Cookies on our website

The Natural Resources Wales website uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more details about cookies and how to manage them, see our cookie policy.

Churches, castles and chapels

Ten routes to explore historical churches, chapels and castles all over Wales on foot, bike or horseback

Harlech Castle © Crown copyright (2011) Visit Wales, all rights reserved

We have worked with our partners to come up with ten walks and rides to help you sample some of Wales' finest historical castles, churches and chapels.

The routes range from long distance challenging trails to easier family friendly paths.

Download the routes

You can download all these routes (and many others) free of charge onto Apple or Android devices from Viewranger or Trailzilla.

Viewranger and Trailzilla offer:

  • route information including distance, how difficult the route is, ease of access and what can be seen along the way
  • a Natural Resources Wales section showcasing recreation opportunities across Wales
  • an extensive trail guide library with thousands of recommended routes from leading travel publishers, tourism organisations and local experts

We recommend that you download routes and maps before leaving home and then you can use them without the need for a mobile signal.

Download the Natural Resources Wales collections from ViewRanger or Trailzilla.

Enjoy your visit

The Countryside Code helps you respect, protect and enjoy the countryside, enabling you to get the most out of your visit.

It provides you with helpful advice about:

  • Preparing for your trip
  • Keeping yourself and others safe
  • Ensuring the countryside remains a beautiful place that everyone can enjoy

Route 1 - Taff Trail Cardiff to Pontypridd section, South Wales

View of the river and daffodils along the taff trailThe Taff Trail is a largely traffic-free walking and cycling trail which links Cardiff Bay and the Wales Coast Path in the south with Castell Coch on the northern outskirts of the city. This route follows part of the Taff Trail through the city centre's pretty parks and green open spaces, passing many of Cardiff’s premier attractions along the way including the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Castle, Bute Park and Llandaff Cathedral.

  • Length: The total length of the Taff Trail is 55 miles (this section is 16 miles)
  • Terrain: Sustrans have classified this route as medium difficulty. The surface is mixed. There are some stretches of the route on major and minor roads
  • Suitable for: Walkers and cyclists
  • Start: Cardiff Bay
  • Finish: Pontypridd
  • Getting there: Trains to Cardiff and Pontypridd 

Find out more

Go to the Sustrans website for information about what to see on the route, facilities on the way and to download the route leaflet.

Route 2 -  Celtic Crosses and Coast Walk, South Wales

Nash Point lighthouseYou will be captivated by the magnificent Glamorgan Heritage Coast which forms a section of the Wales Coast Path. This the perfect route for those who enjoy a bit of history with their walk. The town of Llantwit Major has been a settlement for over 3000 years.

  • Length: 3 miles with an optional 2 mile extension to Atlantic College
  • Terrain: This route has stiles and undulating rough ground. Please heed warning signs where there is erosion
  • Start and finish: Town Hall car park, Llantwit Major
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Getting there: Trains and buses to Llantwit Major and buses only to the Lighthouse Inn at Marcross

Find out more

Go to the Visit the Vale website for information about what to see on the route, facilities on the way and to download the route leaflet.

Route 3 - Llanrhidian to Cheriton, The Gower

Wild Horses in marshland on the Loughor estuary near SwanseaPleasant walks through the gentle countryside of north Gower using a section of the Gower Coast Path which forms part of the Wales Coast Path between Llanrhidian and Cheriton in Britain's first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The route is dotted with historic features including Llanrhidian Church and Weobley Castle.

  • Length: 7.3 miles
  • Terrain: The route passes through a gently undulating landscape. The route of the Wales Coast Path itself is fairly flat and close to sea-level but the surface underfoot is occasionally rough. There are some stiles on the route and some areas will be slightly muddy. On rare occasions the path will be submerged for a short time beneath high tides. Check the tides on the Visit Swansea Bay website
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Start and finish: Llanrhidian Church
  • Getting there: For information about public transport in the Swansea area visit http://www.swanseabaywithoutacar.co.uk/

Find out more

Go to the Visit Swansea Bay website for information about what to see on the route, facilities on the way and to download the route leaflet.

Route 4 - Dingestow Discoveries, Wye Valley

View of the country sideThis is one of three Tread and Trot Trails which are designed for walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers. The route offers spectacular views towards the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons with lots of wildlife and hidden heritage along the way. The route also follows part of the 177 mile long Offa’s Dyke National Trail which passes through Monmouthshire here and takes in, among other features, St Wonnow's Church and Dingestow Castle.

  • Length: 4.5 miles
  • Terrain: This is a well waymarked, moderately hilly route using a mixture of green lanes, forestry tracks, fields and tarmac lanes. As it is a route suitable for horseriding there are no stiles
  • Suitable for: Walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers
  • Start and finish: You can start the trail at several points - see leaflet on the Tread and Trot website for full details
  • Getting there: Dingestow is off the A449 Raglan/Abergavenny junction near Monmouth

Find out more

Go to the Tread and Trot Trails website for information about what to see on the route, facilities on the way and to download the route leaflet.

Route 5 -  Severn Way (Newtown to Welshpool section), Mid Wales

Montgomery CanalThe Severn Way is a 210 mile long distance trail. This route follows part of the Severn Way along the Montgomery Canal. This unique waterside walk is an ideal way to explore the towns and villages, history and heritage of Wales, including Powis and Dolforwyn Castles, whilst at the same time passing through some superb countryside. You can link to the long distance trail of Glyndŵyr's Way at Welshpool.

  • Length: 14 miles
  • Terrain: There are no stiles but the paths are unsurfaced outside the towns. Part of the route follows the Montgomery Canal towpath. Take care when crossing roads
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Start/finish: Newtown/Welshpool
  • Getting there: Newtown is at the junction of the A489 and A483. Welshpool is off the A483A. bus service links Newtown, Abermule, Berriew and Welshpool. There are mainline train stations at Newtown and Welshpool

Find out more

Go to the Explore Mid Wales and the Brecon Beacons website for information about what to see on the route, facilities on the way and to download the route leaflet.

Route 6 - Llangollen History Trail, North Wales Borderlands

undefinedThe easy-to-follow, waymarked trail takes you on a fascinating historical circuit. Stroll along the leafy Llangollen Canal, and see Telford’s remarkable Horseshoe Falls. Enjoy the tranquillity of Valle Crucis Abbey, and look down from lofty Dinas Bran Castle by taking a detour from the Offa’s Dyke Path.

  • Length: 8 miles
  • Terrain: The route is varied in difficulty with flat sections along the Llangollen canal and some sections can be challenging with stiles, kissing gates and steep steps
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Start and finish: Llangollen town centre
  • Getting there: Llangollen is on the A5

Find out more

Go to the Denbighshire countryside website for information about what to see on the route, facilities on the way and to download the route leaflet.

Route 7 -  Conwy to Llandudno, North Wales

World Heritage Site Conwy Castle from the Conwy Estuary Trail This route has one of the finest backdrops to any in the whole of the country. To the north, Great Orme’s Head rises to 679ft and its cliff ledges are nesting places for many species of seabird. To the southwest, across Conwy Bay, the mighty peaks of Snowdonia seem to rise straight out of the water and, as you approach Conwy, the foreground is filled with the town’s marina and Edward I’s magnificent castle nestling right at the base of the dramatic hills. The route follows part of the Wales Coast Path and takes in many historic buildings on the way.

  • Length: 4 miles
  • Terrain: Sustrans have classified this route as easy. The surface is mixed and the route is largely traffic free with a short section on road into the centre of Conwy
  • Suitable for: Walkers and cyclists
  • Start and finish: Conwy
  • Getting there: Train stations at Llandudno and Conwy

Find out more

Go to the Sustrans website for information about what to see on the route, facilities on the way and to download the route leaflet.

Route 8 - Branwen Path, Snowdonia National Park

Harlech CastleMany people believe that Snowdonia is a National Park of mountains, but there are over 20 miles of beautiful coastline in the Park, and some very fine beaches too. This is a circular walk, which takes in Harlech Castle, Harlech town, the dunes and the seaside along the Wales Coast Path.

  • Length: 2 miles
  • Terrain: The Snowdonia National Park Authority has classified this route as a moderate leisure walk. It is stile free and follows tarmac roads with some steep terrain near the castle
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Start and finish: Harlech Castle car park
  • Getting there: Harlech has a train station and is on the A496

Find out more

Go to the Snowdonia National Park website for information about what to see on the route, facilities on the way and to download the route leaflet.

Route 9 - Cardigan to Cilgerran Path, West Wales

Cilgerran CastleThis easy access walk takes you through the Welsh Wildlife Reserve, woodland gorges and along the Teifi Marshes following the old ‘Cardi Bach’ railway line. Cardigan and Cilgerran have 12th century castles in dramatic locations. You can extend the route to follow a section of the Wales Coast Path.

  • Length: 5.6 miles
  • Terrain: This route is for moderately fit walkers but the initial section from the start of the Welsh Wildlife Centre is suitable for wheelchairs. There is no rough terrain but some tracks can be muddy and there are some steep ascents and descents and stiles
  • Suitable for: Walkers. Some sections are suitable for cyclists (see leaflet on the Cycle Pembrokeshire website for details)
  • Start and finish: Cardigan
  • Getting there: Cardigan can be reached via the A487

Find out more

Go to the Cycle Pembrokeshire website for information about what to see on the route, facilities on the way and to download the route leaflet.

Route 10 - St Davids City Walk, West Wales

St Davids cathedralThis walk follows the perimeter of Wales's smallest city taking in the cathedral of St Davids. You can also follow 2.4 mile long Port Clais East walk to St Non's Well and Chapel and along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path stretch of the Wales Coast Path to the sheltered harbour.

  • Length: 3 miles (optional extension of a further 2.4 miles)
  • Terrain: Paved and natural footpaths, quiet lanes, bridleways and 0.9 mile (1.5 km) minor road walking. The Wales Coast Path between St Non's and Porthclais is on rough terrain and good boots with ankle support are advised. There is a moderate hill up to St Non's and a steep hill with some steps down to Porthclais. There are no stiles or gates between St Non's and Porthclais. There is a kissing gate just east of this section
  • Suitable for: Walkers
  • Start and finish: St David’s Cathedral
  • Getting there: St Davids can be reached via the A487. Go to Pembrokeshire Greenways website for public transport information

Find out more

Go to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park website for information about what to see on the route, facilities on the way and to download the route leaflets.

Is there anything wrong with this page? Give us your feedback.