Reap the Benefits of Braving the Wonderful Welsh Outdoors in Southern Wales
The shorter days and wild weather don’t necessarily mean you have to cosy up and stay indoors this autumn. Let’s face it – you’ve had enough of that already this year!
Instead, brave the outdoors and boost your physical and mental health in Southern Wales.
Discover adventures you may never have known were on your doorstep as you stay local, or, take some inspiration and start building your Southern Wales bucket list as you plan a future visit once it’s safe to do so.
From facing your fears or doing something you love accompanied by a stunning backdrop, there’s certainly plenty on offer.
On Your Bike
Take it slow and steady or prefer a more thrilling adventure while on two wheels?
The whole family can enjoy a number of our cycle routes across the region, with many featuring large traffic-free sections to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Take in a huge variety of urban and suburban landscapes as well as some more peaceful surroundings by jumping on the Taff Trail. Once a vital transport link through the heart of Southern Wales, it remains a firm favourite thanks to its miles and miles of natural beauty. Largely free of traffic and running from Cardiff Bay up through Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil, it offers the perfect opportunity to pick and choose sections. A different adventure every time; stop off and explore a wealth of sites along the way, like the stunning Castell Coch.
How about a meander through Porthkerry Country Park in the Vale of Glamorgan? Open year-round, the 220 acres of woodland and meadows in a sheltered valley lead to a pebble beach and spectacular cliffs. The National Cycle Network’s Route 88 runs right through, a firm favourite thanks to the stunning views on offer along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast.
Turning things up a notch is no problem. Testing climbs and swooping descents come part and parcel thanks to mountain biking experiences unlike anything else in the UK. Make a weekend of exploring the several established purpose-built bike parks including Cwmcarn Forest in Caerphilly, Black Mountains in Monmouthshire and the Garw Valley in Bridgend. Not forgetting BikePark Wales, which has been built by riders for riders in Merthyr Tydfil. Welcoming intermediate mountain bikers through to downhill pros, it’s an exhilarating way to spend your day.
If you’re feeling strong, you could even do things in reverse and take on the ‘Tumble Climb’ – one of the most notorious cycling climbs in the South Wales valleys as you summit The Blorenge – a mountain overlooking the valley of the River Usk in Abergavenny.
Prefer to soak up some history? Nothing beats taking the The Afon Lwyd Trail in Torfaen. You’ll journey from Cwmbran to Blaenavon – an incredible landscape that was once rich with everything needed to fuel the Industrial Revolution. It’s actually so unique it’s a World Heritage Site.
Looking for adrenaline-pumping exploits? Parc Bryn Bach in Blaenau Gwent is the perfect setting for a range of adventure activities for all ages. How about gorge walking, rock climbing, caving, canoeing, or kayaking on the lake? Try something different each time to make every visit unique.
If water sports float your boat, check out Llandegfedd Lake Visitor & Watersports Centre which spans the beautiful, rolling landscaped countryside of Monmouthshire and Torfaen, and set sail. Whether you’re a beginner and need to get ship-shape or you’re a seasoned pro and after some equipment hire, you’ll find a number of exciting experiences. Meanwhile, Cardiff International White Water is home to the only white-water rafting course in South Wales and there’s a raft on offer. Yacht more could you want?
In Rhondda Cynon Taf, try experiencing the beautiful Taff Valley from a different perspective and trek through 360 acres of wild farmland on four wheels at Taff Valley Quad Biking and Activity Centre. It’s an action-packed way to discover the lush Welsh countryside.
On the coast? Try surfing or paddleboarding in Porthcawl. Thanks to some of the most consistent surf in the UK, the new Rest Bay Watersports Centre will help sort you out with a wetsuit and a board so you’re ready to ride the waves. For the more adventurous, how about land based coasteering as you explore the coast and caves of the 'Ogmore Deeps' by UWC Atlantic Experience?
Take It Easy
Back on dry land, walk the Wales Coast Path from Porthcawl into the Vale of Glamorgan to experience the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. With its plunging cliffs, magnificent wildlife and breathtaking views, you’ll soon realise why this incredible, unspoilt coastline is truly unique.
From that national trail to another like The Offa's Dyke Path – and even gentle strolls around one of our brilliant parks – Southern Wales is a walker’s paradise. Explore Blaenau Gwent; a rambler’s dream thanks to its numerous trails following old tram roads and winding tracks straight to mountain tops. Pull on your boots and take things at your own pace on the Ebbw Fach Trail – 16 kilometres of heritage sites and wildlife hot spots.
In Newport? See why Southern Wales is on the international map as a prime golfing destination. The Celtic Manor Resort hosted The Ryder Cup in 2010 and it’s no secret many of our region’s golf courses boast some of the best views in the UK. Take Mountain Ash, with stunning views of the surrounding Cynon Valley; Pontypridd, which affords natural vistas where buzzards can be seen hovering over fairways; and the Royal Porthcawl, which slopes down to the seashore.
Those ‘FORE’ are just to whet your appetite, we’re home to many more in locations to suit everybody.
Plan Your Visit
Please have a look at our Plan Your Visit page before you set off and check that the things you want to see and do are open. For many places, advance booking may also be required.
Find even more inspiration throughout our website and discover your adventure in Southern Wales, safely, this autumn by adhering to the Welsh Government’s guidance surrounding COVID-19.