Valleys Essential Top 50

Rough Guide Author Names Call of the Wild in Top 50 Welsh Valleys Essentials

What’s your ultimate Welsh Valleys experience? Cycling high up in the Afan Forest? Journeying underground to relive our industrial past at Big Pit, jumping off a waterfall? Maybe it’s the taste of Sidoli’s ice cream? Now is your chance to share your Valleys Essentials.

The Valleys Heart and Soul campaign has teamed up with Rough Guide author Mike Parker to create a list of the Top 50 Valleys Essentials*, including must-see heritage attractions, unmissable eateries and events and scenic walks across The Valleys, which spans from Kidwelly in the west to Pontypool in the east. Call of the Wild are proud to be included the Top 50 Welsh Valleys experiences!

Mike described Call of the Wild as follows

“….there are a few outdoor activity specialist companies out there, but these are one of the best. They offer climbing, caving, biking (mountain or quad), gorge walking, canyoning, kayaking and more, all locally. It just shows how blessed the Valleys are, for they are one of the finest natural places to let off a bit of steam.”

Mike, who is co-author on all five guides to Wales, picked well known attractions including Caerphilly Castle and Blaenavon World Heritage Site as well as new additions  such as ‘Guardian’, in Abertillery, alongside the best pubs for local ale and real hidden gems to feature in his list.

Mike’s Thoughts

The 50 Valleys Essentials are not only essential things to see, do or taste, for Mike they are experiences that form the essence of the region. Mike, who lives in Powys, said: “Fifty was a good number of sights to pick, for it gave me chance to highlight all of the many aspects that make The Valleys such a rewarding place to visit.

“There’s raw natural beauty in the shape of hulking mountains, glorious upland commons and thundering waterfalls. Or industrial heritage at some imposing remnants of the coal and iron industries, as well as many of the region’s best little nuggets tucked away well off the beaten track. The option to go back even further is everywhere too, by poking around ancient castles, stately homes or churches.

“There’s physical activity of all sorts, be it walking, running, mountain biking, swimming, climbing or caving. Eating and drinking too, of course – it would be churlish to ignore the area’s many fine options, from home-made Italian ice-cream to prize-winning whisky.

“Best of all, there was space for the quirky and the unexpected, traits in which the Valleys excel. Whether witnessing the venerable Welsh New Year tradition of the Mari Lwyd, or digging around the places associated with revolutionary Victorian druid Dr William Price, there are plenty of things to tick the box marked ‘weird and wonderful.’

“This is just my list; you’ll have your own in no time. And like me, you’ll also have your own amazing memories of this most highly individual part of the world.”

Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones, said:

“There is a wealth of wonderful attractions, activities and experiences that deserve to be celebrated in The Valleys and this campaign aims to bring a sense of pride to communities where they have a local Valleys Essential. And attractions, activities, our natural environment and heritage are key to attracting more tourism, with obvious benefits to the local economy.

“Valleys people are renowned for being warm and friendly with a great sense of spirit, so we’re encouraging local communities to get together and champion their Essential to help get it into the top 10 and to nominate their favourite for the people’s choice. We’ve got a lot to shout about in this fantastic area so make sure you have your say.”

For ideas on activity weekends click here and for adventure activity weekend packages with prices click here.