A MEMORIAL stone and tree have been unveiled celebrating the life of a man, known as the ‘Father of the Epynt Way’, who is responsible for creating a 40-mile walk through stunning Powys scenery.

John Clifford was instrumental in creating the Epynt Way nearly 20 years ago. He died in October 2022 and in September a mountain ash tree and memorial stone were unveiled at the Epynt Visitor Centre, near Builth Wells, in Mr Clifford’s memory.

The circular permissive path stretches 40 miles (65 kilometres) around the circumference of the Sennybridge Training Area, owned and operated by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the third largest training area in the UK.

Despite the fact the area is regularly used for live firing and military exercises, the MoD were keen to allow greater public access to the defence estate. The path was opened in 2004 and is used regularly by walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders.


“John Clifford took on the task of running the project, working with the MoD, Natural Resources Wales, local councils and landowners to create a path that was safe for public use while not hampering military training,” said Rupert Prince, chairman of the Epynt Way Association.

“This was no small task given that the eastern half of the training area is used for live firing. He formed a small group of volunteers to assist him and this group grew into the Epynt Way Association.

“The path is open 365 days a year, irrespective of ongoing military training, for use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

“Five horse corrals have been built to enable riders to tack up their horses in safety. The path is waymarked throughout.

“John's careful route selection enables stunning views on the south side to Pen y Fan and other mountains and on the north side towards the Cambrian Mountains.”

The Epynt Way takes the walker around the edge of Mynydd Epynt and Mynydd Bwlch y Groes. It crosses sections of high moorland and deep river valleys, affording stunning views at various points across the Black Mountains, Cambrian Mountains, Brecon Beacons/Bannau Brycheiniog and Carmarthen Fans.

The unveiling of the stone and tree – significant due to Mr Clifford originating from Mountain Ash, as well as the tree growing in abundance on the Epynt – was held on September 30 at the Epynt Way Visitor Centre, located on the Garth to Upper Chapel road.

The memorial stone was unveiled by his son Alan and daughter Stephanie.

“Sadly, John passed way in October 2022 and the association and MoD felt that his significant contribution should be formally recognised,” added Rupert.

“The Epynt Way Association, created by John, continues to exist and is made up of local volunteers who promote the use of the path and work with the MoD to help keep it in safe condition for public use.”

County Times: Powys County Times readers can subscribe for just £5 for 5 months

On the same day the association launched the latest updated version of its detailed guidebook for the route. This is available from the Brecon tourist information office and is a detailed guide to walking the route together with details on history, flora and fauna to be found on the Epynt.

For more details about the route, visit www.epyntway.org.

Pictured are Alan Clifford and Stephanie Clifford (centre left and right), along with Russell Stafford-Tolley (far r), of the Epynt Way Association, with members and friends after the unveiling.

Thanks go to all who supported this project, in particular Jon Davies and Major Karl Dawson, senior training safety officer, who are both also pictured.