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South East Wales
Cardiff is the gateway to South East Wales which offers everything you could want: spectacular scenery in the nearby Vale of Glamorgan, the highest peaks in Southern Britain in the Brecon Beacons National park, and magnificent castles in the South Wales valleys.
Home to the most southerly point in Wales, the Vale of Glamorgan is
perfect for those who love the outdoor life and discovering towns and
villages packed full of charm and character.
The county’s dramatic coastline, which includes part of the 14-mile Glamorgan Heritage Coast, is a mix of golden sandy beaches, spectacular rugged cliffs, secluded romantic coves and breath-taking views.
Generations of families have enjoyed visiting the traditional seaside
resort of Barry Island for many years, while you can criss-cross the
Vale’s rolling hills and green countryside to spend countless hours
exploring our towns – Barry, Penarth, Cowbridge and and Llantwit Major
– and many picturesque villages.
Glamorgan Heritage Coast & Countryside
The countryside and stunning scenery of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast & Countryside is only a short drive from the centre of Cardiff, and here you'll find some of Wales' best beaches, cliff-top walks, ancient castles, and family attractions. For a seaside break head to Penarth or Barry, or visit the market town of Cowbridge for their annual food festival or the county town Bridgend for its ‘Summer Fayre’.
South Wales Valleys
South Wales valleys once powered the world with Welsh coal, and now visitors from across the world can explore the industrial past of the region as well as enjoy some of the best scenery in South Wales. Head to Caerphilly for one of the UK’s best preserved castles, or take the short trip to Merthyr Tydfil to enjoy a ride on the Brecon Mountain Railway. For those who like to get out and about, the Valleys of South Wales offer some of the best views for walkers and cyclists.
The Wye Valley AONB is an internationally important protected landscape containing some of the most beautiful lowland scenery in Britain
Within the AONB a 58 mile/92km stretch of the River Wye winds down through the valley through spectacular limestone gorge scenery and dense ravine woodlands. Superb wildlife, intriguing archaeological and industrial remains and impressive geological features all make it into one of the most fascinating Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Designated in 1971, this unique landscape straddles the border between
England and Wales. It includes areas within Gloucestershire, Forest
of Dean, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire.
A Management Plan for the AONB enlists a range of partners in conserving and enhancing its beauty for the benefit of present and future generations.
The Hundred of St Briavels was an ancient name that marked the area between the Wye Valley and the River Severn. If you are born in this area you are allowed traditional rights; to be a Freeminer, or to graze livestock. The new St Briavels Hundred is a series of ten guided walks, each of 10 miles starting at different points in this beautiful area. The walks take you to parts of the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley that are off the beaten track. When you have completed all ten you will have travelled over a hundred miles and explored on your journey the unique culture and history of an undiscovered part of the world.
All the routes are circular and have short cuts, so you can break the walk into a distance to suit your capabilities. Most of the routes are on the outskirts of the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley and the traveller will be rewarded with wonderful views of the Welsh Mountains, The Malverns, May Hill and the Wye and Severn Valleys. Most walks take place on the first Sunday of the month.
The names of the routes, Milo’s Revenge, In the footsteps of Henry V, Journey to Middle Earth, In search of Sabrina, In the Steps of Wordsworth, etc, reflect the folklore and history that your expert guide will describe.
Once you have experienced one of the walks you will want to return again and again to sample the distinct flavour of all ten. Complete all ten and you will become a Forest Freewalker. Even after you have joined the exclusive ranks of those that have achieved all ten walks you will want to try them at different times of the year; when the bluebells are out, during autumn colour, when the daffodils or snow drops blossom or on a crisp winter’s day.
Benefit from local knowledge and get interesting facts en-route, and find parts of this historic area that other visitors do not see. Take your first step on a journey of a hundred miles, by contacting the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Tour Guides or book online now for £10 per person.
Family cycling in the Forest of Dean
The cycle path in the Forest of Dean has just been named by the Daily Telegraph as Britain’s No 1 family cycle route. The route is based upon old railway lines in the Forest, previously used for taking coal to the nearby river ports. There are 15 miles of track with gradients suitable for all members of the family regularly interspersed with picnic sites. A good starting point is the Cannop Cycle Centre which has refreshments and toilets. The route is waymarked but maps can be bought the Cycle Centre or at Beechenhurst Visitors’ Centre.
Wye Valley Mountain Biking
If you don’t have your own bike there is no problem as cycles of all sizes and types can be hired by the Pedalabikeaway Cycle Centre.
If you are looking for something more challenging, you might consider:
» Wye Valley Mountain Biking
» Redhill Bike & Board Centre