Organisers Urges Riders to take Advantage of Special Web Deals!

Organisers of the High Above Hay sportive are urging riders to take advantage of special web prices for the High Above Hay sportive before online booking closes three days ahead of the event.

Hay Bike Fest Logo

Hay Bike Fest Logo

The ride is a gloriously scenic sportive from Hay-on-Wye into South Wales’ Black Mountains and beyond. Meandering through the Welsh borderlands, the route visits the three counties of Powys, Monmouthshire and Herefordshire and takes on the iconic Gospel Pass – the highest paved road in Wales – for a thrilling plummet to the finish line in Hay.

Online booking through British Cycling costs £28 for a challenging 160km figure-of-eight, or £24 for a 105km loop. But web entry closes at midnight on Wednesday April 23rd and booking online is the only way to avoid price hikes for on-the-day entry, when fees will rise to £35 and £30 respectively.

Organiser Anna Heywood said: ‘Pre-booking through British Cycling guarantees you not only the lower entry prices, but also a timing chip. Of course, we’ll still be taking entries on the day, but on a first come, first served basis.’

gospel passBesides the sportive, Hay Bike Fest will feature guided mountain bike and leisure rides, skills sessions and mountain bike orienteering as well as bike maintenance, craft and yoga workshops and a 13km Time Trial – the Hay Hurtle. A fun race – the Sunset Slalom – kicks off the weekend on the Friday evening, with local ales on tap and fresh, stone-baked pizzas. Children are well-catered for with Bikeability instructors, a free-to-ride mountain bike track at the festival hub in the grounds of Hay Castle, and a free kids orienteering event.

The hub expo will also host a massive fleet of demo bikes – courtesy of Hay-based Drover Cycles – including the full range from Neil Pryde, as well as road bikes and tourers from Genesis, and mountain bikes from Pyga and Commencal. Anna added: ‘It doesn’t matter if big distance sportives aren’t your thing, we’ve catered for everyone at Bike Fest. Maybe come and have a go at our ‘taster’ sportive – A Taste of the High Life – or let the kids have a blast on the hub’s mountain bike track while you check out the expo or have drink at the bar.’

Enter High Above Hay here,  but remember online entry ends at midnight, Wednesday April 23rd. The full Bike Fest programme is at

If you found this blog interesting why not check out our Hay to Timbuktu blog that also features events at the Hay Bike Fest.

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Easter Escapades!

With Easter weekend quickly approaching, it’s time to get planning for those 4 days of family fun and surrounding weeks! The Brecon Beacons have some unmissable opportunities to celebrate the holiday and to make the most of the height of Spring.

©Good Day Out

©Good Day Out

Easter Crafts, National Park Visitor Centre – 15th April
Get the creative juices flowing with the kids by decorating Easter eggs and making your own Easter bonnets! The National Park Visitor Centre will be welcoming adults and children for £5 p/p for some Easter weekend preparation on Tuesday 15th April. To guarantee yourself a space call 01874623366

Lambing Experience, Organic Farm – 19th & 26th April
Be an organic farmer for the day at the peak of lambing season! This four hour experience will have you feeding orphaned lambs, collecting your own free range eggs to take home, marking and moving ewes and lambs and hopefully, witness a real live lambing! The £40 for package for adults and £20 for children will include all this and a freshly cooked lunch by your friendly hosts and mentors, Paul and Liz. Book you place here and the Farming Community Network will receive a donation.

Spring Forage & Wild Garlic Bake, Towy Valley – 22nd April

Foraging with Good Day Out ©Will Lewis

Foraging with Good Day Out ©Will Lewis

Wild garlic plants are in their prime during the Spring months so why not learn how to make the most out of them! The 5 hour experience will first lead you for a forage through the local woodlands by award-winning Welsh chef, Margaret Rees. Once you’ve filled your baskets with wild garlic and flowers, it’s back to the kitchen where you will be shown how to make your own soups, sauces and pestos! For £55 p/p you the day will also include a ‘wild garlic tapas’ taster lunch.

Easter Egg Hunt, Cantref Adventure Farm – 18th – 21st April
For an Easter egg hunt with a challenge, the Cantref Adventure Farm will be encouraging kids to gather clues and unlock passwords to retrieve their prize! The hunt will be included in the price of the entry fee into the park, £8.50 p/p so there will be plenty for the whole family to enjoy before and after. Have lunch at the farmhouse cafe, watch the animal shows and get involved with any number of the adventures going on throughout the day.

Outdoors@Hay Easter Camping Festival, Hay-on-Wye – 18th-21st April
Take a camping trip for the entire Easter weekend or just one night, either way you won’t be stuck for things to do during your stay! The festival will include a wide programme of events, walks and other activities including gorge walking and a discovery hunt to complete around the Hay-on-Wye. A nights camping is only £6 p/p but the organisers will be giving one lucky booking the prize of going for free!

©Outdoor@Hay 2014

©Outdoor@Hay 2014

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Brecon Jazz Strolls Back Into Brecon Jazz Programme

Brecon Jazz Festival

Brecon Jazz Festival

With Brecon Jazz 2014 celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, one of the outdoor venues that is synonymous with the festival, the Captain’s Walk is making a comeback with a programme of big band and party music on the Saturday August 9 and Sunday and a special day ticket that allows fans to stroll in an out of the venue throughout the day for just £25. 

This year’s Brecon Jazz features headliners Burt Bacharach, Gregory Porter, Laura Mvula and Loose Tubes and a whole lot more. The Captain’s Walk stage line-up includes Mike Harries Root Doctors who played at the very first Brecon Jazz in 1984, British trombonist Dennis Rollins with his fine Velocity Trio, the Ollie Howell Quintet, European Young Artists’ Jazz Award winner Beats & Pieces Big Band, the 19-strong James Clark’s Lonely Hearts Rugby Clwb, the sounds of South African Jazz from the Township Comets Featuring Pinise Saul, Imperial Kikiristan, the world acclaimed group from the impossible nation of Kikiristan, and Rhythms of the City, the UK’s premier samba percussion group (August 7-10 tickets from

Brecon Jazz Festival

Brecon Jazz Festival

Pablo Janczur, director of Brecon Jazz operator Orchard said: “Since we took over in 2012, we’ve been looking for an opportunity to bring back the iconic venue of the Captain’s Walk in the middle of town, where fans and locals can expect a real party atmosphere with some high tempo, high quality music at what we believe is a very reasonable cost. The Captain’s Walk is a venue that particularly local people have always really appreciated, and we want to see them turn out in big numbers to enjoy themselves this year.”

The Captain’s Walk identity dates back to the Napoleonic Wars, when French prisoners incarcerated in the town took their exercise there. By day it is now a car park, but on one weekend in August it will be the liveliest place in town.

Brecon Jazz 2014 tickets are available on

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24 Hours in & around Brecon

Artist and famous visual designer Chris Townsend recently visited the Brecon Beacons to show us his experience through art in a 24 hour stop over. Chris spent a day in and around Brecon following a itinerary to see the best of the area.

So here’s his route, what he experienced and what inspired his wonderful pictures…

MAIN PIC 1image002

In Brecon
“A welcoming town with a lot of character and friendly people”

The Accommodation
Chris stayed at Number 10, a property with a fine art selection which is perfect accommodation for large groups. The property has seven bedrooms (sleeping 14), 5 of them en-suite. It’s one of the grandest town houses in Brecon.

“The accommodation was amazing, located in a perfect position in the town, it was beautifully decorated with well appointed rooms and excellent value for money.”

BB_HoursCoffee and shopping
The Hours Coffee and Book Shop offers one of the finest brunch and lunch menus in town along with one of the best cups of coffee. It’s a great little spot to relax. After some hearty food and a drink be sure to have a look at the interesting books on offer.
“The Hours is a great idea, it’s well presented and the owners are passionate about what they do, and very knowledgeable in general about the area”


A quick visit in Brecon
Brecon Cathedral , is regarded as one of mid Wales’ most iconic sites, this historic building is always worth a visit. Dating back to pre Norman times, there are numerous historic artefacts in the cathedral that are well worth a view. “Brecon Cathedral is one of the more interesting buildings I have visited in the UK. It has a fascinating history from its celtic roots, to aristocracy and regimental history.”

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Outside Brecon

BB_CantrefCantref Horse Riding Centre in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, South Wales and has been established for over 40 years, so they know a thing or two about creating a world class riding experience for all ages. It is the only horse riding centre that goes onto the Brecon Beacons. Enjoy half a day or a full day out riding some friendly Welsh cobs surrounded by beautiful scenery.
“Having never ever gone horse riding before, learning how to ride was a pleasant surprise, Cantref offer an organised, friendly and well managed experience in a stunning setting.”

A hike on the hills. A trip to the Brecon Beacons is never complete without a hike up into the mountains. We’d recommend using one of the area’s great walking guides.
From an artist’s perspective Chris believes the Brecon Beacons has everything: “with wide open spaces, landscapes that have plenty of points of interest, beautiful light and illumination throughout the area, the Brecon Beacons has everything to offer artists and travellers alike.”
















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The Perfect Start to a Green Summer Starts in Hay!

An exciting new event is launching just before Easter at Hay Castle in Hay on Wye. The first Hay Spring Fair takes place on Saturday 12th April from 10am to 5pm and organisers are hopeful that if the event is a success it may become an annual fixture on the Hay calendar. 

Hay Spring Fair Flyer

Hay Spring Fair Flyer

The Spring Fair takes place in Hay Castle and its grounds, with talks and debates taking place within the Castle Hall, along with stalls and activities housed in marquees in the ground. There will also be live music and refreshments including a beer tent selling local ales.

Hay Spring Fair is being funded in part by Brecon Beacons National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) and aims to look at ‘green’ issues in a fun, interactive way. The day promises a range of expert speakers covering issues from community energy and transport, to eco design and green home improvements. Hands-on activities for all the family include willow-weaving, upcycling crafts, writing workshops, knitting, spinning and weaving. There will also be a variety of informative and interesting stalls from local charities and businesses, including a plant and seed swap. Live music and fun activities for kids will take place throughout the day, and there will be a great range of local food and drink on offer.

Hay Spring Fair Flyer

Hay Spring Fair Flyer

Event organiser Louise Davies also runs a fair trade shop in Hay called Eighteen Rabbit explained the thinking behind the new event.

“We have always had an interest in sustainability, particularly how to make green issues appealing to a wide audience. We hope that people in Hay will be inspired to make small lifestyle changes to minimise their impact on the environment. Our aim is to promote sustainable living, showcase groups and organisations in the local area who can offer advice to residents who want to be greener, and information on how businesses can manage their operations in a more sustainable way. We have been really pleased with the response so far which just shows the appetite there is for this type of event in Hay.”



Helen Roderick, SDF Officer for Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said:  “SDF grants have supported a wide variety of exciting and innovative projects across the Brecon Beacons and we have been delighted to have been able to assist the Hay Spring Fair kick-start their very first annual event. We hope that the Hay Spring Fair will be another success story that will encourage more local innovators and entrepreneurs with ideas about how to bring long-term sustainable benefits to the local people and local economies to come and ask us how we can support them.”

There are five funding rounds available for the financial year of 1 April 2014 to the 31March 2015 and the next closing date for applications will be 11th June 2014.

To find out more please contact Helen Roderick or Ceri Bevan at or or telephone 01874 620 471

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Ride from Hay to Timbuktu – without leaving Wales!

Organisers of a charity cycling event are calling on pedal fans to help with a mammoth intercontinental bike ‘ride’  – without ever leaving Wales!

Malian children play around a pedal bike

The Turbo4Timbuktu challenge will see 4-strong teams of cyclists on static bikes try to clock up the 3776-mile distance between Hay-on-Wye and its Malian twin town on the edge of the Sahara.

The event is part of Hay Bike Fest, taking place in the book town over the last weekend of April.

Hay’s twin town charity – Hay2Timbuktu – hope the static bikes will be pedalled around the clock from midday on Friday April 25th to midnight on Sunday April 27th.

Bike computers will measure the ‘distance’ cycled and organisers are confident they can make it all the way to Timbuktu – if they fill the 60 hours of pedal time over the long weekend.

Hay2Timbuktu chair Sandra Skinner said: ‘We’re looking for volunteers to help achieve this ambitious goal. You can sign up as an individual, or – even better – enter as a team of four and represent your school, college, cycling club or workplace.

‘As well as being a fun event and a great way to learn the importance of teamwork, the turbo challenge will support the work of Hay2Timbuktu.

‘Raise some sponsorship or make a donation, and help raise some awareness of our project.’

Hay2Timbuktu was set up in 2008 to support low cost, high impact development projects in Malia and promote cultural links between the two communities.

 ‘All proceeds from the turbo challenge will go towards the charity’s projects,’ said Mrs Skinner.

‘With four volunteers clocking 16 miles an hour we can make it.  You can sign up for an hour-long slot or commit yourself to a night shift – it’s up to you.  You don’t need to be superfit and everyone’s contribution will help.’

Sign up to the Turbo Challenge by visiting the website at

Also, check out other great reasons on why to pay the Hay Bike Fest a visit right here

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Exciting new project celebrates Roman legacy

Lone Miner

Lone Miner

‘Romans in Carmarthenshire’ is a project which aims to explain the Roman history of the county and provide everything from excellent tourism facilities to important resources for academics.

Key elements of the scheme, which has won funding from Cadw’s Convergence Funding Heritage Tourism Project, has included development of the Roman story of Dolaucothi Gold Mines and increased the display of Roman artefacts at Carmarthenshire County Museum.

National Trust General Manager for Carmarthenshire Jacqui Kedward said: “We wanted to create a series of attractions connected by the Roman road network that can be explored in any way you want - by car, bicycle and on foot.

©Keith Morris

©Keith Morris

“The county has a fascinating Roman history and our aim is to explain and celebrate that. People can engage in that to any extent they like from serious academic study to having a day out at points of interest for tourists.”

She added: “Dolaucothi Gold Mines is the gateway site for the interpretation of the county’s Roman story. These mines are unique; a real hidden gem.

“In the Roman period, Dolaucothi was probably the only gold mine in Britain. Preservation of the wealth of surface and underground evidence at Dolaucothi is of utmost importance to us. And the site already attracts a lot of interest – about 20,000 visitors per year”.

The project has been led by the National Trust in conjunction with Carmarthenshire County Council, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and Carmarthenshire County Museum and supported by community and volunteer groups.

Please have a look here on May Bank Holiday weekend things to do in the Brecon Beacons!

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