Walk in Wales this weekend - and beyond...
The Hay Walking Festival starts tomorrow! Yes, a walking festival, not the literary one – although you could do as we do and have your nose in your book/Kindle as you walk (probably not recommended for steep mountain tracks).
Hay-on-Wye is known for its literary connections, with over thirty bookshops and the annual Hay Festival, but as the town is set in the Brecon Beacons National Park with access to stomping grounds such as Offa’s Dyke, the Black Mountains and the Wye Valley, it’s also good ground for hiking. And ambling, if such is also your thing.
The festival kicked off for the first time last October and has been extended this year to five days, with 45 guided walks covering all ages and abilities and from a few hours to a full day. You can even try some canoeing down the Wye, if only to get sitting down for a bit, and there are festival events in the evenings including a film night, pub quiz and festival ceilidh.
For sleeping soundly after tramping, we have over 85 sites around the England/Wales border within twenty miles of Hay-on-Wye, several of which are available during the festival. Here are a few:
The Bulls Head: For rewards after walking. Set at the bottom of the Black Mountains, the Bulls Head has been called ‘the most remote pub in the UK’ and has plenty of real ales and cider to down as well as top pub grub. And there’s a camping field too. Ignore the few sheep which might come over for a nosy and pitch up here for £12 a night.
Bridge Inn Camping Site: One pub campsite at the foot of the Black Mountains is good, but with two we’re spoiling you. Pitches at the Bridge Inn take tourers and motorhomes as well as tents, and are £20 a night with car included. The inn also has loads of info on local walks in the area if you want to test your feet further after the festival.
Penlan Caravan Park: Pitch up peacefully on a National Trust farm with views across to the Malvern Hills and with wandering around the farm welcomed by owners Peter and Margaret (you can pick your own strawberries and raspberries in season here too). Pitches are for tents, tourers and motorhomes and are £14 a night, with electric hook-up also available as a £3 extra.
Hay is one of a few walking festivals in Wales this autumn – if you can’t make it this weekend, there’s also the Snowdonia Walking Festival to clamber around the Snowdonia National Park (12-14 Oct), and the 10-day Monmouthshire Walking Festival (19-28 Oct). Our feets are tingling already.