Try a toga walking challenge on the Bank Holiday Weekend

The 7 ½ mile circular walk starts and ends the New Inn Pub in Bwlch and takes in some of the best scenic views of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park from Bwlch to Cwmdu to Tretower.  Roman attire is entirely optional but there will be prizes for the best dressed, most creative and the cleanest togas (after the walk is complete) and the judge’s favourite.

You might not automatically imagine that a circular 7 ½ mile family walk along one of Wales’ best stretches of countryside and fancy dress togas go hand in hand  but this is an area well known for its Roman links that hark back to as early as 50AD.  The challenge is to complete the walk but listen to the storytellers on the route which will later help you answer a Roman quiz upon your return to the New Inn Pub – so it’s a great new way to exercise both your body and your mind and also to find out more about our Welsh and Roman history.

Supported by the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority’s Collabor8 Project, the energetic walk starts at 11.00am and is free to enter.  Sponsored by the Welsh Venison Farm there will be free burgers and chips for all Romans (and non Romans) who complete the walk – which should be around 3.00pm – with free live entertainment to help walkers relax after their toga exertions.

To help celebrate the launch of the new walk, families with children are invited to make a weekend out of their visit and join storytellers at Tretower Court at 10.30am on Saturday 30th April followed by a scenic walk from Tretower   to Bwlch finished with jelly and ice cream at All Saints Church in Bwlch.

The first 50 places for children are free and parents are encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy the day at either Tretower Court and Castle or at the All Saints Church in the church grounds.  All children must be accompanied by an adult as the walk is self guided and follows the last section of the ‘Bwlch with Fortitude’ from Tretower to Bwlch walk. 

For more information about ‘Bwlch with Fortitude’ please contact Rhys Champion on 01874 730215 to register and obtain a map of the route.  For more information on walks in Bwlch please visit the website  or contact the New Inn (Beacons Backpackers) on 01874 730 215  

Pictures:  Copyright of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority

Programme for Stories, rambling and ice cream on Saturday 30th April
• 10.30am                    Story telling at Tretower Court
• 11.15am                    Tour of Tretower Court and Castle
• 11.15am                    Story telling at Tretower Court and Castle
• 12.00pm                    Tour of Court and Castle
• Walk from Tretower Court to Bwlch approximately 1 ½ hours
• 2.00pm – 3.00pm     Jelly and ice cream at All Saints Church in Bwlch

• The new ‘Bwlch with Fortitude’ walk follows on from the very successful ‘Bwlch with Altitude’ walk which was the brainchild of Reverend Alan Jevons.  Reverence Jevons first approached Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority in 2009 with a view to getting more visitors to his Parish of Llyn Safaddan.  Over the next few months he worked on various projects with the National Park including the official ‘Blessing of the Horse’ where he blessed horse riders and their horses at the start of the horse riding season in September last year.  Eventually, an idea developed to promote a new sustainable walking break to unite the local community and welcome more visitors into the area.  With his two Churches of Llangors and Llangasty firmly featured in the walking break, the New Inn (Beacons Backpackers) and the Star Bunkhouse in Bwlch came on board to provide welcoming accommodation and hearty food.
• ‘Bwlch with Altitude’ was originally developed as a three day walking experience encouraging visitors to arrive sustainably by train or bus and then takes them on a journey across two mountain ridges, Llangors Lake, the two Churches of Llangors and Llangasty, and a protected Nature Reserve.
• The ‘Bwlch with Altitude’ leaflet was published in March 2010 and was the first tourism venture to be funded by the new COLLABOR8 project which aims to develop new tourism strategies for managing local business clusters in the fields of creative arts, culture, outdoor activities, local food and hospitality providers.  

The COLLABOR8 Project is 50% funded by the ERDF Interreg IVB North West Europe Programme.  This partnership project involves nine different partners from Ireland, Wales, England, Netherlands and Belgium. It aims to actively involve clusters of small businesses in developing quality, sustainability and services that promote local ‘sense of place’. In this way each tourism cluster will be able to capitalise on the uniqueness of their regions to compete better in the EU and global markets.

The partners involved in the COLLABOR8 project are: South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd. (IE) -(Lead Partner); DLG Government Service for Land and Water Management: Office of the National Project New Dutch Waterline Department (NL); Stichting Studio VMK (NL); Flemish Land Agency (BE); Tourism East Flanders (BE), Westcountry Rivers Trust (UK); South Downs Joint Committee (UK); Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority (UK); and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council (UK).

Bannau Brycheiniog National Park is a landscape that offers a legacy of unparalleled proportions with spectacular mountain ranges, internationally renowned geology, bountiful wildlife and diverse recreational opportunities. It contains some of the most spectacular and distinctive upland formations in southern Britain and covers an area of 1347 sq km (520 sq miles).