Nothing beats a good walk. Whether it’s a gentle saunter to clear your head or a 10-mile hike to get your heart pumping, a bit of fresh air never goes amiss. But nothing quite compares to a stroll out in the vast and picturesque countryside of South Wales. Whether you’re paying a visit to Cardiff, Bridgend or the Brecon Beacons, discover an abundance of fantastic walking routes right at your doorstep. From fairy tale woodland walks and waterfall trails to coastal hikes along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, here are a few of the best walks in South Wales to add to your itinerary.
Distance: 6.3 Miles
Time: 2 hours (plus time for sightseeing)
Postcode: CF10 4PA
It can be stressful trying to plan a walk if you’ve got little ones to think about. Not knowing when you’ll next have phone signal or a functioning toilet doesn’t seem like the ideal recipe for a fun family outing. But luckily, the Cardiff Bay Trail is one of the best walks in South Wales that offers an easy circular walk and invites you to admire the rich art, heritage and atmosphere of Cardiff’s coastal corner in under 2 hours.
Cardiff Bay is the life and soul of the capital city, packed full of attractions and activities for the whole family to enjoy. Stroll along the barrage and enjoy gorgeous views over the Severn Estuary. Cross the famous Pont y Werin bridge to the seaside town of Penarth. Get to know the history of the bay by discovering its famous monuments, including the Merchant Seafarers War Memorial and the Norwegian Church where Roald Dahl was christened.
As it’s more of an urban walk, the trail is ideal for those with young children or teens, with plenty of waterfront restaurants, cafes, shops and toilets on route to rest, recharge, and entertain.
Distance: 7 Miles
Time: 3.5 hours
Postcode: CF71 7SX
The Vale covers over 130 square miles of outstanding countryside decorated with cosy villages, rugged coastline and a handful of the best walks in South Wales. To experience the very best of the Vale, we recommend a circular 7-mile walk from Hensol Forest to the charming Village of Pendoylan.
Setting off from the free carpark at Hensol Forest, prepare to encounter wide, grassy fields, beautiful woodland trails and various types of wildlife. Dating back to the 1600s, the forest is known for its mixture of deciduous and conifer trees and the magnificent Psygodlyn Lake. Keep your eyes peeled for herons at the Coed Llwyn Rhyddid Heronry.
Continue through the woods until you enter Pendoylan, a quaint little village which resembles something out of a Jane Austen novel. Here you’ll come across St Cadoc’s Church, a number of beautiful listed buildings as well as a handful of charming countryside cottages.
Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Postcode: CF32 0PB
For minimum effort but maximum reward, take a gentle walk along the Wales Coast Path from Ogmore-by-Sea to Dunraven Bay. The coastal path stretches from Swansea to Chepstow and includes a number of easy to moderate trails, allowing you to discover some of the very best sights that South Wales has to offer.
Beginning at Ogmore car park, follow the signs for the coastal trail and enjoy dramatic views out to sea from the clifftops. Once you reach the bay – sometimes referred to as Southerndown Beach - have a peek in the rockpools, search for fossils and Jurassic oysters (known as devils’ toenails) or pay a visit to the ruins of Dunraven Castle.
This easy South Wales walk is great for a family outings or those looking for a general amble and some fresh air. Facilities are sparse but there is an ice cream shop nearby if you’re feeling peckish.
Distance: 10 Miles
Time: 5-6 Hours
Postcode: CF48 2UT
When you think of the best walks in South Wales, it’s likely that one of the first things that comes to mind (along with the sheep) are the Brecon Beacons.
The Brecon Beacons is Wales’ National Park, spanning 520 square miles of rugged mountains, undisturbed moorland and dazzling panoramic views. It’s also home to Pen y Fan, otherwise known as the highest peak Southern Britain. Perfect for those wanting to put their hiking skills to the test in exchange for a taste of the Welsh mountains.
To reach the summit of Pen y Fan, there are a few routes to pick from, each with their own hidden gems, but if you’re looking for a challenge, the horseshoe ridge walk might be right up your alley. Starting at the Taf Fechan car park, prepare to make the steep climb up numerous steps and jagged paths.
The reward is great as nothing quite beats the feeling you’ll get when you reach the top of Pen y Fan. It’s a proper leg work out, but it’s worth every step and one of the best walks (hikes) in South Wales.
Distance: 4.5 miles
Time: 3-4 Hours
Postcode: CF44 9JF
If you want to enjoy the hidden treasures the of Brecon Beacons without the aching legs the next day, you might prefer a visit to the famous Waterfall Country. Popular amongst tourists and locals, this section of the National Park boasts a series of incredible gorges, rivers and waterfalls.
To get the most out of your visit, we recommend the Four Falls trail. As the name suggests, discover four immaculate waterfalls during this a moderate 4.5 mile walk suitable for all abilities. Follow marked signs posts until you come face to face with the dramatic falls. Each one is breathtaking, but the Sgwd yr Eira is the most impressive.
As you walk the trail, you’ll notice all kinds of wildlife, from otters and newts to water voles and reed warblers.
Whether you’ve made the challenging trek to the summit of Pen y Fan or spent an afternoon searching the rockpools at Dunraven Bay, end your day with a good night’s sleep at Court Colman Manor, set in the beautiful countryside of Bridgend. Sit back, relax and allow yourself to be well rested for whatever adventures await you the next day.