Discover Mid Wales
Photo: Llangorse Lake with the Brecon Beacons beyond.
The River Wye
One of the major rivers of Wales, designated as a special area of conservation and renowned for its variety of wildlife, white water kayaking and Canadian canoeing.
In summer it is hard to beat a half or full day paddling down the River Wye in a kayak or Canadian canoe; most of the operators will collect you at your destination and bring you back to your starting point. In winter, serious canoeists take to the Upper Wye for kayaking and white water rafting. Sailing dinghies and rowing boats can be rented on Llangors Lake (the largest natural lake in Wales), and narrow boat trips are available on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.
- Wye Valley Canoe Centre - Canoe hire in Glasbury. Paddle downstream to Hay-on-Wye.
- Celtic Canoes - Canoe hire in Hay-on-Wye for exploring the River Wye.
- Want to Canoe - Canoe hire based at Hay bridge.
- Beacon Park Day Boats - Explore the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal on electric day boat or canoe.
- Black Mountain Activities - Kayaking, white water rafting, gorge walking, canoe hire.
- Interactivities - Canoeing and kayaking, gorge adventure, coasteering, and raft building.
- Llangorse Multi Activity Centre - The new Dingle Scramble provides wet and muddy fun for groups over a 1km dingle climb.
The Brecon Beacons National Park
The National Park covers 520 square miles and includes the Brecon Beacons mountain range, the Black Mountains and Llangorse Lake (the largest natural lake in Wales). Glasbury is on the northern edge of the park. The Mountain Centre is a good starting point (cafe, toilets, parking). The below photo was taken during a short walk from the centre.
Hay-on-Wye – "Town Of Books"
Hay-on-Wye (Y-Gelli in Welsh) is a small market town on the border between Wales and England which became famous as the "Town of Books". Richard Booth opened his first second-hand bookshop here in 1961, now there are some 30 bookshops in the town.
The town gained much notoriety in 1977 when Richard Booth and some of his friends decided (over a few pints in the pub) to declare U.D.I. A parliament was formed (although some ministers were too drunk to remember which was their ministry), 98p bank notes printed (on rice paper, so at least you could eat them), passports issued and titles sold (Earldoms cost £5, including a free T-shirt). Richard Booth was crowned king on April 1st 1977. He gave a speech from the battlements of his castle and the local school children sang the Hay national anthem. In 1984 a referendum, organised by Booth's arch rival, Leon Morelli, in which 25% of the townsfolk voted (mainly due to the offer of a free glass of wine provided by Mr Morelli) ended the reign of good King Richard. Booth never acknowledged the validity of the referendum, but the Duchess of Hay and Offa's Dyke, April Ashley, sought exile in Hollywood! There are now booktowns all over the world.
Hay Castle has recently undergone a multi million pound restoration and now hosts exhibitions, community events, a shop and a cafe.
The Wye Valley Walk passes just outside our B&B (photo) - a 136 mile long distance trail from Chepstow, in Monmouthshire, to the source of the River Wye at Plynlimon high in the Cambrian Mountains.
- The Ramblers - The 2 local groups, Four Wells Ramblers and East Radnor Ramblers, organise walks on alternative Saturdays and Sundays and some shorter Wednesday walks.
- Brecon Beacons Park Society - Organise guided walks for experienced walkers. The £5 donation requested from non-members is well worth it.
- Brecon Beacons National Park - Organise a range of walks and events.
- Walking World - Download walking routes (subscription website).
- Geocaching - If your kids find walks a bit pointless, introduce them to geocaching, a treasure hunting game played throughout the world by old and young adventure seekers. Several caches hidden locally.
The Welsh National Cycle Route (or Lon Las Cymru in welsh) passes right by our B&B. This is Sustrans' cycle route 8, a 276 mile way-marked cycle route running from Anglesey in the north to Cardiff or Chepstow in the south.
- Lon Las Cymru - The Welsh National Cycle Route.
- Cycling Wales - Looking for some cycling ideas, then this is the place to start. Pages covering Mid Wales and The Brecon Beacons National Park. Also Herefordshire and Shropshire.
- Mid-Wales South Cycle Map. Published by Sustrans, at a scale of 1:110,000.
- Elan Valley - Try cycling the 8 mile Elan Valley Trail around the Victorian reservoirs for some gentle cycling. Bike hire available.
- Drover Holidays - Will deliver rental bikes and suggest routes.
- Bikes & Hikes - Bike hire in Talybont-on-Usk - ride the canal towpath or go up on the Beacons.
- Cycle Brecon Beacons - Info about family cycling, mountain bike routes, and cycle hire in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
- Mountain Biking Wales - Information on mountain biking in Wales.
- The National Cycle Museum - Over 250 cycles from an 1818 Hobby Horse, Victorian solid-tyred machines, classic lightweights to the latest designs. In Llandrindod Wells.
- Cantref Riding Centre - Trekking in the Brecon Beacons. Lessons available.
- Llangorse Riding & Rope Centre - Trekking.
- Tregoyd Riding Centre - Day and half day treks in the Black Mountains.
Caving & Climbing
The Brecon Beacons is well suited for climbing and caving. The limescale caves under the LLangattock escarpment near Crickhowell are some of the longest in Britain.