Hay Walking Festival puts its best foot forward

Hay-on-Wye has long been renowned as a literary and culinary capital thanks to the annual Hay Literary and Food Festivals, but now the border town is making huge strides as a top destination for walkers with the Hay Walking Festival.


Taking place from October 11-15, Hay Walking Festival 2012 features a fun programme of more than 50 walks and events held over five days, with something to cater for walkers of all ages and abilities. 


Organised by Hay Tourism Group, Hay Walking Festival 2012 is supported by Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority and the Welsh Government.


Among the highlights on the opening day (Thursday, October 11) of this year’s increased Walking Festival programme is a picturesque seven mile stroll through the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park between Llanthony Priory and Hay Bluff via the Offa’s Dyke.


Saturday, October 13 sees a real treat for literary fans with a special walk dedicated to the Owen Sheers novel ‘Resistance’. The route takes in the locations featured in the highly-acclaimed novel that was later made into a film – to be shown at the Parish Hall on Lion Street, Hay at 5pm on Thursday, October 11.


Geology fans can experience a journey back through time on Saturday, October 13 with the Stanner Rocks Geology walk headed by geologist and Arctic and Antarctic explorer James Cresswell, who will lead walkers on a six mile route around the nearby historic rocky landscape.


Alongside the variety of conventional walks in the Festival programme sit a whole host of other fun activities which are sure to capture the imagination, including geocaching, foraging and map navigation classes, Nordic walking, a bird watching walk around Llangors Lake, farm visits, photography walks, ceilidhs, quizzes, concerts and much, much more.


This event further strengthens Hay’s bid for Walkers are Welcome (WaW) status which is being support by the Offa’s Country Partnership and Walking with Offa project.  The communities of Hay-on-Wye, Talgarth and Crickhowell have received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013, which is supported by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and match funded by Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority.  Only last month Talgarth was awarded the Walkers are Welcome (WaW) status and it now joins a network of other towns and villages that have something special to offer locals and visitors alike.  


Trish Doree, Information Officer for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, said: “Once again Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority is happy to support this vibrant and exciting event. The festival is a great advert for Hay-on-Wye and I hope it encourages visitors and residents to explore the town and the rest of the National Park.”


Alison O’Grady of Hay Tourism Group added: “We are very much looking forward to this year’s Festival. There is a huge variety of walks to suit those wanting a gentle ramble as well as people keen on a serious hike, with lots of opportunities to learn more about the geology, history and ecology of the area on the way.”


There is a small charge to cover the cost of events. For more information, or to book tickets online, please visit www.haywalking.org or email info@haywalking.org.