What to Do in Hay-on-Wye
Go Book Shopping: Given that Hay is famed for multitude of bookshops and annual literary festival it wouldn’t be right to visit and not while away at least a day nosing through the many shops selling all manner of books. No matter what your interest there’s bound to be a bookshop, or at least a book, for you in Hay. There’s even an entire shop devoted to detective fiction, true crime and horror books, so be sure to look out for Murder and Mayhem if that’s your thing.
Hike Hay Bluff: There are a multitude of walks and trails woven into the countryside around Hay, from gentle riverside walks from the heart of the town, through to full day epics in the Black Mountains. However, the iconic walk up Hay Bluff is not one to be missed, and is easily accessed after a short drive out of town headed towards Capel-y-ffin, where there is a car park on the right that you can’t miss. Admittedly it is steep to get half way up the flank of the mountain, but once you turn right onto the track leading to the plateau it becomes a little easier, before flattening out entirely at the top.
Visit Llanthony Priory: If you continue along the same road out of Hay that you take for the walk up Hay Bluff you will eventually reach the little village of Llanthony. Here you will find the enthralling 12th-century Llanthony Priory, or at least what remains of it today. Some 900 years ago this was one of Wales’s greatest medieval buildings, once inhabited by Norman knight William de Lacy, who eschewed war for religion here in this ‘wilderness far removed from the bustle of mankind’. There’s a great pub in the village, The Half Moon in, making this an ideal half-day out with lunch added in for good measure.
Go Gravel Riding… on a Wooden Bike: Local cyclist and engineer Andy Dix founded Twmpa Cycles, named after one of the local peaks, to showcase his wooden bikes (or at least the frames are wood, the rest is top quality components). He is currently offering free test rides to those interested in the bikes and also exploring the local area. Contact him on Instagram to arrange a ride. It is worth mentioning this is more for serious cyclists, rather than those simple looking for a potter about on two wheels. For those with their own bikes there are many wonderful country lanes, bridleways and single tracks to explore at your own pace.
For those looking for something a little more adventurous, or indeed looking for local guidance, Outdoors@Hay offers a wide range of activities from beginners’ orienteering to bushcraft skills, and wild camping in the surrounding Black Mountains.