Walks in South Wales explore a varied region, rich in heritage and even richer in scenic beauty. Here, you find Wales’ greatest cities, arguably its most dramatic coastal trails and Southern Britain’s highest peak.
The region is home to two contrasting but equally spectacular national parks: the Brecon Beacons and the Pembrokeshire Coast. The Brecon Beacons are home to some of the finest hiking in South Wales. It’s a region of sweeping emerald uplands, where soaring summits rise above glacially sculpted cwms. Its valleys delight with spellbinding waterfall walks, sparkling reservoir loops and gorgeous woodland ambles.
When it comes to coastal walks, you’re spoilt for choice in South Wales. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is rugged and beautiful in equal measure, a place of stunning wildlife and beguiling scenery. Meanwhile, the limestone charm of the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is also sure to enthral.
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Discover the Brecon Beacons
When it comes to hillwalking, the best hiking routes in South Wales can be found in the Brecon Beacons. This magnificent National Park is home to four distinct regions and South Britain’s highest peak, Pen y Fan, at 2,907 feet (886 m). From the towering escarpment of the Black Mountain and the limestone majesty of Fforest Fawr, to the sweeping cwms of the Central Beacons and the long, broad ridgelines of the Black Mountains, there’s almost endless adventure potential.
It’s not all about the hills though, there is a wealth of walking in the region’s many picturesque valleys. The southwesterly edge of the national park is known as Waterfall Country, a lovely hiking region where the Rivers Mellte, Hepste, Pyrddin and Nedd-fechan tumble through dramatic wooded gorges.
The incredible Pembrokeshire Coast
For lovers of the coast, hikes around South Wales don’t come much better than those found along the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Covering 243 square miles (629 km), it’s a region of dramatic, rocky headlands, secret coves and vast beaches that reward time and time again.
Any walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast is a treat for the senses, with the evocative sounds of the sea, spectacular sights aplenty and magical encounters with wildlife. There are few better places in Britain for birdlife, with puffins, manx shearwaters, guillemots and razorbills among the species that visit its islands, sea stacks and cliffs to raise their young.
Exploring the southern coast
There’s more to walks in South Wales than its two national parks. On either end of its Bristol Channel coast are two AONBs. In the east, following the meandering River Wye inland, is the Wye Valley AONB and its steep-sided, wooded valleys. In the west is the sublime peninsula of the Gower AONB, with its limestone cliffs, sandy beaches and glorious downland.
In between the two, there’s a great deal to discover. Take a stroll around the regenerated Cardiff Bay before checking out Wales’ vibrant capital. Head into the South Wales Valleys, a region characterised by modest hills and a strong coal mining heritage.
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Explore more of Wales: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.