Using public transport often takes a little research but you can embark upon a great adventure without the car. Some may say; "but I need it to come back to after my time in the wilderness." This is fair enough but our response would be; "Is it really wild and or wild camping when you've got your car parked down the bottom of the mountain or lane?"
How about an Explorer Ticket. In our region we have the Stagecoach EXPLORER Tickets, which enables us to hop on and off virtually anywhere in the ticket zone. Indeed, if you have a folding bike from say Dawes that good old British make like we do that's a plus also for it represents more manoeuvrability. There is a whole lot of fun using public transport. How about getting off on one stop and hiking to another through a river valley or a mountain range like the Black Mountains a famous Wye watershed? It's easily done. Here are the buses you need to catch for that.
Hay on Wye (Arrive) to Pandy (Pick Up) or vice versa. These two will assist anyone wanting to get back into the Midlands or South Wales. Click here for the links. Stagecoach T14 - Hereford - Cardiff via Hay, on, Wye, Brecon, Merthyr Tydfil and X3 - Hereford - Abergavenny - Cardiff Just ask for an Explorer Ticket
The above is of course an example, which features scheduled services
to Cardiff via Hay On Wye, Brecon and or Abergavenny. All you have to do
to use them as an explorative tool is get the map out, see what centres are
in the area, visit the appropriate service and cross reference the stops.
Other Routes and services include: Gloucester 33 via Ross on Wye,
which will take you straight into the Wye Valley at Ross. Monmouth 36,
which will take you to the heart of the Lower Wye. The 69 Connection from
here via Phil Anslow & Sons will get you into Tintern and Chepstow. Whatever
the destination you can easily traverse the amazing Wye catchment. For more
Other services in the Wye catchment area include: UPPER WYE Sargeants for Llandrindod Wells, which will get you into the Cambrian Mountains, the source of the Wye and the spectacular Elan Valley and the X3 for Abergavenny will get you into the Southern end of the Black Mountains at Llanvihangel Crucorney and or the Honddu and Hatteral Hill as well as Pontrilas (SAS training) and the reaches of the Mid Monnow at Kentchurch.
Hereford - Mid Wye - Hay On Wye - Talgarth - Builth - Erwood - Llandrindod Wells - Wye Source
If the middle part of the Wye is your interest on a Sunday or bank holiday then your adventure is now on if you want to leave the car behind or are public transport dependent. The 39a bus was threatened with cancellation but with a great campaign from folks in hay it's rolling once more. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hay-Ho-Bus/520031264799155 it will take you from Hereford to Hay-On-Wye as will the T4 Hereford to Cardiff via Hay-on-Wye, which is more regular.
The T4 will enable you to get off at Talgarth to. From here you can walk the Western Ridges of the Black Mountains, which feed the Wye or cross over into the Wye Valley via Bronllys and the Mynydd Forest.
Into the middle. There are two bus services that will take you into Builth Wells via Hereford, Hay and Talgarth or even Abergavenny if you are that end of the Black Mountains. They are the X15 Hereford to Builth, which runs once a day and the X12 between Abergavenny and Builth - again once a day. They take you deepr into the catchment and would be good for hikers on multi day trips.
Links from Builth to Llandrindod Wells. If you want to get back to Hereford via Llanrindod Wells and not depend upon the once a day service of the X15 or the X12 then you can catch a bus to Llandrindod Wells. From there buses are fairly regular and trains can be caught bound for South Wales and the Midlands. All services will give you access to the Upper Wye also. Look out for the 48 Builth to Llandrindod Wells and the
All these services are from centre's that act like spokes. They will take you to where you want to go and what with multi day hiking access has been proven to be good.
Lower Wye - Ross - Monmouth - Chepstow - Symonds Yat
The lower Wye consists of Ross-On-Wye, Monmouth, Tintern and the Chepstow area including many parts of the Forest of Dean. You can catch buses into the area from Gloucester, Bristol, London, South Wales & Hereford. Of course, what with good proven links into the area you should have no problem enjoying an adventure. For Symonds Yat look out for the 34 Ross-On-Wye to Monmouth via Whitchurch or the 35 Monmouth - Ross Via Coleford.
So here are some links to services you may need starting with the car free walks website: Car Free Walks - Monmouth to Hereford with links to Mid Wales (see above) - Gloucester to Ross-On-Wye with links to Hereford & Monmouth - Bristol to Chepstow with links to Monmouth - Chepstow to Monmouth - Newport to Chepstow with links from Cardiff and South Wales
We know there are zillions of cars on the road and many millions of people waiting for that green revolution to be delivered to their doorstep but it is in fact already here. It's in the way we choose to travel! There's our feet, the bike, bus or even car share. Sounds a lot of fuss when we consider convenience but it is actually fun and provides a different perspective on the areas, which we aim to explore. Ever passed a mountain in a car and then some years later hiked passed that same mountain. If you have, you'll know what we mean. So, get out of your cars and hop onto the bus and hike to your start points. It's a dimensional shift and the only real way of getting to know your objective. Without doubt there is a green angle and an explorative one!
So, what's out there?
In the Wye catchment there are a few main operators that cover the area. They are listed above/right. We have travelled all of them over the years and can tesify to their reliability and service. In our view there is nothing like leaving your home behind, admiring the view of the area you're about to explore from the bus window then stepping off into one of the many awesome towns or remote stops. It's a travel experience!
Online Hitchhiking - Car Shares & Car Free Hikes
We've yet to try the car sharing systems now available due to the ever-growing technologies out there but we will give it a go in the future. Initiatives like Blablacar & Carpooling are changing the way we hitch about the land although traditional means still exist as we can testify.
Whether or not we have transport we gotta get out and if adventurous and green minded without the car if we have one. Projects such as Car Free Walks mentioned are there to help in addition.
The value of slow travel and travelling without the car is invaluable. Think about it in 1952 only 27% of journeys
were taken by car, van and or taxis. By 2013 this had increased to 83%. Suffice to say this has impacted on air quality, fitness, health and nature. So, we need to get out of the cars. For more details see this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/264679/tsgb-2013.pdf
39 A Honddu Hay Bluff Bus
We've explored the transport options in the Upper Wye via the 'Heart of Wales Line' but for assurances we'll repeat some of it here. Getting to the Upper Wye near Rhayader, Elan valley and further on up near Llangurig and Aberystwyth is a little more tricky but good when you have sussed out the system. You can even get all the way to Snowdonia and back, the return journey of which we did in 2014. Meanwhile here are the links you'll need. Offa's Dyke Association - Bus Information - General Bus Map to The Source from Rhayader or Aberystwyth
Other Signicant Links
Dan Baily: Article on how to climb hills without the car
London Hiker: Uses public transport to get out of London and into major UK wild spaces.
Alex Roddie: Hiker & public transport supporter
Travel Line Cymru: Cycling and using the bus in Wales
Biking in The Cambrian Mountains Click
Visit The National Cycle Museum
Wye Source & The Cambrians by Train
Wye Source by Train & By Bus