With stunning walking routes for every day of the year, and then some, the Celtic Routes is a paradise for walkers of all abilities. Roam free. Explore. Lose yourself in nature.
With 186 miles of coast path to choose from, these walks can be as long or as short as you wish.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path twists and turns for 186 miles from St Dogmaels in the north to Amroth in the south. It covers almost every kind of coastal landscape, from volcanic rock headlands, limestone arches, blowholes and sea stacks, to narrow glacial inlets. Lines of red and grey sandstone cliffs are broken by sandy beaches. The path reveals an abundance of coastal flowers and bird life, as well as evidence of human activity from Neolithic times to the present. But taking on the path in one go is not for the faint-hearted. It takes between 10 and 15 days to cover the Pembrokeshire section of the coastal path, with over 10,000m of ascents and descents – the equivalent of climbing Everest!
1.8 miles to reach the summit – 1h20 approx.
Foel Drygarn translates as ‘Bare Hill of the Three Cairns’ and, as the name suggests, there are 3 enormous Bronze Age burial cairns at the 363m-high summit. During the Iron Age, a hill fort was added, with defensive ramparts and huts. Aerial photographs reveal hundreds of circular depressions in the ground, thought to be the foundations of the huts. Legend says that there’s a hoard of gold beneath the flat stone known as Bwrdd y Brenin (‘King’s Table’). But we think you’ll find the 360-degree views of the Teifi Valley, the Preseli Hills and – on a clear day - the Irish Sea reward enough for your climb.
Strata Florida Abbey to the Teifi Pools – 9 mile circular route through the Cambrian Mountains - 4-5h approx.
The source of the River Teifi, one of the longest river in Wales, is found in the north of Ceredigion. Tranquil Llyn Teifi and the other Teifi Pools - Llyn Hir, Llyn Gorlan and Llyn Egnant – lie hidden in the hills, on the remote Monks’ Trod from Strata Florida Abbey. This enchanting group of deep, glacial lakes are the perfect place to shrug off the bustle of daily life.
Plenty of route choices to reach the highest peak – why not try starting at Esteddfa Gurig and walk the 5 mile circular route – 3h approx.
Pumlumon, meaning ‘Five Peaks’, is a ridge of peaks in the Cambrian Mountains, the highest of which is Pen Pumlumon Fawr at 752m. Although it’s not the highest of Wales’ mountains, many people consider it the jewel in Wales’ crown. That’s because, on a clear day at the summit, the whole of Wales unfolds before the eyes. To the west, Snowdonia links to Preseli via the sweep of Cardigan Bay and, to the east, the Berwyn and Aran ranges connect to the Brecon Beacons along the English border. Pumlumon is also the source of the River Severn, Britain’s longest river, as well as the Rheidiol.
Try the steady 4 mile circular route from the car park near Llanddeusant – 2h approx.
You’ll find the enchanting glacial lake of Llyn y Fan Fach at the western end of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The lake is associated with the 14th-century legend of the ‘Lady of the Lake’. In this tale, a young farmer marries a beautiful woman who has emerged from the lake, with a promise that he would not strike her three times. Having been struck by him three times (though never in anger), she duly returns to the lake. She returns briefly to instruct her sons, who go on to become doctors, known today as the ‘Physicians of Myddfai’.
Plenty of choice for walks in the Tywi valley, try the 2 mile route to the Carreg Cennen castle, or the walk through Castle Woods to Dinefwr castle.
The spectacular Tywi Valley packs in a number of heritage and cultural attractions, set in some of the most breath-taking scenery in Wales. Perched on a 90-metre limestone crag, Carreg Cennen dominates the skyline for miles. Dryslwyn Castle sits on another rocky hill, forever associated with the princes of Deheubarth. The Elizabethan gardens of Aberglasney are a world away from the vast gardens of The National Botanic Garden, but just minutes apart. Plus, there are several National Trust properties in the area, like the Neo-Gothic Paxton’s Tower and Newton House, in the heart of the Dinefwr Estate.
A full day trail – or can be broken into shorter walks of your choice.
This route will take you over Bray Head, along The Belmont Way and The Sugarloaf Way.
This magnificent new trail now links and extends a number of other well-known trails into a long and challenging walk. The newly created Tracks & Trails follows a route across a varied terrain including rugged mountain climbs, flat and quiet forest paths, rich farmland and country roads. The trail, which can be completed in a day, for the experienced walker, or broken into shorter walks, reveals what is best in Wicklow landscapes, from breath taking sea vistas to magnificent rural views stretching across fields, mountains and skyscapes.
Several options to reach the top, but the most straight-forward is from just south of Kilbridge Military Camp along the edge of the forest – 5 miles and is fairly steep, so be prepared.
Sat on a hilltop 650m above sea level, The Seat of Fionn or ‘Suidh Fhionn’ dates from between 3300 and 3000BC. You might ask why build it at such a height, when it would have been a massive task in the Neolithic period? But when you get to the summit, it soon becomes obvious. The rolling hills, patchwork of fields and shimmering lakes of South County Dublin and Wicklow open up before your eyes.
The whole route is 79 miles long and will take 7-10 days to complete. But this gives plenty of choice for shorter walks for those who just want a day trip or less.
Just south of Dublin, County Wicklow – known as The Garden of Ireland – is a wild expanse of coastline, woodland and imposing mountains, through which runs the country’s most popular walking trail. The Wicklow Way is Ireland’s oldest marked trail, the brain-child of famous hill-walker, J B Malone, which opened in 1980. The Wicklow Way begins in Dublin’s southern suburb of Rathfarnham before snakeing across the Dublin and Wicklow uplands, then through the rolling hills of southwest County Wicklow, to finish in the small Wicklow-Carlow border village of Clonegal, 127km later. A combination of suburban parkland, forest trails, mountain paths and finally rolling countryside offers a varied and, at times, demanding 7-10 day experience for walkers. En route you’ll pass scenic lakes, spectacular gardens, elegant 18th-century mansions and the ruins of an early Christian monastic settlement.
With almost 10 miles of walkways, there’s something for all levels of walkers here.
So dedicated was Ambrose Congreve to his gardens, he won no fewer than 13 Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show. Now in the care of the state, the Gardens (which are regarded as one of the best in the world) comprise around 70 acres of intensively-planted woodland, a 4-acre walled garden and 16km of walkways. The entire collection consists of over 3,000 different trees and shrubs, more than 2,000 Rhododendrons, 600 Camellias, 300 Acer cultivars, 600 conifers, 250 climbers and 1,500 herbaceous plants, plus many more tender species contained in the Georgian glasshouse.
The 2.4 mile cliff walk that starts and ends in the village is well worth taking to visit St Declan’s Well –less than 1h approx.
In the 5th century, St Declan came across the village of Ardmore – it’s said he was guided there by a stone carried on the waves - and founded a monastery. Its ruins are Ireland’s oldest Christian settlement. Today, several sites remain of his monastic city.
There’s an 8th-century oratory beneath which it’s believed the saint is buried and a 12th-century 29m-high round tower, which served as a belfry and place of refuge. There’s also the 12th-century cathedral, with Romanesque arcading with figures depicting scenes from both Old and New Testaments – very unusual in Ireland. Inside the cathedral are two Ogham stones featuring the earliest form of writing in Ireland.
The Coumshingaun Loop Walk is a moderate 4.6 mile route around the ridge – approx. 2h.
Coumshingaun is one of the finest examples of a corrie (or ‘coum’, in Irish) in Europe, and the Comeragh Mountains’ most recognisable landmark. For those who’ve forgotten their school Geography lessons, a corrie is an armchair-shaped hollow found in the side of a mountain, where a glacier formed. Along the walk, you’ll get stunning views of the dark lough 365m below. When it’s clear, you may be able to see as far as the River Suir Bridge in Waterford City.
The 18th-century highwayman William Crotty had a strong connection with the area, hiding out from the law in caves here. It didn’t end well, though. He was eventually captured, tried and hung, his head spiked outside the county jail as a warning. If you have time, you can seek his treasure at the lough and cave named after him.
4 waymarked easy walks now wind through the woodland, each one between 1 and 1.9km in distance.
Although mainly a seaside village, the 60-acre wood in Courtown provides a source of shady respite from the nearby beach.
During the 1860s and 70s, James Stopford, the 5th Earl of Courtown, established a pinetum in the grounds of Courtown House. Trees remaining from his collection include a Californian redwood, swamp cypress, Japanese cedar, a cedar of Lebanon and numerous pines, yews and true cypresses. Look out for a yew tree planted as part of the collection, but felled years ago, continuing to grow adjacent to the River Walk.
3.7 mile circular route from Slade Harbour walking along the coast of the Hook Peninsular down to the Lighthouse – approx. 2h and not too tricky.
When it comes to lighthouses, none come with a longer history of protecting seafarers than Hook. It’s the world’s oldest operational lighthouse, having stood for over 800 years. There had been a fire beacon there since the 6th century, tended by monks, but powerful knight William Marshall built the lighthouse between 1210 and 1230 to guide shipping to his port of Ross. The original light was a coal fire beacon, until a lamp burning whale oil replaced it in 1791. That in turn was swapped for gas lights in 1871 and in 1972, the light switched over to electricity. In 1996, the lighthouse became fully automated and the last of the light keepers finally left.