Dramatic peaks, golden beaches and mile upon mile of quiet, unspoiled countryside in which to lose yourself: South Wales really has it all when it comes to walking opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned rambler, avid wildlife-watcher or just enjoy a good morning stroll every now and then, this often-overlooked corner of the British Isles has something magical to offer. Here are our local insiders’ top picks.
Pen y Fan, Brecon Beacons
A favourite for experienced ramblers and more casual walkers alike, a walk up Pen Y Fan offers stunning vistas over the Brecon Beacons as you make your way to the top of the area’s highest peak. There are various ways up, and more experienced hikers can incorporate the summit into a lengthier circuit or opt for the challenging 7.5mi (12km) climb from Cwm Gwdi car park. Still, many people have a fondness for the classic ascent from the Storey Arms, whose two-hour walk up is perfect for introducing younger kids to the great outdoors. Picnic at the top to enjoy unparalleled views out over the national park. And bring a thermos – it gets chilly up top. Recommended by local insider Annis Ince
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
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Penmaen to Three Cliffs Bay, the Gower
Wales has some of the UK’s most beautiful sandy beaches. Get better acquainted with them with a wander around the gorgeous Gower Peninsula. The Gower wasn’t named the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for nothing – it’s breathtakingly pretty. The Penmaen to Three Cliffs Bay walk is perfect for exploring the cliffs and gentle bays that make the area so special, and as it’s a gentle three-hour circular route, there’s no need to be an avid hiker to make the most of it. Just remember to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes – the route is a bit rocky in places, but nothing super challenging if you have the right footwear. Recommended by local insider Annis Ince
Wales Coast Path
Are you so entranced by the beauty of the Welsh coastline that you’ve decided that you must see it all? We don’t blame you, and the 870mi (1400km) Wales Coast Path might be the answer to all your prayers. Hardcore hikers can attempt it all as a walking holiday – and the hundreds of miles of unspoiled countryside and off-the-beaten-path beachside views make it one you’ll remember for a lifetime. Of course, you don’t have to do it all. Pick a stretch of it to do over a weekend, single day or even just a morning stroll if you’re pressed for time. Recommended by local insider Annis Ince
Bosherston Lily Ponds
Experience the beauty of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park on this gentle 30-minute meander from the picturesque village of Bosherston to nearby Broadhaven Beach. You’ll start by making your way around Bosherston’s famously pretty, lily-laden lakes via a wooden boardwalk. The area boasts a wide range of wildlife-watching opportunities – look out for otters splashing among the waterfowl as you make your way towards the coastline. Once there, simply enjoy the beach or continue a little further to the breathtaking Mere Pool Valley. Call in at Ye Olde Worlde Café, Bosherston’s traditional Welsh tea room, for a delicious, freshly baked pick-me-up on your return. Recommended by local insider Holly Brace
The Golden Road route, Presili Hills
Sweeping views of Cardigan Bay and hints of history long passed await walkers in Pembrokeshire’s Preseli Hills. The 7mi (11km) Golden Road route over the spine of the hills traces paths that have been used since neolithic times. Taking you through some of the area’s highlights, including Bronze-Age monuments, mysterious sites of Arthurian legends and an ambitious reconstruction of an Iron-Age fort, this is a must-do route for any history buffs out there. On a clear day, you can catch glimpses of Snowdonia, and views sometimes stretch over the entirety of Pembrokeshire all the way to Ireland. Don’t forget your camera. Recommended by local insider Holly Brace
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