South Wales Valleys: Activity Options
The Valley of South Wales are packed with surprises and diverse activities, and it’s just an hour or two away from Bristol, Bath, Birmingham, Reading and Oxford. Here are a few tasters of what you can do.
1. Get cooking in The Chef’s Room
Of course we love more than Welsh Cakes in The Valleys, we also love Welsh Italian Fusion, Cicchetti, Classic French, Chocolate and... all the other delicious dishes you can make on courses and master classes at The Chef’s Room fish and cookery school, Blaenavon. Winner of The Best Cookery School in Wales (British Cookery School Awards 2012), it’s the kitchen to cook up a storm with expert tutors.
2. Come on, it’s gorge-ous
Whet, or should we say ‘wet’, your appetite for adventure, gorge walking in the Brecon Beacons with Wales Outdoors. Wet walks along a river, waterfall scrambles, swims and pool jumping are all in a day’s fun and all levels of ability are welcome. The Brecon Beacons are Britain’s first Geo Park and the closest area of wild uplands to the Midlands and London.
3. Enjoy a high tee
If you like golf that’s more than just a sporting challenge, it’s high time for a round at West Monmouthshire Golf Club, officially the highest golf course in Great Britain. Before you line up your swing at the 14th tee at 1,518ft above sea level, sneak a look at those fabulous views to the Sugar Loaf Mountain and Brecon Beacons. The West Mon course is a par 71 heathland test with three of the toughest par 3s anywhere and intriguingly named holes like Devils Bowl, Tidy Pull, The Bosh and, of course, High Tee.
4. Step into thin air from the Blorenge
That’s right - simply step off the mountain and fly! Paraventure Airsports tandem paragliding with a qualified instructor, using a wing that can take two people, lasts between 15 and 30 minutes but stays in the memory like an exhilarating slo-mo experience of a lifetime. The locality around the Blorenge is among the best flying areas in the country, with breath taking bird’s eye views of hills and mountains.
5. Mmm... that pioneering spirit
At the dawn of the new millennium a group of friends, inspired by “curiosity for the world, our quest for excellence and our pride in the unique spirit of Wales”, set up the principality’s first distillery in more than 100 years. See wysgi-making in action, including the unique single copper pot still, and sample the seductive spirit.
6. Tackle the mountain bike challenge
Tackle two of Wales’ world-class mountain bike trails, White’s Level and Skyline, in the stunning 9,000-acre Afan Forest Park. On 15km White’s Level you’ll climb a sheep track and descend demanding rocky steps, while 46km Skyline will test your stamina and nerve on technical singletrack – with epic views. The newly opened Mountain Bike Centre at Glyncorrwg Ponds is at the head of the trails and provides bike shop facilities, cafe, showers and jet wash.
7. Glamping and coracle making
Who needs iPods and thrusting careers when you’ve got Nature and bliss? Stay in an authentic Mongolian Nomad yurt with Cwm Tawel in the secluded Llynfi Valley and get your hands dirty with some outdoor crafts and skills courses. Make a coracle, try green wood carving, discover cob building, or enjoy wild food foraging and campfire cooking. Suddenly life looks different, doesn’t it?
8. Get rockin’ at Rock UK Summit Centre
Plot your way around more than 180 climbing routes, on indoor climbing walls up to 18 metres high at Rock UK Summit Centre, Trelewis. There’s also a bouldering area and a world-class manmade caving system with waterfall inside. If you’re a complete novice, get to grips with the basics of climbing on a private taster session, then return for an intensive Learn to Climb weekend to gain the skills to climb independently.
9. Go canyoning with Adventure Britain
What’s canyoning? It’s like white water rafting but without the raft, says Adventure Britain. They should know because they operate in one of the best, splashiest locations – the rivers and Waterfall Country around Ystradfellte. Slide down rapids, float down fast-flowing chutes and waves, jump off 20ft waterfalls… the adrenaline rush is amazing.
10. Walk this way
Margam Country Park is the start point for all sorts of walks – so you can leave it until the last minute to decide how energetic you feel. Follow the 2.25-mile Pulpit Trail for a steep climb and views, or the 2.5-mile Monastic Trail for an Iron Age hill fort and medieval church. Or stride out along the 13-mile Ogwr Ridgeway walk for superb panoramas of The Valleys and Vale of Glamorgan.
The Valleys in South Wales offers visitors a rich mix of heritage, stunning landscapes and a wealth of opportunities to have a go at activities including cycling, mountain biking, kayaking, caving and even bushcraft. FIND OUT MORE at www.thevalleys.co.uk