This weekend, Hay-on-Wye is celebrating its third annual walking festival and it’s sure to attract walkers from around the country to stroll, pace or hike around the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park!
Over five days local walking enthusiasts and professional guides will run 48 walks for all levels of experience and fitness, ranging from 2 to 25 miles. The routes will take walkers off the beaten track, up steep hill climbs or winding paths with stunning panoramic mountain views along the way.
Unlike other walking events, Hay offers more than just another hike, with experts teaching festival-goers about archaeology, the history of the area and even landscape sketching. Even those who have a lot of walking experience will have the chance to learn more with the ‘New Skills Walks’ involving map reading and navigation. The ‘Family Friendly Walks’ will get everyone involved, including a spooky visit to the witches pool in Talgarth or foraging expeditions to pick your own Autumn berries.
Here are a few of the walks still on offer, but be quick as tickets are selling fast!
For those who want a challenge, try this route up the ascent of the Darren cliffs which leads over the border in England with beautiful views into Wales. This walk is lead by Allan Gibbs, a qualified International Mountain Leader who has even tackled Everest in his walking career.
Starting from the Bull’s Head Pub this route goes straight up The Cat’s Back with a steep climb to a viewpoint which is hard to beat, on clear days walkers can see all the way to the Malverns!
Perfect for families this walk passes through the Pwll y Wrach nature reserve to the Witches Pool waterfall where children can learn about the fungi and local wildlife. Although this walk is run by Anna Heywood from Drover Holidays, storyteller Sonia Caller will be coming along to tell tales as walkers are encouraged to talk their time to explore too. The walk finishes at Talgarth Mill where participants can learn all about the art of milling at this historic building and then grab a bite to eat at the cafe.
Starting at the Castle Pub in Pengenfford walkers will warm up with a climb to Norman hill, leading to the highest point, Waun Fach. After lunch the walk continues to the Bal Mawr ridge with time to take in its wonderful views and then a slow descent to the Priory.
Alison O’Grady leads this fascinating walk which passes historic churches atCwmyoy and Patrishow which date back to the 11th century with ancient medeival murals. The walk itself includes a couple of steep ascents but you must be in it for the long run as it will last the whole day!
And don’t miss out on the evening events!
Come along to the Swan Hotel at hay, 7:30pm on Thursday 10th for some drinks and nibbles. It’s a great opportunity to meet walk leaders and fellow walkers, have a chat and find out a bit more about the programme. No need to book – just turn up – and its free!
Hugh Thomson, author and explorer, will be giving an illustrated talk on the Icknield Way, an ancient trackway in use from pre-historic times from the South Dorset coast to North Norfolk. This ancient trackway was the major route in prehistoric times for crossing England and it threads past many great prehistoric monuments like Maiden Castle, Stonehenge and Avebury, before ending at the Wash near Seahenge, a journey of some 400 miles. Taking place at 7:30pm, Saturday 12th at The Swan Hotel, £5 entry.
Come to The Swan Hotel for a classic Pub Quiz to celebrate the end of the festival. In aid of the Longtown Mountain Rescue, there will be at least one round of walking questions and the promise of great fun for everyone! 7:30pm of Sunday 13th, £3 entry.
So dig out your walking boots and get outside this Autumn!