from the Eastern Slopes through to the Western slopes, the Water Breaks Its Neck waterfall and its source. Accent approximately: 900 meters (2,900 Ft) - Distance Walked 12 Miles 19 KM. Other Details: 2 camps, 1 village, 1 return bus journey and 1 tour of the forest with Matt a local farmers son. Date: 6, 7 & 8th Aug nice and slow.
8) SOLO - Paul Llangorse Lake Swim training. No log provided. Numerous training swims throughout the summer in the River Wye. Date: May - September
9) SOLO - Investigation of the Shadowlands Film set and Coldwell Rocks view and Symonds Yat Long Stone. Acent approximately: 150 Meters (492 Ft) - Distance Walked: 12.5 Miles 20KM. Other Deatils: 1 riverside camp, night time run, 3 towns villages, 2 views, 1 return bus journey. Date: 5th/6th September.
10) Paul and the Big Swim at Llangorse Lake. Distance Swam: 1.8 Miles 3KM. Other Deatils: A hike by Mark to the event. Date: 26th September.
11) SOLO - Mark and the Llangorse Lake Swim Hike & Bivvy. Ascent approximately: 480 Meters (1,570 Ft) - Distance Walked: 20KM 12 Miles. Other Details: 1 ancient hill fort, 1 horse woman, 1 friendly farmer, 1 bivvy, excellent Llangorse cloud inversion. Date: September 25th/26th.
12) Return to Water Breaks Its Neck in Full Spate and Snow. Ascent approximately: 600 Meters (1,900 Ft). Distance walked: 9 miles 14.5KM. Other Details: Snow, some good people met, Waterfall in full spate and 1 return bus journey. Date: November 21st
2016 - Wye Explorer adventures so far:
1) SOLO - Paul explored the Severn Estuary in a 'rib rigid inflatable boat'. Courtesy of friend James they traversed Flat Holm Island on the border of the Estuary/Bristol Channel. Distance on Water: 17KM 11 Miles. Other Details: Launched from Cardiff, Landed on Island, spoke with conservation volunteers and recced a wild camp. Date: January 16th. Link
2) RIVER EDW. A cottage stay in Mid Wales exploring the River Edw, its valley and surrounding hills by means of 1 wild camp in addition. Ascent approximately: 450 Meters (1,476 Ft) - Distance Walked: 37Km - 22 miles total over two Sections. Other Details: 1 retreat & Cabin stay, 1 cottage stay, 2 farmers, 1 standing stone, two stone balances, 1 visit from a friend and additional miles walked in the week. Date: 22nd - 31st March.
3) SOLO - Mark exploring the Lower Wye woods from Coleford through to Symonds Yat and then onto Monmouth. 2 nights and 2 wild camps. Ascent: NA. Distance Walked: 18KM - 11 miles. Other Details: 2 wild camps one in a disused loo, two bus journeys, 1 stone balance and plenty of photography.
4) SOLO - Mark exploring the Anghidy River and Lower Wye - Monmouth to Redbrook - Bus to Tintern - Tintern to Angihdy source and on through to Monmouth. Ascent approximately: 400 Meters (1,300 Ft) - Distance Walked: 38 KM - 23 miles. Other Details:2 nights and 2 wild camps,1 short 4 K yomp to Redbrook, 1 friend RV'd with, 1 stone balance, 1 open water swim and 3 bus journeys. Date: 26th-28th May 2016
5) FRIENDS OUTING - Mark and Malcom exploring the Dulas Brook via the Hay Bluff and the feeder brook the Esgyryn. Drive to hay On Wye - Parked (Drover Cycles) Ascent approximately: 470 meters (1,540 Ft) - Distance Walked: 12.2 KM - 7.5 Miles. Other Details: 1 overnight camp, introductions to Drover Cycles and local walkers Mike and Steve, 1 tent reviewed and 1 stone balance. Map Link Date: 20th - 21st Aug
6) 2016 WORLD BOG SNORKELING CHAMPIONSHIPS: Paul Solo participating in the Bog Snorkel at Llanwrtyd Wells in the Cambrian Mountains. Drive to bog venue at Llanwrtyd Wells and a day long stay to cheer Paul and support event. Ascent or Altitude: 200 Meters (650 Ft) - Distance Walked: Marginal. Other Details: Numerous people met with - some international, 7th place gained overall, brief look at Llnwwrtyd Wells for Irfon expedition and exploration of Wye Valley. Map Link
7) RIVER IRFON - CAMBRIAN MOUNTAINS. 3.5 days following the River Irfon a right bank tributary of the Wye in the Cambrian Mountains Wales. Ascent approximately: 445 Meters (1,459 Ft) - Distance Walked: 58.2 KM - 36 miles total over 3.5 days study. Other Details: 1 makeshift bothy overnighter, 1 caravan stay and 2 wild camps and or tent pitches with, in addition, stone balances and numerous discussions with people. Date: 01 - 05 October.
8) RIVER TROTHY - Monmouthshire. 2 days following the River Trothy from source on Campston Hill. It is a right back tributary of the Wye entering it South of Monmouth. Ascent approximately: 400 meters (1, 312 Ft) - Distance Walked: 35.4 KM - 22 Miles. Other Details: 1 stealth camp, 1 urban bivvy, 1 Orange super moon and ancient sites explored. Date: 12 - 14th November
9) DEATH OF FOUNDER MEMBER PAUL JICKELLS - Paul died having contributed a huge amount to the Wye Explorer project. He brought enthusiasm, humour, companionship, ideas and heart to what he felt was a valuable contribution to the culture of the Wye and outdoors in general. His tribute page here reveals what made him tick and thrive as someone who dreamed of all the good in life. Date: 01-07-1968 - 18-11-2016
2017 - Things Have Changed. I Break Back into The Wye By:
1) HUMBER BROOK - Walking the Humber Brook in North Herefordshire a walk founder member Paul Jickells originally arranged. It was a good way of introducing oneself back into the Wye Explorer adventure after nearly 8 months of twin loss. Ascent approximately: 300 meters (984 Ft) - Distance Walked: 35.4 KM - 22 Miles (Same as Trothy). Other details: 1 brook source (see map) 2 camps, 1 waterfall, 2 Kingfishers and 1 historic house/castle. Date: 30th June - 2nd July 2017.
2) RIVER DORE - Situated in the Golden Valley the River Dore was another watercourse founder member of the project Paul Jickells was embarking upon prior to his sudden departure. Ascent approximately: 380 meters (1,246 feet) - Distance Walked: 34 KM - 22 Miles oddly the same as the (Trothy and Humber Brook). Other Details: 1 river source at Golden View Merbach Hill (see map), 3 camps, numerous friends, 3 churches/historic sites and 1 festival. Date: 17th - 19th August 2017.
3) Hiking up to the source of the Wye with a friend (Mike Thomas) via the Nant Y Moch Reservoir. Ascent Approximately: 400 Meters (1312 Ft). Distance Walked: 7.5 Miles (12 KM). Other Details: Visit to source, lunch at trig point and 1 drowned phone. Date: 16th Sep
Apart from the Dore latterly I continued exploring my inner landscape as a result of grief (losing my twin). It proved to be hard with some high points. I returned to the source of the Wye (see video link https://bit.ly/2RQDQAf), I explored some of Scotlands Highlands, hiked the Black Mountains a Wye watershed (see video link https://bit.ly/2CKZrWE), explored historic places of the Wye (see video link https://bit.ly/2yGXt50) and other things besides. I kept in touch!
2018 - Things Continue to Evolve
1) As part of the 'Source Walks' series I returned again to the Wye source from yet another route, this time from Eisteddfa Gurig (see page link 'Source Walks'). It would prove to be one of the easier routes to the source of the Wye. Ascent approximately: 370 meters from car park (1,213 Ft) Distance Walked: 8KM - 5 Miles. Other Details: summited Plynlimon! Date: 15th April
2) Completed a short section hike of the River Wye (again to keep in touch). The route from Glasbury Scout Hut through to Builth was a steady stroll over 2 days taking in this part of a Wye gateway into the upper reaches. Ascent approximately: 570 meters (1,870 Ft) Distance Walked: 38 KM - 24 miles. Other Details: 2 camps, visited an American Warewolf in London film set, an art exhibition in Builth and joined the Wye Valley walk for a while. Date: Thurs 5th/6th/7th July
3) Returned to a very special camp site in the Black Mountains at the source of the River Honddu (see video link https://bit.ly/2PzNaXU). Approached walked via Dorstone in Herefordshire, Cefn Hill (486 Meters) and the River Monnow source. Ascent Approximately: 570 meters (1,870) Distance Walked: 21 KM 13 Miles. Other Details: 1 camp using a tarp, visit to an old associate and Hay on Wye. Date: 27th July
4) Ventured into the Cambrian Mountains once more and hiked the River Elan. A special time! Ascent Approximately: 500 Meters (1,640 Ft) Distance Walked: 23 Miles (37KM). Other Details: 2 camps -1 at Lluest Cwmbach Bothy and a Church Porch tuck away. Date: Fri 28th Sep - Oct 1st.
Other outings punctuated the year from camps on the Wye and beside drovers lanes through to many local/regional walks some of which included Rhos Dirion (see link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02XyEQbFHAc) through to the Skirrid (see link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD-wSl-99bg)
2019 - We Get Off To A Good Start!
1) The year started with a winter wild camp and a section hike of the Offa's Dyke demonstrating the areas link to the Wye. I started at Kington, camped on Hergest Ridge (Frozen tent) and finished at Hay On Wye. Ascent Approximately: 450 Meters (1,476 Ft). Distance Walked: 13 Miles (20KM) Other Details: Met a very old friend, spoke to some farming folk, flask of tea at Newchurch and 1 dead badger on the road. Date: 11th Jan.
2) Begwns local walk. A simple walk with a friend Keith up to the Begwns for a brew and fine views of the Wye Valley below and Black Mountains beyond. It also served as a recce for the River Bachawey hike. Ascent Approximately: 120 Meters (395 Ft). Distance Walked: .75KM. Other Details: A good meeting with a family in the Roundabout at the top of the Begwns. Date: 16th Feb
3) River Bachawey hike and camp. Hiked from source on top of Llanbedr Hill the River Bachawey confluence with the Wye near Erwood. Ascent Approximately: 380 Meters (1,245 Ft). Distance Walked: 14.5 Miles (23 KM). Other Details: Continued hiking to Talgarth covering a further 10 miles (16KM). More perspective on the Wye catchment due to great views out of the catchment through to the Central Beacons. Date: 23/25th March
4) River Ithon hike and camp. Hiked from source on Blaenieithon (400M) to the confluence of the Ithon with the Wye near Newbridge on Wyw. Ascent Aproximately: 520 Meters (1,706 Ft). Distance Walked: 43 Miles 69KM. Other Details: There was 1 urban Dos in Llandrindod Wells and a continuation walk through to Builth Wells from the confluence. Date: 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th July.
5) Rivers Tarennig & Bidno combined hike and camp. Hiked from the confluence of the Tarennig with the Wye through to source beneath Plynlimon summit and then onto camp and the Bidno next morning. Ascent Aproximately: 500 Meters (1,640 Ft). Distance of Rivers: 17.5 KM 10.7 Miles. Actual distance walked in 2 days 48Km or 30 Miles. Other Details: We met 3 people to talk to, had one urban dos in Rhayader and got very wet. Date: 21st Aug 2019 - 24th.
6) River Marteg hike and camp. Hiked from the source of the Marteg to it's confluence with the Wye at Pont Marteg. Ascent Aproximately: 400 meters (1,312 Ft). Distance of river 21 Kkm 13 Miles. Actual distance hiked 19 KM 11.75 Miles - total over 3 days 51 Km 32 Miles. Other Details: We met farmers, Mountain Bikers and Towns folk in Rhyader and camped 3 times with 1 street doss.
2020 - A Strange Year
1) We walked local, visited springs, enjoyed the city, camped once or twice because as we all know it was a strange year. What we did manage to do between a lockdown at the end of September and before Wales was even put into Lockdown was walk the river Wye and the Wye Valley Walk the last of the rivers - well besides to very obscure little ones. From Plynlimon the source it was a fantastic hike. Ascent Aproximately: 1200 meters (3,937 Ft). Distance of river 136 miles. Actual distance hiked 228 KM 142 Miles. Other Detals: We interviewed and spoke to numerous people, made use of 1 B&B during a storm and 1 YHA hostel and camped 7nights two of which were on the street.
Current Overview: Consistently Updated - Last Updated (29-12-2020)
Approximately14,000 meters combined - 45,000 feet plus ascended.
55 plus camps throughout the catchment.
11 makeshift shelters made use of. Caravans, sports shelter and toilet.
50 towns and villages passed through and visited.
60 bus and a handful of car journeys taken.
Several rock balance art pieces created or practiced.
4 events attended.
This is a real-life adventure because like all adventures they can reveal some extreme challenges. This is true with regards the death of (My dear twin brother Paul - see tribute page) and fellow Wye Explorer. However, you have to continue seeing the virtue in life. It might be super hard but the rhythms of life, amid the healing, are still good.
Below are just some facts regarding the adventure. It's a quick look or overview at the challenge back at the start and now.
I''m Inspired by The Wye
Paul out on his bike during the Autumn 2015
20 Rivers, numerous Wye sections & 3 Brooks Walked totalling Aprox 650 miles.
43 towns and villages passed through and visited.
More than 48 Camps & Makeshift Shelters Made use Of