The Welsh Cistercian Way – 672 miles – 3 months – Caerphilly to Caerphilly (circular). Immerse yourself in the Cistercian heritage and natural lands of Wales. If you don’t know Wales at the end of this pilgrimage you probably never will. The North section follows the North Wales Pilgrims Way from Conwy to Basingwerk Abbey via St Asaph Cathedral, over hills and along dramatic seascapes. The Eastern route is from Basingwerk Abbey up the verdant Vale of Clwyd and over the not insurmountable mountains to Valle Crucis. You follow the Ceiriog Way to begin with, then some of Offa’s Dyke, before Strata Marcella Abbey and a women’s house of Llanllugan Abbey and its famous medieval stained glass. Then at Cwm-hir the last Welsh Prince of Wales is buried, and soon after you get lost in books at Hay on Wye. The mountains follow, then it’s down the Wye Valley to Tintern Abbey. The Southern section of the route takes you over more hills in South Wales, but this time above valleys with terraced mining houses, along the coast within dramatic sight of Caldey Island, then the gentle Carmarthenshire countryside. You start at the shrine and well of Penrhys and follow the mighty ridge way above the Rhondda Valleys to Margam Abbey. The Western route rolls with the Carmarthenshire hills, passing through Brechfa Forest and straight along the Roman road to the North Welsh coast. You can visit the abbeys at Whitland, Strata Florida and Cymmer, the Roman fort at Tomen-y-mur (location of the Mabinogion story of Lleu Llaw Gyffes) and Dolwyddelan Castle, traditional birthplace of the great Welsh ruler Llywelyn ab Iorwerth. The question is: will you ever walk it all? Now there’s a challenge…
North Wales Pilgrims Way
As much of an understanding of Wales as you are likely to get
Holy Places along route listed in our book Britain’s Pilgrim Places: Rhos on Sea; Llangelynin; Strata Florida; Penally; Caerleon; Llanfair Caereinion; Llanrhaeadr; Holywell; Tremeirchion; St Asaph.
Low-cost pilgrim hostels along route (also on Google Map below): YHA St Briavels; Pantygelli; Llanthony; YHA Kington; Rhayader; Oswestry; Llangollen; YHA Conwy; Conwy; Betws-y-Coed 1; Betws-y-Coed 2; Betws-y-Coed 3; Blaenau Ffestiniog; Blaenau Ffestiniog 2; YHA Dolgellau; Dolgellau; Machynlleth; Machynlleth 2; Tregaron; Brechfa; Carmarthen, YHA Manorbier and all hostels in region.