5 Things Welsh Long Distance Footpaths
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Wales has it’s fair share of decent long distance footpaths, so here’s a selection of them.
1 – Cambrian Way 440Km
The daddy of the Welsh routes, but scuppered along with the Cambrian National Park in the interests of the landowners. Passing over terrain that is as diverse as the Beacons, Pumlumon and practically all of Snowdonia, this has to be one of the best walks in the UK. There’s no official site, but the guidebook writer and pioneer of the route – Tony Drake maintains the as-good-as-official site and the once out of print book is now available! Though it makes me cringe when anyone Anglicises the Carneddau as he does on that site (you may as well start calling them the Cairns and be done with it).
There’s also the book; A Cambrian Way –by Sale that’s beenout of print for years (I got mine from Fleabay) but offers an alternative section between Pumlumon and Cadair Idris via Machynlleth that’s much more practical than the semi-official route via Dinas Mawddwy. Perhaps that’s part of the charm of an unofficial LDP, that you can pick and mix the sections that appeal.
2 – The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path 300km
A walk along the coast of the only coastal national park. The walk is diverse and you’ll find something new around every cove. This is coastal walking at its very best. The only down sides are a few military areas (so you need to check before going) and the oil refineries ar Milford Haven.
Hills, stiles, pubs and B&Bs.
Starting from Chepstow in the south and ending in Prestatyn in the north, there’s a fair bit of ascent involved in between. Crossing the Black Mountains down south, you don’t again get as high, but the hilly terrain further along is as difficult as the moment you gain much ascent, you lose it again.
With very few options to camp other than in the Black Mountains, this is definately one of those trips where you need to stay in pubs and B&Bs along the way and forget about the camping (unless you find camping with a backpacking tent in a campsite full of car campers and caravans appealing).
4 – Glyndwr’s Way 217km
The Glyndwr Way is sort of a circular route in Mid Wales, if you decide to close the loop with a few days on the Offa’s Dyke as well. Starting in Knighton, with a convenient halfway stop in Machynlleth making it an easy path to complete over two shorter trips, and then onwards to Welshpool.
The highest point is only 500m, and as it is a national trail it’s well signposted with the dragon. While it passes through Machynlleth where Glyndwr held his parliament, it misses out the valley of Hyddgen where he won a historic battle and his estate in Sycharth to the north, and it seems that the links with Glyndwr are rather tenuous and primarily named as the route was opened on the 600th anniversary of his uprising. Nevertheless, that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s a great route through quieter and reasonably gentle terrain.
5 – Anglesey Coastal Path 200Km
A glorious yomp around Wales’ largest island, and Ynys Gybi (for it is two).
While the coastal path is largely complete, the section along the Menai is largely along roads and is totally absent between Moel y Don and Menai Bridge, so in order to complete the walk you’ll need to walk along a narrow main road or start and end at those points. There also are a few headlands missed out as well, but it is a true coastal path bar these exceptions and worth the effort.
6 – The Eryri Way – 130KM
This is the Welsh equivalent of the West Highland Way, but arguably more diverse in nature.
7 – The Coastal Paths – other than the two mentioned already, there’s the Llyn Coastal path that starts in Caernarfon, though you don’t see much coastal walking for a good 20k+. Ceredigion has a well promoted route, but not much info unless you buy their guidebook and there’s going to be a much promotes all Wales coastal route opening in May. We’ll be covering that in full detail in the end of April, including all the local coastal paths, the best day walks and the logistics of walking the entire Welsh Coast in one go!
Of course, there are loads of other local routes, usually promoted by some group or other along with a guidebook. They’re a good way to explore one area pretty thoroughly and here are a couple that are already on the site:
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siDave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.