Explore Mid Wales from River Cabin
Picture: Llangorse Lake and the Brecon Beacons beyond.
The River Wye & The Upper Wye Valley
The River Wye is one of Wales' major rivers. It is a special area of conservation and renowned for its variety of wildlife, white water kayaking and Canadian canoeing.
It's hard to beat a half (or full day) paddling a kayak or Canadian canoe down the River Wye from Glasbury to Hay-on-Wye on a summer's day. Most operators will collect you at your destination and bring you back to your starting point. In the winter, serious canoeists take to the Upper Wye for kayaking and white water rafting. Sailing dinghies and rowing boats can be hired on Llangors Lake (the largest natural lake in Wales), and narrow boat trips are available on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.
- Wye Valley Canoe Centre - Canoe hire in Glasbury. Paddle downstream to Hay-on-Wye..
- Celtic Canoes - Canoe hire in Hay-on-Wye for exploring the River Wye.
- Want to Canoe - Canoe hire based at Hay bridge.
- Beacon Park Day Boats - Explore the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal by canoe or electric day boat.
- Black Mountain Activities - Kayaking, white water rafting, gorge walking, canoe hire.
- Llangorse Multi Activity Centre - Indoor climbing walls, pony trekking, etc.
- Interactivities - Canoeing and kayaking, gorge adventure, and raft building. AALA licensed.
The Brecon Beacons National Park
The Brecon Beacons National Park covers some 520 square miles including the Brecon Beacons mountain range, the Black Mountains, and places like Wales' largest natural lake, Llangorse Lake (top photo).
- Brecon Beacons National Park - Everything that there is to know about the park.
- The Brecon Beacons Society - Even more info.
The Radnor Hills
You can walk in the local Radnor Hills on the opposite side of the valley without meeting another soul. Behind the craggy outcrops of Aberedw Rocks (photo), Prince Llewellyn (the last true prince of Wales) hid from Norman soldiers in a cave. To throw his pursuers off the scent, a local farrier shod his horse backwards. Lleywellyn was captured and murdered the next day at Cilmery, west of Builth Wells. A memorial stone stands on the spot in Cilmery village.
The Book Town of Hay-on-Wye
Hay-on-Wye (Y-Gelli in Welsh), a small market town on the border between Wales and England, is world famous as the "Town of Books". In 1961 Richard Booth opened his first 2nd-hand bookshop in Hay-on-Wye. There are about 20 bookshops in the town.
Hay-on-Wye hit the headlines in 1977 when Richard Booth and some of his friends decided, over a few pints in the pub, to declare U.D.I. (unilateral declaration of independencel). They formed a parliament (some ministers were too drunk to remember which portfolio they'd signed up for!), 98p bank notes were printed (on rice paper, so at least you could eat them), passports issued and titles sold (Earldoms cost £5, including a free T-shirt). On April 1st 1977, Richard Booth was crowned king. He gave a speech from the battlements of his castle (yes, he owned the castle) and local school children sang the Hay-on-Wye national anthem. In 1984 good King Richard's arch rival, Leon Morelli, organised a referendum to decide the future of the kingdom, in which 25% of the townsfolk voted (mainly due to the offer of a free glass of wine provided by Mr Morelli). Morelli won, promising to hand the kingdom back to the British throne on the Prince of Wales next birthday. It never was, and Booth still to this day thinks of himself as King of Hay; but April Ashley, the Duchess of Hay & Offa's Dyke, sought exile in Hollywood!
The Wye Valley Walk
Passing right by River Cabin is The Wye Valley Walk, a 136 mile long distance trail from Chepstow in Monmouthshire, to the source of the River Wye at Plynlimon high in the Cambrian Mountains. Incorporate parts of the trail into a circular walk, or use the T4 bus to start your walk or return to River Cabin.
- The Ramblers - Four Wells Ramblers and East Radnor Ramblers, the 2 local groups, organise walks on alternative Saturdays and Sundays and shorter walks on Wednesdays.
- Brecon Beacons Park Society - Organise guided walks for experienced walkers. Well worth the £5 donation requested from non-members.
- Brecon Beacons National Park - The National Park organise a range of walks and events.
- Walking World - Subscription website where local walking routes can be downloaded.
- Geocaching - If your kids find walks a bit pointless, introduce them to geocaching, a treasure hunting game played throughout the world by old and young adventure seekers. There are several caches hidden in the vicinity.
Sustrans' Lon Las Cymru - the Welsh National Cycle Route
Sustrans' route 8, a 276 mile way-marked cycle route running from Anglesey in the north to Cardiff or Chepstow in the south, is just across the river from the River Cabin (connected by wonderful old suspension bridge). Information.
Cycling & Mountain Biking:
- Cycling Wales - A good starting point to get inspiration and ideas for where to cycle in Mid Wales and the Brecon Beacons National Park.
- Mid-Wales South Cycle Map - Published by Sustrans, at a scale of 1:110,000.
- Elan Valley - Gentle cycling on the 8 mile Elan Valley Trail around the Victorian reservoirs. Local bike hire available.
- Drover Holidays - Based in Hay-on-Wye. Deliver rental bikes and suggest routes.
- Bikes & Hikes - Bike hire in Talybont-on-Usk. Rent a bike and ride along the canal towpath or up on the Beacons.
- Cycle Brecon Beacons - All you need to know about family cycling, mountain bike routes, cycle hire etc in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
- Mountain Biking Wales - Information on mountain bike centres throughout Wales.
- The National Cycle Museum - Situated in Llandrindod Wells, this is home to over 260 cycles from an 1818 Hobby Horse, Victorian solid-tyred machines, classic lightweights to the latest carbon-fibre designs. Good ride (hilly): From River Cabin, cross suspension bridge to Sustrans route 8; the up the valley to Aberedw; then narrow lane up the Edw Valley to Hundred House; then lanes north via Franks Bridge, Cefnllys, to Llandrindod Wells for lunch and a visit to the cycle museum; then A483 south to Howey; then lane east to Llansantffraed-in-Elwel where you turn right and follow lane to A481; A481 SW to B4567 and Sustran's route 8 back to River Cabin.
- Cantref Riding Centre - Riding or trekking in the Brecon Beacons. Lessons also available.
- Llangorse Riding & Rope Centre - Trekking.
- Tregoyd Riding Centre - Day and half day treks and rides in the Black Mountains.
Caving, Climbing & Abseiling
The Brecon Beacons is well suited for climbing and caving. The limescale caves under the LLangattock escarpment near Crickhowell are some of the longest in Britain.