May is National Walking Month and with another long bank holiday weekend and fine weather ahead, what better way to explore the countryside than with your canine best friend.
If you are planning a trip to Wales to enjoy the beautiful coastline, impressive mountain ranges, remote moorlands and breath-taking lakes, why not try one of these 5 dog friendly walks as recommended by outdoor specialists Millets and Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion Tracy Purnell.
Three Cliffs Bay, Gower Peninsula
Length – 7 miles / Duration – 2 hours 38 mins / Grade – Easy
Parking at Three Cliffs Bay car park, SA3 2HB
Designated as the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956, the Gower Peninsula forms part of South Wales’ diverse coastal area with its vast salt marshes and shapely sand dunes. It has an abundance of beautiful dog friendly sandy beaches, striking limestone cliffs, historic caves, vast moorland and breath-taking panoramic views, all of which await you on this protruding picturesque headland.
Three Cliffs Bay is the perfect starting point to a choice of many varied walks. If you do not require an overnight stay, there is a visitor car park with ample room to park for a day’s exploring. From this location, you can mender along the coastal path taking in the sea views up close. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to observe the landscape from a higher perspective, a stroll along the Gowers Way will lift you up onto the spine of the peninsula. Here you’ll find spectacular views of the northern and southern coastline that surround this headland.
Allt yr Esgair, Brecon Beacons National Park
Length – 7 miles / Duration – 2 hours 35 mins / Grade – Moderate
Parking at The Welsh Venison Centre, Middlewood Farm, Bwlch, LD3 7HQ
The Brecon Beacons National Park is a protected area covering 1344km² within South Wales.
It consists of spectacular mountain ranges, picturesque canals, beautiful forests, tranquil lakes and reservoirs, and historic towns and villages. Not forgetting its caves, castles, nature reserves and stunning waterfalls.
Allt yr Esgair is a hill located towards the eastern area of the park. The walk starts at the Welsh Venison Centre near the village of Talybont on Usk. The summit of Allt yr Esgair boasts amazing views overlooking the River Usk. Looking west those famous humps of Corn Du and Pen y Fan can be seen peering over the hills in the distance.
Pen-Pych Mountain, Rhondda, Cynon, Taf
Length – 6 miles / Duration – 2 hours 40 mins / Grade – Moderate
Free parking at Blaen y Cwm Road, Forestry Car Park, Blaencwm, CF42 5DG
Pen-pych sits at the head of the Rhondda Fawr Valley in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Rhondda Valley’s very own Table Mountain. Experience the spectacular views of Pen-pych circular walk. This is such a varied walk, which is steeped in history.
It passes by some large dramatic waterfalls, two of which are Nant Carnfoesan and Nant Melyn. You can visit an Iron Age settlement of hut circles, take in views of a former colliery, and stumble across an old disused railway tunnel along the way.
Llyn Brianne, Cambrian Mountains
Length – 10 miles / Duration – 3 hours 57 mins / Difficulty – Moderate
Parking at SN 8099 5143
Llyn Brianne is a spectacular reservoir nestled in the Doethie Valley Mid Wales, surrounded by the beautiful Tywi Forest. It was named after a stream Nant y Bryniau, which in English translates to stream in the hills. This picturesque body of water is the head of the River Tywi. Beneath the tranquil waters of Llyn Brianne lies the old Fanog farm, which was flooded in 1972 to create the reservoir we see today. On the rare occasion the water levels drop, only then the farm is visible. This area boasts an abundance of wildlife including the rare red squirrel. Travel along the narrow road which winds up towards the dam. The scenic road then meanders on through the beautiful forest alongside the lake.
There are many parking areas around the lake, an ideal place to park up and have a picnic with a view. Take one of the many trails up into the forestry or simply stroll alongside this breathtaking lake. There is so much to see in this area and so many varied walks, spending a few days exploring would be the perfect solution.
Preseli Mountains, Pembrokeshire National Park
Length – 11 miles / Duration – 4hrs 25 mins / Grade – Moderate
Free parking at lay by SN 1654 3309
Due to a brave stand by local residents in the 1940’s who opposed plans to turn the mountains into a permanent military training area, the Preseli Mountains are now freely accessible to walkers.
Head for the summit of Foel Drygarn and enjoy the spectacular views that surround you. Heading west, follow the path carefully down from the summit and take the footpath alongside an area of woodland to the next prominent landmark: the large cairns.
After passing Cairn Gyfrwy and Cairn Menyn on your left you will slowly start to descend, opening up the vast views ahead even more. Approximately a mile ahead you will reach a small stone circle. A cairn marks the summit of Foel Feddau and the views are well worth the climb. The next landmark to head for is an area of trees, which is on the other side of a boundary fence. There is a gate to pass through to reach this area.
Head south once through the gate and then it is a moderate climb to the summit of Foel Cwmcerwyn. Foel Cwmcerwyn and the Prescelly OS Triangulation Pillar is the turnaround point. The footpaths are well defined and also have wooden way markers along the way.
For further reading, please click here to view the routes and find out more information, including what you need to pack.