Rugged cliffs, grassy plains and castle ruins perched by the sea… these are images that might call into mind the famous Welsh coastline. The Wales Coast Path is 870 miles, making Wales the only country where it’s possible to walk the entire shoreline: this a great place to start for a Welsh holiday.
But did you know walks not on by the seaside are just as breathtaking? Here are just a few of our picks for inland hiking trails that’ll take you across the countryside, to a waterfall paradise and to the very edge of a precipice walk.
Llangollen History Trail
Photo by Radarsmum67
Who will like it: History buffs and slow amblers
What you’ll see: Llangollen town, historic landmarks and the countryside
You thought hiking in Wales was reserved for great lengthy strides across rugged land? Not really. If your feet get tired, you won’t notice here because you’ll be taken in by the quaintness of Llangollen, the surrounding hills and historic sights. And don’t worry, there are plenty of opportunities to take breaks.
Warm up your wandering feet in Llangollen town, exploring its numerous boutique shops, restaurants and bars, before starting your trail. The track will bring you to Horseshoe Falls, a semi-circular weir built in 1806 which is perfect for a picnic stop. Head north to the 13th century Llantysilio Church and Valle Crucis Abbey, and then finish off the trail with a climb up to Dinas Bran Castle where you’ll be able to soak in impressive views of Llangollen and the surrounding countryside. You’ll need strong legs for this, but you’ll thank yourself afterwards.
Starting point: Llangollen town
Length: 6 miles
Time: 4 hours
The Four Falls Walk
Brecon Beacons National Park
Photo by Catrin Austin
Who will like it: Adventurers
What you’ll see: Waterfalls, gorges and caves
Welcome to the part of Wales they call the Waterfall Country. If nothing in nature will satisfy you except for seeing some majestic, pristine clean waterfalls, you’ll find them here.
The Four Falls Walk will take you across the paths of a number of stunning waterfalls, among a fairy-tale landscape of gorges, caves and swallow holes. You’ll come across Sgwd Henrhyd, the highest waterfall in Brecon Beacons. You’ll be able to walk behind a curtain of water at the Sgwd yr Eira, or the ‘waterfall of snow’ as well as see the Sgwd Clun-gywn (‘the fall of the white meadow’), cascading over tiers of sandstone and mudstone.
Top tip: Stick to waymarked paths and wear shoes with good grip.
Starting point: Gwaun Hepste or Cwm Porth car park
Length: 5.5 miles
Time: 4 hours
Photo by Peter F
Who will like it: Families
What you’ll see: Woodland, meadows and lakesides
Although a precipice walk may sound terrifying, rest assured this is the easiest of the three and great for families and their dogs (just keep them on a lead). The walk is levelled at 800ft above ground, so while there’s not much climbing or descending involved, vertigo sufferers be warned!
Legend has it that the path was originally created by flocks of sheep in their summer search for grazing land, paving their way past woodland, meadows and lakesides before being widened for the public in the 12th century. Nowadays you’ll also see conifer plantations (non-existent in sheep-times) as well as unrivalled views of the wide and sandy Mawddach Estuary, and the mountain ranges of Snowdonia.
Top tip: Some parts of the track can be narrow with a steep drop – so make sure children and dogs are well behaved!
Starting point: National Park car park at Saith Groesffordd
Length: 3 miles
Time: 1-2 hours
Lead photo by Stuart Madden
Do you know any hidden walks in Wales? Let us know below!