The Four Tops: Todleth, Lan Fawr, Corndon and Roundton Hills

Drive from Bishop's Castle to Roundton Hill near Churchstoke then walking tour of hills.

Mostly off-road. Some tarmac. 15 mins drive, 6.3 miles walk, no stiles, 15 mins drive back.

Where Are They?

If you have driven in the Churchstoke area (15 minutes northwest of BC on the way to Welshpool) you will have seen these hills. If you have driven anywhere to the north of Bishop's Castle you will surely have seen Corndon - the tallest standalone hill in the area.

This walk will take you to the top of all four. Four Tops!

My route takes them in the order: Todleth; Lan Fawr; Corndon then Roundton. Feel free to change this as you please.

The Drive From Bishop’s Castle To Roundton Hill

As ever we start in the Six Bells, but this time with orange juice and lemonade as we are about to drive. From ‘The Bells’ drive up Church Street to the Boar’s Head crossroads and turn right into Station Street. Go around the corner and up the hill. At the top of the hill, ignore the turning to the Three Tuns (Salop Street) but take the next turning to the left signposted B4385 Montgomery (Bull Lane). Follow this road out of town past the Fox Holes campsite.

As the road bends to the left at the top of the hill you will start to see the hills in the distance. In around a quarter of a mile down the hill take the first turning to the right signed Heblands. Follow this lane until you reach the A489. Turn left at the T-junction. In 2.5 miles, just before you reach Churchstoke, turn right up a steep lane with a sign saying ‘Unsuitable for HGVs’.

Follow this lane until you come to a junction. Turn right, then immediately turn right again following the signs for the Nature Reserve. Go around a climbing left-hand bend, ignore a narrow lane to the left, then turn ninety degrees down a lane to the right – again signposted Nature Reserve. Carry on down till the lane splits and take the narrow left hand fork. Continue until you reach a gate which you will have to get out and open (and, of course, close again after you). Then you drive through the ford. What fun! Follow the track to the right then turn left up into the car park.

Todleth Hill (Renaldo)

Walk back across the ford (or use the footbridge) then through the gate. Before you get up to the first junction, in 50m or so, there is full-sized farm gate on the left. Next to it is a stile - pay attention - it is easy to miss. Go over this stile and across the small field, then over another stile and across another small field. Cross one last stile and you will be on the private drive up to a house. Almost opposite you is a way-marker and the start of the path up the hill. In 10m or so pass through a small wooden gate and through a narrow path. Watch out for nettles! You are now on the path to the top. Just follow it until you come to another stile. Cross the stile and you enter the unfenced top of the hill. To highest point is off to the right. Just keep going uphill!

There are nice views from the top. (Can you see my car?)

To get back down, just retrace your steps.

Lan Fawr (Lawrence)

Once down off Todleth, return to the tarmac lane that goes down to the car park, but turn left, up hill. Walk up the lane to the T-junction then turn left again then in 100m or so turn off sharp right into a narrow tarmac lane.

Follow this lane as it winds up hill. There are good views of Roundton to the right. Eventually you will come to a gate and the lane becomes a bridle path. Pass through the gate, and up past the house and wind turbine at Cowlton. This bridleway will take us all the way to Lan Fawr. Just keep following it ignoring any turnings to left or right. Pass a ruined building and through another gate. (The hill behind the gate is Lan Fawr.)

After a while the track becomes grassy and you will see the rocky outcrop of Lan Fawr to your left. Turn left into the field before it becomes fenced and walk up to the highest point. After taking a while to admire the view return to the bridleway and walk a little further along until you come to the gates on the right onto the 4x4 track up Cordon.

Corndon Hill (Levi)

At 513m Corndon is by far the tallest of today’s four hills. There are several paths up, but this route takes the least steep. On suitable days folks paraglide from the top of Corndon and use a 4x4 shuttle to get their kit to the top. We are going to walk up the track used by the 4x4s.

Pass through the gate and follow the vehicle track as it winds up the hill. It is well defined so easy to follow. Part way up you pass through a pair of posts without a gate. The track ends at another gate with signage about parking.

Pass through the gate and turn sharp left. Follow another track up to the cairn and trig point which are visible in the distance. There is a bench on top where you can have a well-earned rest. (Although once I had to abandon the bench out of fear of getting an out of control paraglider pilot on my lap!)

The route to our final hill, Roundton, starts near the bottom gate where we left the bridle path and came on to Corndon, but how you get back there is up to you. You could just go back the way you came. Or you could go down the steep grassy path alongside the fence which starts by the trig point, then walk back along the bridleway to the gate. My preferred route is to go back roughly in the direction from which you came, but keeping to the fence on the right. This brings you to a small gate. Just past the gate turn 90 degrees right and follow the fence down.

A hundred metres or so before the main gate this path meets the 4x4 track that we came up on. At this point turn left on to the track as if you were going to go back up the hill. In 50m or so, near a way marker pole, the 4x4 track curves to the left and another, less well used, track goes off to the right by some trees. Take this new track and follow it past many hawthorn trees all the way down to Corndon Cottage.

Pass through one gate close to the cottage then through a second gate to the right. Walk along the drive to one more gate. Pass through that and walk down to Corndon Malt House. Turn left here then follow the lane up to a T-junction where you turn right. Follow this lane for half a mile or so until you see a gate allowing access to the back of Roundton Hill. You can tell it is the correct one by the information panel close by.

Roundton Hill (‘Duke’)

Pass through the gate and follow the track up the small rise then carry on to the main hill. If you look carefully you will then see a grass foot path over to the right, zig-zagging to the top. There is a single way-marker post part way up. Follow the path to the summit.

When you have taken time to enjoy the view return down the same path. Part way down, instead of turning back towards the gate through which you entered carry on round to the right and down into the larger valley to the east side of the hill. Follow this valley all the way down until you path is blocked.

At the bottom you will see a way-marker post by a ditch, cross the ditch and leave the valley down a track to the right. Part way down pass through a gate. You will then be back at the carpark where you left your car at the beginning of the walk.

Now drive back to the Six Bells, park up for the night, and enjoy a pint.

Click here for a sketch map of the route.

If you have Google Earth installed use it to open this file to see the drive and this file to see the walk.

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