I love discovering places (almost) on my doorstep. We used to take holidays in Cornwall every year when I was a child and so I know that part of the world like the back of my hand. Wales, however, I’m only in recent years discovering and I have fallen in love with it. It is extraordinarily beautiful – with rugged cliffs, vast sandy beaches and charming villages – and a recent trip just reinforced all of that. One super-packed day but one that included villages, mountains and sea.
I had been to this small market town on the border between England and Wales, but for work as a TV producer on Sky Arts coverage of the famous Hay Festival that takes place each year (go, it’s brilliant!). This time I was visiting with my good friend Alex, and we spent a lovely morning wandering its quaint little lanes and popping into some of the towns 30 bookstores (Hay is famous as a top destination for bibliophiles!). I bought a couple of vintage maps of the area and we poured over them whilst having a lovely early lunch overlooking the town. Afterwards we drove up to nearby Hay Bluff and enjoyed views across the Wye Valley.
One of the many bookshops in Hay
The views over Hay Bluff
Next we headed into the stunning mountainous Brecon Beacons National Park. As we drove towards the hike we had planned we passed through continually changing landscapes that took our breath away – valleys, mountains, reservoirs, rivers. We jumped out of the car so many times to take photos we had to stop ourselves or we would have spent the rest of the day there!
Constant out of car jumping pays off
We arrived at Llyn y Fan Fach (Welsh for ‘lake of the small hill') and started our walk to the lake. It was even more stunning than I thought. Surrounded by several prominent mountain peaks the lake glistened in the mid afternoon light. We sat by the lakes edge and had a cup of tea from the flask we had brought with us. Then, after a failed attempt to skim stones we decided to climb up to the top – and so glad we did, the view from 510m was quite simply breathtaking.
Llyn y Fan Fach posing
The view from the top
THE GOWER PENINSULA
Our final stop was one I was really looking forward to and where my heart lies – anywhere near the sea. The Gower Peninsula was the UK’s first area of outstanding natural beauty and it is clear why – this coastline is jawdropping. We headed to a place I have been wanting to see in the flesh for a long time, Three Cliffs Bay. We walked across the stepping stones to reach the beach, and then climbed up to reach the tops of the Three Cliffs. We made it back to what must be one of the most stunning campsites in the UK and settled down for the night, chatting about the amazing day we’d had.
Hike to the top was certainly worth it
Getting across the water is easy
Hike for the night. Not a bad spot.
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