Today we have a special treat! Have you ever wondered what Hike it Baby looks like around the globe? Nikki Townsend for Hike it Baby Cardiff, Wales shares her branches favorite trails.
In January this year I moved back to my home in Cardiff, Wales (the country next to England!) having spent 2.5 years living in Virginia and 1.5 of those years hiking with Hike it Baby Hampton Roads. I loved the community, the opportunities to explore the area, my health improved, my fitness improved and I was raising a child who adored the outdoors. There was no way I was losing all that! So I made the decision to start the first Welsh branch of Hike it Baby and I hosted our first hike only 3 days after I landed back in the country…
Wales is an absolutely gorgeous place to be outside. Having hiked in Hampton Roads where everything is totally flat, the hills were a bit of a shock for my body but we scaled the Garth Mountain (inspiration for and featured in the Hugh Grant movie – The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain) and thoroughly enjoyed the views.
Over the last 4 months we’ve hiked in lots of beautiful places. Here’s a few of our favourites to give you a feel for South Wales.
Kid Friendly Trails in Wales
Forest Fawr including Castell Coch – these forest trails are beautiful although fairly steep, we are just at the end of bluebell season and they have been stunning. It’s also fun for the kids to find the fairytale castle
Sculpture Trail – I grew up 10 minutes away from this place and never knew it existed until HiB. It’s a really fun woodland trail with sculptures along the route which the kids love. We are particularly fond of the dragons as they are very Welsh. The red dragon features on the flag of Wales.
Cosmeston Lakes – a variety of trails around two lakes, we’ve done shorter kid led hikes and longer adult paced hikes here including one memorable hike where a wrong turn led to carrying a few buggies (strollers) over some stiles!!
Sirhowy Valley Country Park – beautiful waterfalls here and this is where I saw my first baby lamb of the season. Wales is also famous for sheep!
Cefn Onn Country Park – this is a favourite with the children as they love to splash in the shallow streams.
Taff Trail – a 55 mile path that follows the River Taff from the mountains of the Brecon Beacons (our nearest National park) down to the coast at Cardiff Bay. We are working our way along this in sections
Cardiff Bay Barrage – Cardiff bay used to be a busy dock area and then, following the decline of industry, it became a really run down area. Over recent years, Cardiff Bay has been transformed and is now a really nice area with restaurants, shops, theatres, museums and sports facilities. A barrage was built to create a permanently filled bay. It’s a fun hike across it to a really fab play park. This year an enormous crocodile has been erected to mark 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl, the Cardiff Born children’s author.
Coed Y Wenallt – this is another spot that I didn’t know existed until HiB and is the location of the most Bluebells I have ever seen in my life! It’s steep but totally worth it.
We are having some great adventures here in Cardiff and I hope this has given you a little flavour. If you find yourself near, do come and join us.
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Nicki Townsend is mum to 2.5 year old James, wife to Anna and Branch Ambassador for Hike it Baby Cardiff. Before parenthood she would avoid walking and would much rather be inside, thank you very much! A challenge to cover 2015 miles as a family in 2015 gave her the bug. It’s now rare for there to be a day that does not involve hiking!