11th - 24th July
Wales is the sixth region to take part in the Relay, picking up the baton from riders in the North West and there is so much to say about this stunning country! From countryside to coastline, castles to culture, much of Wales’ landscape is protected. Around a quarter of the country lies either within one of its three National Parks (Snowdonia (north), the Brecon Beacons (South east) and the Pembrokeshire Coast) (south west) or one of its five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs): Llŷn Peninsula (north west), the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley (North) , the Gower Peninsula (South coast) , the isle of Anglesey and the Wye Valley (SW border with England).
The Welsh coastal path is the first in the world to follow a country’s coastline in its entirety. Dip in anywhere along its 870 miles and take in the extensive views, contemporary cultural hotspots, encounters with nature and thousands of years of history. Take a drive to the Gower peninsula, designated the first AONB in the UK where you can pitch your tent at Three Cliffs bay, with vistas across sand dunes, limestone cliffs and salt marshes. On the west coast, enjoy old-school seaside charm at Aberdovey and Barmouth; the latter has a particularly beautiful stretch of the coastal path, with views of the Mawddach Estuary, Cadair Idris and the Snowdonia National Park looming inland. Further north, a trio of commanding coastal castles at Harlech, Criccieth, and Caernarfon will impress, while Portmeirion with its whimsical Italianate architecture and riotous floral displays is a delight. The Llŷn Peninsula in the North West is one of Wales’s least explored areas, where the coast path has a wild, romantic feel. Climb to the headland from Aberdaron and feel completely at one with nature.
In addition to stunning coastline and beautiful countryside, Wales is steeped in culture with examples such as the Wales Millennium Centre, new home for the performing Arts. A nod to Cardiff’s maritime history, the building has a hull-shaped roof giving rise to the nickname the armadillo., If visual arts holds more appeal, visit St Donat’s near Porthcawl, Wales’ longest inhabited castle whose grounds contain the national contemporary Arts Centre.
For horse riders, due to the vast expanses of countryside, coast and national parks there are numerous options for riding and walking. Natural Resources Wales manages purpose-built soft trails for horse riders in Crychan Forest near Llandovery and Dyfnant Forest near Welshpool. There is also access for horse riding and some waymarked horse riding trails in many of the other woodlands managed by Natural Resources Wales. In addition, the Wales Coast path provides a continuous walking route around the whole of Wales. Close to the path, there are bridleways, forests and beaches where you can ride as well as riding and pony trekking centres which cater for riders of all ages and abilities.
Useful local information
Official Tourist Board site: www.visitwales.com
Wales Coastal Path (with interactive map): www.walescoastpath.co.uk
Wales Millennium Centre: www.wmc.org.uk/
St Fagan’s National Museum of History: www.museum.wales/stfagans
National Parks Wales www.nationalparkswales.uk
Brecon Beacons National Park Authority www.beacons-npa.gov.uk
Snowdonia National Park www.eryri-npa.gov.uk
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales
Wales Coast Path www.walescoastpath.gov.uk
Horse Riding and Carriage Driving in Wales Natural Resources Wales / Horse riding and carriage driving
Horse Riding in the Brecon Beacons Horse riding - Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales
Horse Riding in the Crychan Forest (Halfway Forest) Natural Resources Wales / Halfway Forest, near Llandovery or main area Natural Resources Wales / Crychan Forest, near Llandovery
Horse Riding in Dyfnant Forest Natural Resources Wales / Dyfnant Forest (Pen y Ffordd), near Dolgellau
North Wales Horse Watch (one of our supported charities) www.northwaleshorsewatch.co.uk
More information and some fun facts
Castles are everywhere! Wales has over 600, which is more per square mile than anywhere in the world. Many are built by Welsh royal dynasties, often in very beautiful places
Wales' three national parks together cover 20% of the whole land surface of Wales
Aside from being (at 58 letters) the longest place name in Europe and the longest valid, single-word internet domain name in the world, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch was actually used as a secret password in the in the cult 1968 Jane Fonda movie Barbarella - writers of the the sci-fi kitsch fest had characters say it each time they wanted to gain entry to a secret resistance HQ
The oldest tree in Wales is the Llangernyw Yew in St Digain’s church yard, Llangernyw, near Conwy. It’s approximately 4,000 years old
Wales has been the setting of numerous well known films including First Knight, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Robin Hood, King Arthur, The Secret Garden, Tomb Raider 2, Wonder Woman 1984 and an incredible four James Bond films! (Quantum of Solace, Die Another Day, The World is Not Enough and From Russia With Love)
The great glasshouse in the National Botanical Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire, is the largest single-span glasshouse in the world, measuring 312ft in length and 180ft in width
The actors Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins are from Wales. The comedians Griff Rhys-Jones and Tommy Cooper were born there, as well as the singer Tom Jones.
Horses4Health organised rides and events
The Welsh leg of the relay is going to start with Helen Lacey from North Wales Horse Watch near Wrexham (one of the seven charities being supported by the Relay). .. She will be catching a ‘virtual’ baton from the North West Region
The baton will then work its way around Wales simultaneously until it leaves on 24th July from Mid Wales Borders
There will be three types of ride /walk/ long-rein /drive …for registered members of the Relay and some options for overnighters.
1. Baton rides (members doing their own thing, clocking miles , and either passing a baton for real between riders or catching and/or throwing it virtually for the camera ) & making voluntary donation or raising sponsorship for days ridden
2. Self guided rides - these are rides that have been put forward with parking and maps. Information below. Download the GPX and off you go. There is no charge but a voluntary donation or raising sponsorship is always gratefully received.
3. Guided/led/accompanied rides that you book onto by emailing email@example.com There will be a minimum recommended donation for these (usually around £20-25)
4. Overnighters where members have offered stays and either self-guided or accompanied rides to other members. Book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Minimum recommended donation (usually around £20-25 per night)
The list of rides is growing, Huge thanks to those who have researched, viewed and put forward rides for others to enjoy
Self-guided Rides 11th -24th July
GPX downloads available. See Word documents for more information
Lyn Brenig (Lyn Brenig visitor Centre LL21 9TT) and Lyn Alwen in the heart of the Denbigh Moors
On the border between Conwy and Denbighshire - selection of three rides (mid-week is best)
Submitted by Elaine Walker
Harlech Castle Ride (LL46 2YH) 8 miles to the pub and back
Submitted by Denise Meldrum
Talybont (LL45 2LD) 15 mile circular ride
Submitted by Denise Meldrum
Dolgellau (LL40 2HE) linear take a picnic ride - up to 10 miles there and 10 miles back
Submitted by Denise Meldrum
Kerry Ridgeway 8 mile circular ride
Submitted by Medina Brock
July 8th Snowdon Ranger Ride (LL54 7YT) 11 miles with Denise Meldrum (max 6 riders)
July 11th July Lynn Penninsula 14 miles with Diane South (max 4 riders)
July 14th Anglesey beach ride 15-16 miles with Vicky Long (Max 5 riders)
July 15th 6.30pm Criccieth (LL52 0BT) 9-10 miles with Denise Meldrum (Max 6 riders)
Overnighters. Book via email@example.com
Anglesey : Stay with Jay _ offering parking, food, camping and grazing with rides of between 6 & 12 miles in central Anglesey. (Recommended donation £20 per night) - Max two vehicles
Brecon Beacons : Hannah is offering camping and corral with an 8 mile accompanied loop ride. (max three vehicles) recommended donation £25. See document below for more information.
Mid Wales Overnight at Brandy House, (Max six horses)
23rd July - offering camping and DIY livery and access to full route portfolio on the day before the baton is handed on to the West Midlands (camping and livery fee will be donated to H4H)
24th July Bring your own picnic (Brandy House) and say hello! We will be handing the baton to West Midlands at midday. E-mail Medina at firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE Do get involved, no ride, lead, drive, walk is too short and none too long; Plan your baton ride, join a self-guided or accompanied ride to try somewhere new. Join in the chat on our regional WhatsApp groups .... enjoy the relay .. Have fun and raise funds for our amazing supporting charities!
Local riding routes
Nationally there are the BHS Access routes http://www.bhsaccess.org.uk/dobbin/Ridingmap.php?file=Walesindex
Great Dragon running the length of Wales and consisting of
Prince Llewelyn East to West
William Morgan from Glyndyfedwy in Denbighshire to Dylife in Powys
Seahorse Ride in the north from Talacre near Prestatyn to Glyndyfrdwy
Radnor Forest from Brecon Beacons to Lloyney near Knighton Powys
Saran Helen from Brecon Beacons towards the coast
GPX files of these routes are all downloadable from the link above.
HOWEVER you do need local knowledge and there is no guarantee they are passable so check out routes on the Bridleways & Stays section of www.equitoolz.com where there is an ever growing collection off routes with parking and accommodation too.
Below are a selection of routes and trails that have been adopted by bridleway groups, councils or Natural Resources Wales
Crychan Forest trails. https://www.crychanforest.org.uk/horse-riding
Rainbow Trails http://rainbowtrails.org.uk/