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Walking in Wales

My partner & I (strong walkers/hikers) would love some input about our April 2024 trip to Wales.*

We're interested in spending 3 nights in 2 different spots for long, beautiful hikes and enjoying local life. Right now we're considering the Pembrokeshire coast/coastal path (around Newport or Cardigan) and Offa's Dyke path near Kington, or even part of the Three Castles walk.

Is it a mistake to not give priority to the Brecon Beacons? If so, where specifically would you stay as a home base? Again, we're more interested in nature than in museums, etc.

*We already summited Snowdon and explored Conwy/Betws-y-Coed on a previous trip so we're looking for a new section of Wales to explore. We're therefore not considering Snowdonia.

Given that RS books aren't super-detailed regarding Wales, we do have the Lonely Planet & Rough Guide books, as well as others, but it's hard to sort through all of that data. Thanks for sharing your experience & insight!

Posted by
16195 posts

I assume you mean 3 nights each in two different locations? For specific walks and hike descriptions, you could look at the walking programs offered by HF Holidays for guidance and ideas. Just scroll down in the brochure to the itinerary for listings of the walks.

Meirionnydd coastal path walks:

https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/holidays-and-tours/best-of-the-meirionnydd-coast-path?format=pdf&vid=3691

Brecon Beacons:

https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/holidays-and-tours/4-night-brecon-beacons-guided-walking-holiday?format=pdf&vid=1099

Pembrokeshire Coast path:

https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/holidays-and-tours/best-of-the-pembrokeshire-coast?format=pdf&vid=45

For the Brecon Beacons, you might consider joining their self-guided holiday with room and board in their country house in the market town of Beacon, with access to their maps and guidebooks, and social time with other guests.

https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/holidays-and-tours/3-night-brecon-beacons-self-guided-walking-holiday

Or join the guided program, which includes group walks with a knowledgeable guide and transport to the trailheads and back. We have taken several of these holidays, and particularly enjoyed the educational aspect of the guided walks, and the camaraderie of the other guests.

https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/holidays-and-tours/3-night-brecon-beacons-guided-walking-holiday

As for the Three Castles walk, we did this a few years ago as a self-guided adventure we booked with Celtic Trails.

https://www.celtictrailswalkingholidays.co.uk/walking-holidays/castle-to-castle-the-three-castles-walk/

Part of it was on a section of Offa’s Dyke path. We stayed in a small bed and breakfast at Llangattock Lingoed, which is called a village but there really isn’t much there. Fortunately the country inn Hunters Moon has a great little restaurant, and we enjoyed fine dinners there on each of our three nights.

https://www.hunters-moon-inn.co.uk/

The walking was fun and the ruined castles were interesting, but I would not rate the scenery as spectacular; especially as compared tomwhat I have seen in photos of the coastal paths and the Brecon Beacons.

Posted by
1446 posts

My first choice would be the Coastal path, except that you are going in April as we did. It was cool, wet and windy. I am from Seattle, so I am not afraid of Rain, but I was glad I was wearing a long lined trench coat. Have you seen all of Edwards Castles? The Castles on the 3 Castles Walk of Wales have a good description on Wikipedia; as does the Brecon Beacons, which offer more of a challenge with mountains. It is sometimes used for military training. Offa's Dyke looks like an interesting Earth Work with panoramic views of Wales and England. If you collect Wall Walks like Hadrian's Wall, you may want to try that one. Wear your Tech Gear and you should survive. You may have snow flurries at higher elevations. Bon Voyage!

Posted by
991 posts

Newport in Pembrokeshire is somewhere that I just absolutely love. It’s like a different world. The coastal path is very scenic around there. It has some good pubs and small shops and cafes and makes an excellent base for a few days or even longer.

Posted by
16195 posts

The HF Holidays calendar seems to confirm what Kathleen says about April weather on the coast. They do not offer either of those coastal walks in April or even in May. Not before June.

The Cornwall coastal path is an option in April; and that area has a reputation for nicer weather in spring.

We did some independent walking on the Yorkshire coast (around Whitney) in late April one year. It was cold, windy, drizzled and even snowing on the day we hiked to Robin Hood’s Bay. But that is on the east coast of the island and maybe subject to different weather patterns than Wales.

Posted by
991 posts

It would be unlikely for the weather to be too poor for walking in April. I wouldn’t even think of it. Spring is an ideal time for a walking holiday surely?

Posted by
8 posts

Appreciating these comments so far!

Two things:
1. We're FINE with rain. Not a problem.
2. We're not interested in booking with a tour company. Any walking we do will be researched by us in advance, or by talking to locals, and we'll make our own Airbnb arrangements.

Otherwise, keep the advice coming! And thanks again.

Posted by
991 posts

There are tons of books detailing walking routes in Wales. Ordnance Survey maps are essential. They also produce books of walks which will generally be circular and contain the relevant section of map. There’s an app now as well although I haven’t used it. How many miles a day do you think you’ll want to cover?

Posted by
16195 posts

Please understand that I only suggested the HF Holidays brochures as a resource to research the best hikes in each area, as they are experts. This is a member-owned cooperative devoted to walking, not your standard “tour company”.

Posted by
2399 posts

https://www.visitwales.com/things-do/adventure-and-activities/walking is the official Tourist Board (Welsh Government) website. It has loads of advice.

Also see > https://naturalresources.wales/days-out/national-trails/?lang=en

The main path to the summit of the Brecon Beacons from the A470 is busy. You can easily get away from people by hiking other areas in this National Park - though I would still suggest hiking to the main summit called Pen-Y-Fan. Also consider hiking in the waterfall country which is found south fo the village of Ystradfellte in the BBNP and from Pontneddfechan.

South Pembrokeshire has some lovely walks/hikes especially the that from Bosherston church to Barafundle Bay via the Stackpole Lakes. The area by Stack Rocks/Green Bridge of Wales (arch) is likely to be closed as it is on the Castlemartin military range. It is usually open in the school holidays and some weekends.

Posted by
54 posts

Coming in late here because I will be asking a question about Snowdonia.

30 years ago I hiked around a good portion of the Pembrokshire Coast Path and still consider it to be one of the most fun times of my life. Back then I just put a pack on my back and hiked, looking for a place to stay every 20 miles or so. I will be returning this May, though I will be going through the Anglesy area. I highly recommend it.

Three years later I hiked in the Brecon Beacons, though I don't remember exactly which hills I went over, but even hiking in the rain I had an awesome time (if you do hike in the rain then be very careful of the rocky areas, as the moss can be very slippery). I stayed in a B&B in Brecon, which was a charming little town.

Enjoy the trip!