Southern Wales - Great Walking Country
Over the last year “going for a walk” and enjoying fresh air has been one of the most important activities for us all.
Southern Wales is blessed with a diverse landscape and consequently a wide range of walks, ranging from the Wales Coast Path, 870 miles right around the coast (and you can complete the route around Wales by following Offa’s Dyke Walk north to south) to plenty of short, family routes in every country park, town and community.
Here are some of the best routes that we’ve selected for the views, the history or a quirky “something” that will make each one memorable.
The Wye Valley Walk takes you through some of the most beautiful landscape in the UK, and stops off at monuments as impressive as Tintern Abbey. It also runs through an area where you can pick up local wine, beer and mead – a reward at the end of a hard days walking. For an alternate walk by water check out the Bridgend best coastal walks which include routes through Merthyr Mawr or Kenfig Nature Reserves as well as trails past Ogmore Castle. Great family adventures.
Going of walks around The Valleys often gives stunning views. One of the best is the circular trail around Pen-pych Mountain in the Rhondda Valley. On this route you’ll dip in and out of forests, come across waterfalls and Iron Age settlements, and see evidence of the industrial story of the area, all in a walk of under 6 miles. Alternatively you can explore Blaenavon World Heritage Landscape by following the Iron Mountain Trail around the town and over the hillsides with industrial scars and amazing views.
The areas diverse landscape has inspired people in many ways; you can explore where Aneurin Bevan, the founder of the NHS, used to practise is speeches and step away from the hustle and bustle of politics on the Nye Bevan Trail near Tredegar. As you make your way north there are stunning views into the Brecon Beacons. Or you can see for yourself why Gilbert de Clare, 3rd Earl of Gloucester decided to build a castle high above the Taff Valley by following the Morlais Circular walk which runs through the golf course and passes the Brecon Mountain Railway.
The Vale of Glamorgan has a 10 Vale Trails which are great for families. The Salmon Leap takes in a glacial valley, the Cwm George Iron Age hill fort, and, if you’re lucky, you might spot a leaping salmon. You’re also guaranteed to see nature at its best at Fourteen Locks near Newport. The Fourteen Locks Circular walk follows the canal along the imposing flight of locks before passing forests and lakes. Nearby Cwmcarn Forest is another fabulous base for a walk or two; from the challenges of reaching the top of Twmbarlwm to a relaxing stroll around the lakes and woods, catching the drifts of bluebells in the late spring.
Did you know that there’s a thing called “Champion Trees”? Well, in Cardiff, a walk around Bute Park allows you to see 41 Champion Trees (recorded as the tallest or broadest of the species), maybe the Sunset Boulevard Cherry or the Curly Holly. A fantastic way to give a different dimension to a walk in the city.
Take a look at the great walks around Southern Wales; why not make a weekend of it?