Hay on Wye is well known as the town of books, and plays host to a large annual literary shindig. But it is also a handy centre for walking, with easy access to the Brecon Beacons National Park, Offa's Dyke Trail, the Black Mountains, the Wye Valley, the Golden Valley and the Herefordshire countryside. The inaugural Hay on Wye Walking Festival is taking place over the weekend of 7-9 October to celebrate this diversity of walking opportunities, with some literary references along the way (because they couldn't help themselves).
Festival co-ordinator Alison O'Grady explains:
'Hay on Wye gets plenty of coverage for its literary festival, but less recognition for the access it provides to wonderful and diverse walking. We hope that the Hay Walking Festival will go some way to redress this balance, and highlight some of the best walking that our area has to offer.'
'Hay is situated at the eastern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, close to the foot of the Black Mountains, a natural border between England and Wales reaching a high point of 811m on Waun Fach.'
The Brecon Beacons National Park covers an area of 1347 square kilometres, containing some of the most spectacular and distinctive upland in southern Britain.
There will be over 30 events during the festival weekend, including 23 guided walks, 3 runs courtesy of Hay Hotfooters, and 4 evening events. Many of the walks provide a chance to acquire new skills, or learn more about the area's history and geology. You can learn basic Nordic walking techniques, map reading, map interpretation, and how to take better photos of the landscape, or walk a stretch of Offa's Dyke in the company of a National Trail officer.
'Walks vary in length from a short stroll around the town to a strenuous 15 mile hike in the Black Mountains, and we hope that the opportunity to learn new skills and discover more about the area will mean that the Walking Festival will appeal both to visitors and to local residents' says Alison O'Grady.
For more info visit the festival website.