A Trio of Welsh Travel books
With hotter summer temperatures and an imminent recession due to rising energy, fuel, and food prices, the search for more cost-effective adventures in the “great outdoors” has become increasingly difficult.
In the awe-inspiring and excellently-researched The Beaches of Wales. Alistair Hare presents a superb guide to every named beach and cove around the Welsh coastline. He provides detailed records of approximately 500 Welsh beaches, offering something for everyone.
In an easy-to-read book, he captivates the reader with his first-hand knowledge and experience of remote caves, hidden coves and secret beaches. Alastair also tells you about ideal areas for surfing and information about larger beaches. Such as those on the North Wales coast.
Of particular benefit to readers is how Alastair has divided the book into easy-to-locate geographical sections, advantageous for those travelling by car or motor home. The excellent description of available facilities and whether swimming is advisable is a real plus for those seeking more detailed information.
Beauty of Beaches
The quality of Alistair’s descriptive advice is evident when he conveys the beauty of beaches. Such as Llanbedrog, Abersoch, and Porth Neigwl (Hell’s Mouth) on the Llyn Peninsular.
An additional bonus is the selection of vivid photographs illustrating the location and features of each beach, together with key facts about access, parking, safety, and points of interest alongside grid and GPS reference points.
This outstanding publication reveals new destinations for your “great escape” within Wales. Alastair Hare is to be congratulated on the quality and extent of his descriptions of Welsh beaches.
Diolch yn fawr iawn, Alistair, ardderchog! (Thanks very much, Alastair, excellent!)
For those readers who enjoy walking and exploring, the Senedd has been at the forefront of improving access to its magnificent coastline.
In the stimulating and informative guide book, Weatherman Walking. Derek Brockway, the enthusiastic presenter of weather forecasts on BBC Cymru, takes the reader on 15 exhilarating coastal walks across the Wales Coastal Path. This is based on his successful BBC Cymru television series
A key feature of each walk is the emphasis on wildlife and key historical and social issues relevant to the area.
For example, on the walk from Fall Bay to Porth Einon, he talks about Goat’s Hole Cave, Culver Hole, The Salt House and Porth Einon.
On the walk from Prestatyn to Rhyl, where the pathways of Offa’s Dyke National Trail and the Wales Coastal Path converge, he draws readers’ attention to the kite surfing school, the Rhyl miniature railway, and the stunning Pont y Ddraig and the rejuvenation of its harbour. Most of the walks are five to six miles long and are all linear.
Plenty of Information Provided
A real plus of each walk description is the additional information provided. Including the degree of difficulty, parking, expected time, and whether public transport is available to return the walker to their starting point.
These details are clearly outlined for each walk, alongside beautiful photos of the route. However, remember the adage: “No such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing”.
Derek Brockway has created an outstanding little guidebook that will fit easily into a rucksack. The stories and events bring the walks to life and give each route an extra dimension.
Ardderchog (excellent) Derek
Readers who prefer walks away from the coastline and with a more historical, social, and scenic perspective will enjoy reading On The Trail of the Welsh Drovers.
Twm Elias is an acknowledged social historian who, in his inimitable style, enthuses the reader with a range of factual and anecdotal evidence about Welsh Drovers.
He describes these drovers as tough and hardened businessmen. Bringing their exploit to life and all supported by a range of photographic evidence of places and artefacts.
The trails of the Welsh Drovers from North- and Mid-Wales come about to deliver animals for sale to fairs in the Midlands, the Home Counties, and London, particularly Smithfield and Barnet.
It isn’t easy to perceive the challenge facing the drover and his team walking over a thousand sheep from Gwynedd to London as they aimed to cover about 12 to14 miles per day.
Llandegla was an essential stopping-off point since it had a large area of common land for free grazing. In addition, it had over 20 taverns in the village to accommodate drovers!
The journey from Anglesey and Gwynedd, via Llanrwst, would follow routes to Ruthin, Llandegla. Then to England via Wrexham or Oswestry.
Twm Elias discusses the adventures to be had on the road and during overnight stops.
Getting the animals to the market in good condition wasn’t easy. The drovers had to contend with muggings by local thieves and groups of highwaymen on horseback.
The stories illustrate these dangers and what a tough breed the drovers were, well-versed in fighting off these challengers.
Interestingly, many of the drovers became wealthy entrepreneurs. So did some of the highwaymen and the author notes that the most successful of all was William Davies (1627-1690), originally from Wrexham!
This outstanding social and historical work provides an insight into the work and tenacity of Welsh Drovers. They contributed significantly to Welsh farm produce becoming a major contributor to the rural economy.
The arrival of the railways in the 1860s resulted in a move away from “trekking on foot”, with many drovers becoming sheep and cattle dealers.
Llyfr arbennig – an outstanding book and well worth reading.
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