Despite interacting with it every day, water is something we often take for granted. The river flowing by our feet during an outdoor ramble and the water gushing from our kitchen taps are all part of a larger cycle. Something especially to consider as Wales is currently in ‘prolonged dry weather’ status! The more thoughtful we are with our water use, the more there will be in the ecosystem – ensuring wetland habitats survive and reservoirs stay topped up.
My organisation, CCW, is the independent voice for water consumers across Wales and England. This summer, we want to inspire you to make your own connection with the water you use and see in nature. CCW does a lot of work in Wales to represent the public in decisions on future investment on water services, to help minimise pollution to rivers as part of a Wales taskforce on water quality and to engage the public on climate change action. We are your representative and want to help you have a strong voice on water.
Our ‘Walking with Water’ campaign aims to inspire people to explore and appreciate the places where water comes from, such as rivers, streams and reservoirs.
To celebrate this campaign we have recorded a special episode of our ‘Waterfall’ podcast exploring the Welsh waterways with two very special guests - Rebecca Wyn Kelly, a land artist and local group activist from Aberarth, and Tony Rees from Merthyr, chair of South East Wales Rivers Trust and member of our campaign partner Afonydd Cymru. Both share what walking with water in Wales means to them and how it inspires them to act. The episode is available to listen to here. We also have a guest blog on our website from Tony which expands on his love of the great outdoors in Wales. Be sure to search ‘Waterfall’ wherever you listen to podcasts to get your water efficiency fix.
The central hub for all things related to 'Walking with Water' is https://www.walkingwithwater.org.uk/. Here you can not only find a comprehensive list of waterside walks offered by water companies across England and Wales, but also The Canal & River Trust’s postcode finder, allowing you to easily discover waterside walks right in your local area.
Interacting and walking with water at the beauty spots of Dŵr Cymru and Hafren Dyfrdwy, the two water companies in Wales, is a great starting point to connect with our wonderful natural resource. Natural Resources Wales also boasts a vast range of walks, sites and resources near waterways where you can connect and experience the water cycle. Additionally, Ramblers Cymru ‘Paths to Wellbeing’ walks highlight the benefits of walking to our wellbeing - something many of us appreciated during the not-so-distant lockdowns in Wales.
Complementing the website is a booklet designed specifically for younger explorers, available in both English and Welsh. This booklet aims to help children establish a connection between their water usage at home and its impact on the natural landscapes they explore. It includes a multitude of things to observe during walks, a space to draw the route taken, and a home pledge to encourage responsible water use from an early age. This free resource is available across leisure and nature centres in Wales and is also available to download from our website.
To help get you in the exploring mood, here are some wonderful Welsh waterside walks that we recommend:
Dŵr Cymru’s newest recreation site is close to the heart of Cardiff. Walking across brooks and waterways leads you through a secret urban woodland to this amazing building where you can connect with water through a range of fun activities.
Surrounded by lush, forested hills, this scenic lake in the heart of Mid Wales offers tranquil waterside walks with plenty of wildlife and birdwatching opportunities. One of Wales’ real hidden gems, it’s a great place to have a walk throughout the year, whatever the weather.
The remarkable Conwy Falls runs through the deep gorge of the River Conwy, set in 10 acres of designated ancient native woodland and laced with paths, viewpoints and glades. Kids will love spotting things from their activity booklet and adults will enjoy the magnificent sights.
Encompassing 70 square miles of dams, reservoirs and rugged Welsh landscapes, Elan Valley is a slice of paradise unto itself. There are nine walks on offer, from gentle well-surfaced paths perfect for a ramble with children in Cnwch Wood, to the steep climbs of Nant y Gro offering great views of the Caban Coch reservoir to Garreg Ddu viaduct.
Find out more information about CCW here: https://www.ccw.org.uk/aboutus/