All round the UK, ramblers, hikers, wanderers and strollers have all been getting involved in this year’s national walking month. The month advocates the benefits of walking for your health and happiness. It is also a great opportunity to make the most of Visit Wales’s Wales by Trails, and take in the heritage, nature, and community spirit offered by Wales’s footpaths.
We are looking at walks in the Dramatic Heart of Wales that follow in the footsteps of some of the most iconic people to have lived or stayed here. After all, the best way to get to know someone is to walk a mile in their shoes. So, lace up your hiking boots and discover some of our favourite ‘In Their Footsteps’ trails.
The Richard Burton Trail
The esteemed Hollywood actor Richard Burton was born in Pontrhydyfen and is best known for his dramatic Shakespearean performances. A pleasant three-mile walk follows the life and influences of Burton. The path takes you past the Pontrhydyfen Aqueduct and Railway Viaduct and finishes at Bethel Chapel, where a memorial service for Burton’s passing in 1984 took place.
The Turner Trail
William Turner is often argued to be the most beloved English romantic artist, synonymised as ‘the painter of light’. Turner was inspired by the beauty and contrasts in the Dramatic Heart of Wales valleys during his 1795 visit to South Wales. The Turner Trail is a five-mile route following Neath Canal and offers a glimpse into the inspiring industrial landscape, now reclaimed by nature.
The Alfred Wallace Trail
Naturalist and co-publisher of the Theory of Evolution, Alfred Russel Wallace credits his five years spent in Neath for igniting his passion for the natural world. This trail can be chosen to be either a 5-6 mile or 10–11 mile hike; both of which offer a path rich with history, culture, and nature. One of walks highlights is Neath Town Hall, where Wallace once attended lectures which nurtured his brilliant mind.