Wales / Cymru
Croeso i Cymru – Welcome to Wales!
Wales – a land of music, song and magical scenery – is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. It is a bilingual country with both the Celtic Welsh language and English being spoken. There are parts of Wales where more than half the people speak Welsh as their first language – but don‘t be deterred as Welsh people, having obtained recognition for their language in 1993 after centuries of oppression, are very courteous and will speak to you in English! Here are some tips on how to speak Welsh
Historically, Wales is famous for its castles – there are over 400, which document the Welsh people‘s resistance to first Norman and then English occupation. Mythical history includes the legends of Merlin and King Arthur
Wales has a wonderful coastline where you can see dolphins, seals and birds, as well as having some splendid surfing beaches. There are 21 nature reserves in Wales and three national parks. Snowdonia is the best known of these but there are also three nature reserve islands off Pembrokeshire. The coastal path, running from Borth, through Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, to Swansea is spectacular. Other beautiful areas are the Cors Caron (Tregaron Bog), the hills of the Elynedd, and the Brecon Beacons, all of which are suitable for walking and mountain biking. There are more sheep in Wales than people!
|Chris Slader (host 407)
|Number of Servas host households in the region:
|Peace activities in the region:
- Wales was the first fair-trade nation in the UK. Bridgend and Fishguard have adopted the ‘Transitional town’ policy, reducing their carbon footprint. Our national Assembly takes pride in its zero waste policy. A world trade fair takes place in Abergavenny each October.
- Quaker meetings take place in the main centres
- The Eisteddfod movement is an enjoyable competitive event of singing, dancing and poetry mainly in the Welsh language. There are separate children’s eisteddfodiae. The International Eisteddfod is at Llangollen every year, and a national Eisteddfod is held in the first week of August – in 2012 it is in Cardiff. Villages hold local eisteddfodiae, which are well attended and very important to local people. Local peace organisations often have stalls at these events.
- Two Servas gatherings are held each year, one in North and one in South Wales.
|Main towns in the region:
- Cardiff is the capital city of Wales, with the Sennedd (the seat of devolved Government), the Castle and the bay
- Swansea – in the south-west, hinterland to the Gower peninsula and Dylan Thomas country
- St. Davids – in the far south-west, is the smallest city with a cathedral in the UK
- Aberystwyth – in the west, is the centre of Welsh learning
- Bangor – in the north, is the gateway to Anglesey and Snowdonia
|Transport in the region:
Some of Wales is remote and travel can be slow.
- Rail connections are fast and regular to Cardiff, Swansea and Fishguard
- The rail connection to Holyhead, along the North Wales coast from England, connects with ferries to Ireland
- The heart of Wales line provides a regular slow beautiful journey through mid-Wales
- The line to Blaenau Festiniog in North Wales is very scenic
- Regular buses are available throughout Wales
- Cardiff has an international airport
There are tourist offices in most towns – links to some of these are given opposite. The Wales Tourist Information site has some good photos of different areas of Wales.
Visit Wales (official Tourist Board site)
Wales Tourist Information
- Many hosts have special interests in crafts and country pursuits. Other hosts are very interested in alternative energy and sustainable living projects. Come and see microgeneration of electricity and vegetable growing!
- The Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth is a national project for research into environmental issues and sustainable living
- Wales has three national parks covering 4,122 sq km, 20% of its land area. Snowdonia is perhaps the best known, but the Pembrokeshire national coastal path is famous for its seal and dolphin population and its three nature reserve islands, and the Brecon Beacons are a wild and beautiful area for walking and mountain biking. Some of the old pubs in Brecon could end a good day out!
- There is a wonderful mountain railway from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge in mid-Wales [seasonal], and Wales is well known for its many narrow gauge steam trains [also seasonal].
- Nant Gwrtheyrn in the Llŷn peninsula runs Welsh language courses. The centre is residential and in a beautiful setting.
- Portmeirion (south of Bangor) is an Italianate village of great architectural significance and beauty. Cottages can be rented from the estate.
- The National Botanic Garden of Wales near Carmarthen. The large glass house is covered and good for the occasional wet day!