South West Wales Without A Car

South West Wales Without A Car


Co-created with regional partners, this sustainable tourism guide features amazing regional destinations, together with travel information, encouraging more people to visit and explore South West Wales – without a car!

Published in March 2024, we are now distributing this book with the support of GWR, TFW and tourism partners within the region.  Can you help us get this into people’s hands? 

If you would like to receive a box of these sustainable tourism guidebooks showcasing our wonderful South West Wales, please use the form below!

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It’s Your Swansea

It’s Your Swansea

Last week we hosted our It’s Your Swansea Conference. Let’s have a look back on an incredible day showcasing everything that’s great about Swansea and hearing from the people, organisations and businesses who are making change happen.

Swansea Arena playing host to our It’s Your Swansea Conference, 7th March 2024 (Pic: Innovation Photography)

The conference opened with exciting announcements and updates from key local partners, exploring how Swansea is addressing the challenges of our time and embracing opportunities in 2024.

Cllr Andrea Lewis, Joint Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Service Transformation at Swansea Council, gave an exclusive insight into the schemes that will make Swansea an even better place  to live, work and socialise. She said “Swansea is a real city of opportunity. These are exciting times.”

These opportunities include a major new high tech sustainable office development at 71/72 Kingsway, linked to the “living building” at Picton Yard, one of the greenest buildings in Wales; the transformation of a former BHS store into a new community hub; redeveloping the Civic Centre site for leisure and hospitality; redeveloping old buildings such as the Palace Theatre and Albert Hall; transforming Castle Square to be greener and more welcoming; and much more!

Perhaps the most exciting thing is the £4bn renewable energy project, potentially including a tidal lagoon, a battery farm to store renewable energy generated, a floating solar panel facility, an oceanic and climate change research centre, eco-homes anchored in the water, and a hyperscale data centre.

Cherrie Bija is CEO of Faith in Families, who have been providing skills and opportunities such as free breakfast and sports for kids for the last twenty five years.

Faith in Families have been approached by Amazon with opportunity to run a warehouse which was something they had never done before. They take Amazon’s surplus goods and give them to people, such as shirts for interviews. In fact they can provide pretty much everything you need for a home. Parents aren’t buying things like toothpaste because of cost of living crisis, so Faith in Families can provide them with dignity. 

They have launched Cwtch Mawr, Wales’ first multibank, which aims to identify and help forty thousand familes this year. Giving them brand new items says to them “You’re worth it, we believe in you”. Forty thousand items were given out on two days over Christmas. They put coats out and said “Please take a coat because we need the space”. It was several days before people were actually taking them, but they gave out fifty coats, as well as things  like brand new football boots for children. They can provide all the things that turn houses into homes.

Serena Jones is Executive Director of Operations at Coastal Housing Group, who provide safe, affordable, quality homes that meet sustainability targets. She said they are “working hard to address the deepest housing crisis I’ve seen in thirty years. The systemic challenges are real and biting, but it’s good the Welsh Government understand link between housing and climate change.” She believes “Sustainability is also about people.”

Coastal Housing have installed hybrid heating systems in their properties leading to a 70% reduction in energy bills, volumetric water cylinders resulting in a 38% energy decrease (which can be overriden for hot water if needed), solar PV with sensors to see their impact, and apps to monitor carbon monoxide and general indoor air quality.

Professor Ian Walsh, is Provost (Swansea & Cardiff) at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, which is currently ranked as the top university in the UK for active graduate businesses. It was a fascinating update. Did you know work at the university has transformed the way we repair windscreens on cars? UWTSD”s latest building, the Innovation Matrix, will be as close as possible to net zero, but can’t get there completely because of the computers. It already has about a 70% occupancy and will be opening in June, providing an ecosystem where businesses can thrive.

We heard from young people who are seizing the opportunities on offer here in Swansea, and inspiring others to do the same.

Amy Tanker has volunteered with a number of organisations. As a Psychology & Criminology Student at Swansea University, she was particularly keen to volunteer with Families and Friends of Prisoners Swansea. Not all prisons have family services like this, so volunteering with them meant she had social policy research opportunities and was able to get an internship.

Saadia Abubaker, Founder of Saadia Speaks, wants to empower the next generation of leaders. Born in Sudan, she moved to Swansea age two. Growing up, she experienced a lot of racism, but seized all the opportunities she could. She joined the Youth Sports Trust to encourage more girls like her to do sports, and now uses the same approach to build her brand. She said “People are not always supportive of my ideas, but if one organisation says no to me another will say yes.” She asked “Will you join me in inspiring the next generation of leaders?”

Fatima Lopes said “I grown up here my whole life. In school I couldn’t wait to leave because I didn’t know the opportunities that were here.” She said working as Student Union President at Gower College Swansea has made her aware of of those opportunities, and she will be going to Swansea University.

She said “During Covid, I was in year 10 and 11, and this is when I’d normally do work experience, so I didn’t get this. Students are now more hesistant to embrace opportunities because of lockdown.”

She’d like a sector wide approach on business and schools linking together, similar to Cardiff Commitment. She said students are very passionate and this can be harnessed with clubs and societies. She’d like something similar for people in work. This should be combined with mental health support for people in work and education.

She chose to go down an academic route, but if she’d done an apprenticeship, believes she would have faced stigma and a lack of knowledge, and this needs to change.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we also welcomed four women to share their stories of overcoming challenges and embracing opportunities in Swansea.

In school Alison Vickers, Managing Partner at Bevan Buckland, knew she wanted to be an accountant (or a detective). In 1986 she got a three month trial with Bevan Buckland, earning less than £400 a month. She rose up through the company and in 1996 joined the board of what was still a very traditional practice. One of her first acts was to end the ban on women wearing trousers! Bevan Buckland now employs a hundred and twenty people and are the biggest independent accountants in Wales. Alison said being based in Swansea hasn’t held them back. She’s learnt everything new is an opportunity, prepare well, and enjoy it!

Joy Ogeh-Hutfield, a Transformation Coach and Leadership Consultant, sees opportunity everywhere. She said “Sight is seeing things as they are, but vision is seeing how things should be. Having a vision means the city has something to give back to you. Gain more clarity by thinking about how your vision can bring change. My greatest joy helping clients understand their true authentic self. Invest in you, because if your cup is empty you have nothing to give. Enhance what you are and what you do.” She added “Teachers open the doors but you must enter by yourself.”

Eight years ago Amy Price, Director at The Social Butterfly Marketing, was a job jumper with bad mental health. She’d never learnt about self employment in school and was in in-work poverty. She said it was very strange attending her first networking event while still working in a call centre, it was “lonely being the youngest business woman in the room, but I’ve grown and I pick up awards in front of those people.” She feels she now lives a good life and doesn’t want to sacrifice more.

Her advice is “Stay in your own lane. Life is full of unique challenges, some days are harder than others, but just try your best.” She believes women are more resilient and risk adverse than men, and have a lot of side hustles but don’t see this as business. She said “I still have imposter syndrome and accept anxiety is a part of me. This year I finally felt I run proper business. I say yes to any opportunity Swansea presents to me and know this helps my mental health.”

Everything Kim Mamhende, Chief Officer of The CAE, does is about empowering people. For her it’s about change in the community, and underpinning that is equity and ensuring everyone has opportunity to do what they want.

She believes everyone has right to live their dreams, and the Welsh dream is achieving what you want without having to move, which is also being about equity and opportunity. She said “Opportunity is about creating. You can’t wait for a seat at the table sometimes you need to create your own table. Entrepreneurship is about adding value, creating your own opportunities and enacting positive change. It’s not always an easy journey.”

This year, we’re exploring even more of the region where we’ll be welcoming everyone to the following It’s Your… Events, so make sure to save the dates!

It’s Your Pembrokeshire, 8th May, Queens Hall Narberth

It’s Your Carmarthenshire, 11th July, Yr Egin

It’s Your Neath Port Talbot, 12th September, Blancos Hotel

Supporting Local

Supporting Local

At 4theRegion we’ve always been passionate about supporting local.

Swansea City Centre Conference 2023 Photos

When we spend our money with big businesses, most of it leaves our local economy and lines the pockets of distant shareholders. When we spend our money with a local small business, it creates benefits for local people, and recirculates in our economy, where it has a much more positive social impact.

Perhaps the most important thing for supporting independent retail in Swansea is for more of us to make the effort to support local whenever we can. How can people, businesses and organisations across Swansea collaborate to promote the cause of our local businesses?

This is why “Supporting Local” is the theme for our Swansea Conference. Last year we hosted the first major conference at the newly opened Swansea Arena, and we’re so excited to be back there once again on March 29th!

We’ll have a regeneration update from Rob Stewart, leader of Swansea Council, and major partners, about all the exciting development projects currently underway and coming soon. This’ll include news of the successful Leveling Up bid that will see significant investments in the Lower Swansea Valley and an update from Urban Splash, the development partner on the Seafront and other strategic sites across Swansea.

Swansea Council has said it wants as much work from regeneration projects go to Welsh businesses as possible. And it was good to see a regional firm like Ministry of Furniture be one of the first businesses to benefit from a project to redevelop Oxford Street’s former BHS and What! store into a new city centre community hub. Ministry of Furniture has been appointed to design the furniture and fixtures scheme, working on the contract with the council and main contractors Kier Construction. Ministry of Furniture worked for the council on the most recent fit out of the Civic Centre, largely with remanufactured furniture. As a boost to the circular economy, they aim to move the majority of that apparatus to the new hub.

Many people across our communities are struggling to afford healthy food for their families, an unacceptable situation that’s been compounded by the cost of living crisis. So what needs to happen to make healthy, affordable and locally produced food available to everyone in Swansea? How can we connect people to where their food comes from, and how to grow and cook it?

GRAFT is a garden and workshop, based at the National Waterfront Museum, working with local communities, schools and adult learners to grow food, preserve seeds, keep bees, and learn cooking skills in a clay oven. Volunteers are invited to join an intergenerational curriculum of outdoor learning, wellbeing and making connected to food. All of the garden’s infrastructure has been built by the team and participants who are learning woodwork and metalwork skills, alongside horticulture.

Farmers across our region face a huge number of challenges in a vulnerable and uncertain sector. The farming industry needs to substantially change to address the climate and nature emergencies, but farmers often feel unfairly blamed or misunderstood by people in towns and cities. How can proactively engage with local farmers to understand their challenges and how they can be better supported? Creating links between farms and local communities and customers is essential to relocalising our food supply chains and creating a resilient food system for Swansea.

Public sector procurement is often recognised as a key lever for change, with the potential to provide a steady and reliable market for locally produced food and drink. The Welsh Government has launched a new initiative meant to encourage more local spending on food by the NHS, schools and local government. But change isn’t happening fast enough. What are the challenges around putting more local food on the public plate – in hospitals, schools and other settings – and how can we overcome them?

At the Swansea Conference, Bwyd Abertawe, a local community based food partnership, will be launching the Swansea Food Charter, as part of their effort to get everyone working together towards making Swansea to become a Sustainable Food Place, where healthy, local and  affordable food is available to everyone, promoting the wellbeing of people and the planet.

At 4theRegion we believe that the creative industries present a huge opportunity for jobs, entrepreneurship, regeneration and wellbeing across Swansea. By investing in creativity we can breathe new life into our high streets and town centres. How can we make sure there are opportunities here in Swansea for people to develop rewarding careers, and build successful businesses, in the creative, digital, arts and cultural sectors?

People in Swansea have an amazing mindset and willingness to help each other out. Elysium have over 100 studios they can rent out across 4 buildings in Swansea. They started off in messy art painting and now have photography studios, TV broadcasters and other creative industries using the space. If you look at creative projects in other cities, there are lots of disparate studios that are always competing. We don’t seem to have that as much in Swansea. Of course, not everyone knows what’s here! How can we better promote and connect all the good stuff that’s happening, to strengthen the sector and engage more people in the arts?

How can we make sure that Swansea retains (and develops) a vibrant and diverse mix of independent retailers, in the face of huge competition from big name brands and online shopping? To survive and thrive as an independent retail business, entrepreneurs need to adopt innovative strategies that set them apart from the global competition. So how can local businesses in Swansea embrace technology?

Russell Greenslade, Chief Executive of Swansea BID, has said the majority of the independent businesses Swansea BID has supported in opening in the city centre in the past 18 months have a very strong digital channel presence.

He said “The strength of the independent business is being nimble enough to respond to trends and situations with instant decision capability. They can be better placed to find their niche, innovate, have more power over profitability, provide a personalised experience, and be their own boss.

“As businesses, we operate in different and more challenging environments since bouncing back from a global pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis. The challenges include staying relevant as customers evolve, embracing online shopping and harnessing the power of digital to help overcome challenges. Using technology to analyse our customer data, we can adapt accordingly to put customers first and use digital, data, technology and the intelligence they provide to improve the experience and anticipate customer needs enabling business growth.”

The Swansea Conference & Exhibition is going to be an unmissable day. If you haven’t yet booked your free ticket, please take a moment to do it now! There’ll be over 120 exhibition stands showcasing local businesses and community organisations, interactive exhibitions from the universities, Oriel Science, and Plantasia, opportunities to meet local companies, and a Youth Voice area celebrating some amazing young people. Find out about local job opportunities, meet new suppliers, pick up lots of free goodies, and feel proud of the people and organisations that make Swansea great! There’s something for everyone!

Destination, Travel & Tourism Sector Forum September 2022

Destination, Travel & Tourism Sector Forum September 2022


Destination, Travel & Tourism Sector Forum September 2022

4theRegion members met with businesses and organisations across South West Wales to share perspectives, experiences and opportunities in the travel and tourism sector.

An integrated, sustainable travel network is essential to prosperity and well-being, with tourism also a key economic driver for the region. We should be working collaboratively to address the challenges we face, to create flourishing local places, connected by inclusive and sustainable transport that meets the needs of businesses, serves communities, and improves well-being across the region.

The theme for this month’s event was “Reporting back on the summer season.” We invited Llyr Roberts from Cwtsh Hostel and Geraldine Williams from Visit Swansea Bay to share key insights and updates from Summer 2022,

You can catch up on the discussion surrounding the travel and tourism sector and opportunities in our region by watching the event recording or reading the event notes.


Catch up on the full event recording and hear from regional organisations who are doing great work in our region’s Travel and Tourism sector. Click the video at the timestamps listed below to jump to their appropriate segment.

0:15:15: Llyr Roberts, Cwtsh Hostel
0:30:00: Geraldine Williams, Visit Swansea Bay

Subscribe to our Youtube channel and save our Destination, Travel & Tourism to be notified when new videos are uploaded.

Thematic Priorities


  • Visit Swansea Bay are providing the opportunity for tourism businesses to become a partner for free up to the end of March 2023.
  • Each tourism business can have a free webpage entry on and take part in their year-long destination marketing campaigns.
  • Swansea Council Supporting small accommodation operators in rural and semi-rural areas of Swansea

  • In collaboration with Visit Wales, the Development Bank of Wales has a £50 million pound fund to support companies in the tourism sector, the Wales Tourism Investment Fund.


  • The increase in costs of living and energy prices are concerning for hospitality and tourism businesses.
  • In some cases, the increase in costs may be equivalent to a staff member’s salary.
  • How will businesses that need to use a lot of energy be able to stay in business?
  • The proposal for a visitor levy in Wales has received many split opinions.
  • The levy intends to “raise additional revenue for local authorities to reinvest in the public services and infrastructure that make tourism a success.”
  • Consultation on the levy will be ongoing until December 2022.
  • Will the introduction of this levy create a barrier for people who may want to visit Wales?


  • Campaigns during off-peak seasons such as winter are important to encourage visitors into the region.
  • Extending holiday campaigns may help with post-covid recovery efforts.
  • Dog-friendly holidays are becoming increasingly common due to the number of dogs adopted during lockdown.
  • Using a variety of advertising methods and platforms can help target all kinds of target audiences and age groups.
  • Printed media may not be the most viable option to promote destinations or events, as information may quickly become outdated.

  • Recovery

  • Occupancy figures for hotels are encouraging and are almost back to pre-pandemic levels.
  • New developments such as Swansea Arena, the new hotel at Milford Haven, Penderyn and other new attractions are helpful in bringing tourism into the region.
  • Integrating circular economy practices are vital for the recovery and success of businesses going forward.
  • Reusing products and handing out products such as shampoo bottles that have been left behind could be beneficial in reducing waste.
  • The move away from international travel and preference to stay more local has been seen by many hospitality businesses.


Click here to subscribe to our newsletter and select “Tourism & Transport” to receive updates about work from us and our partners in this space.

Please do get in touch with 4theRegion to tell us about your work in the travel and tourism sector in South West Wales, or to share challenges and ideas about what more is needed.

Looking for support for your business?

Looking for support for your business?

Considering self-employment? Want to grow an existing business? Did you know there’s a range of support available for you?

So far ninety five grants have been awarded to pre-starts and new businesses (Pic: RODNAE Productions)

It’s not always easy to know what support is available for businesses. But if you’re in the Swansea area, Business Swansea could help you. Business Swansea is the new name for business support within Swansea Council.

Got a new business? Looking to start one? Business Swansea manages Start Up Grants. So far ninety five grants have been awarded to pre-starts and new businesses. You can get financial support of up to £1,000, with no requirement for match funding. This scheme is designed for you if your business is under two years old. And you can be in any sector, from dog grooming to high end manufacturing, and anything in between! The funding can be used for the equipment, as well as the training and consultancy, you may need when starting your new business.

And what if you’ve got a more established business? The Growth Grant came online earlier this year. This is the grant for you if you’re an established business that wants to grow. Funding is available up to £1,500, with a match funding requirement. There’s also a Green Innovation Grant, if your business is working towards net zero, and a Digital Development Grant if you want, for example, to improve your online visibility or undertake a digital marketing campaign.

Both the grant schemes will require you to produce a business plan and a cashflow forecast. Not sure how to do this? Don’t worry! Where appropriate, you can be signposted to support from Business Wales and/or Business in focus to help produce the documents you need.

And it’s not just grant schemes! Business Swansea also offers business support workshops, including a Start-Up Enterprise Club, which has engaged with over two hundred people. They also run “Power Hour” workshops, which have attracted around a hundred and fifty attendees. You can watch all the previous workshops here. The facilitators for the workshops come from local businesses, including Peter Lynn & Partners, Alan Brayley from AB Glass, Bevan Buckland, Urban Foundry, Purple Dog, DJM Solicitors, Real Inbound, and Copper Bay Digital.

And what if you’re unemployed? Business Swansea run an Introduction to Self Employment Course, which covers all elements of self-employment, including what the impact would be on your unemployment entitlements. The next course is coming up in November.

A key priority for Business Swansea is to collaborate with local stakeholders and partner organisations, to assist local businesses navigating the business support available. Part of this includes quarterly meetings with around twenty four business support organisations operating in Swansea. This means all partners know what other organisations are doing. It avoids duplication and ensures everyone is working together to signpost businesses to the right support.

Want to receive regular updates on the all various support and events for businesses across the country? You can sign up to the Business Swansea e-newsletter here!

Want further information on the grants? Please visit the Swansea Council website, or contact:

Business Swansea:
Growth Grant:
Start Up Grant:

Want to attend a Business Swansea event? You can find details of their exciting upcoming events here!

Everything’s better with water

Everything’s better with water

Summer’s here! For some people there’s nothing better than to lie on the beach. Maybe you’d like something a bit more active? Or maybe you just want to cool off? Either way, everything’s better with water!

Three Cliffs Bay (Pic: Rhiannon Elliott/Unsplash)

Did you know being near water is great for our health and wellbeing? Over a decade of research shows being close to the water, especially the sea, has measurable benefits for our physical and mental health, benefiting everything from our Vitamin D levels to our social interaction. Maybe it’s the quality of light, the soundscape, or the ebb and flow of the tides? Being around water puts us in tune with natural forces, whether it’s understanding the movement of wind and water as you swim, surf or sail, or simply thinking outwards to your natural environment as you walk along the beach.

We’re spoilt for choice with beaches. Whether it’s the breathtaking Bracelet Bay with its rocky shore, cave and fossilised coral reef to explore, the eight miles of sand and shipwrecks at Cefn Sidan, the seclusion, pristine sands and crystal clear waters of Barafundle Bay, Rhossili Bay’s dramatic views and beautiful sunsets, or having a great family day out along the promenade at Aberavon.

There are some amazing places for beach yoga. Take advantage of the sheer mass of water to channel its energy to meditate and reconnect with nature. Adopt the majestic tree pose while surrounded by a lost and submerged Bronze Age forest, which surfaces at Freshwater West when the tide is at its lowest point. The UK’s largest beach yoga class, Womankind Yoga, takes place on Swansea Beach. Discover inner peace, balance and true relaxation, even in the city.

And our coasts can feed us! Learn how to find clams, cockles and oysters and sea vegetables (edible seaweed) on a foraging course. Your guide will show you what to eat (or not), how to harvest it sustainably and, if you’re lucky cook you a meal from the food you’ve foraged.

If you’d prefer to get your local seafood a bit more quickly there are plenty of options available. For amazing street food check out Cafe Môr and Gower Seafood Hut. If you’d like the chance to forage for your food and then have a chef serve it to you in a restaurant, check out Annwn.

Our coasts offer great places for walks. Follow in the footsteps of medieval saints around St David’s Peninsula, or pass bone filled caves and a winding river to watch the sun set over Three Cliffs Bay. Have you ever wanted to tame a dragon? Walk out to Worm’s Head (the name comes from the Old English wyrm, meaning serpent or dragon), but be careful you don’t get stuck there! Worm’s Head is a tidal island and you’ll only have about two and a half hours to get there and back.

The region is perfect for surfing. Freshwater West has the best waves in Wales, although its strong rip currents means it’s only suitable for experienced surfers who are strong swimmers. For beginners and children, check out Caswell Bay and Newgale. Llangennith and Manorbier are great for surfers of all abilities, with enough space for everyone.

And what about swimming? Wild or open swimming offers a sensory experience like no other, and there are some amazing places to swim. Please be aware of the hidden risks such as cold water, waves and undercurrents, even in places that look ideal for swimming. Beginners are best sticking to lifeguarded beaches such as the amazing sandy beaches at Caswell Bay and Whitesands. More experienced swimmers can try out beautiful, quiet beaches like Tor Bay or Blue Pool Bay.

How about land yachting? Imagine a buggy with a huge sail that can be propelled by winds of less than 10mph and reach speeds of over 60mph. Try them out on Pendine Sands, where many land speed records were broken. You’ll be so close to the sand you’ll feel like you’re racing too!

Want to do a sport invented right here in the region? Coasteering was created by TYF Adventure and Coasteering in St Davids in 1986. Basically it’s where the foreshore becomes your eco-adventure playground. Scramble across the shore, climb rocks, jump from cliffs, and swim in rock gullies, ride waves and explore caves. The North Pembrokeshire coast is perfect for coasteering. The most popular spot is the Blue Lagoon, a flooded former quarry, where the slate turns the water a brilliant sapphire blue.

Lighthouse view from Bracelet Bay

And what about wildlife?

Seals love Pembrokeshire! Its nutrient rich waters make it one of the best places to see all kinds of marine wildlife. There are about 5,000 Atlantic grey seals in the waters in Pembrokeshire. Seals can be seen all year round, and you may be able to see their fluffy white pups on undisturbed beaches between August and November.

The best way to see marine wildlife is by boat. In fact this is only way to see a whale. Dolphins are easier to find because they’re inquisitive and usually come to find you. Pods of 500 are common, and if they choose to follow your boat you’ll only be a few inches away from them. You may also see porpoises and even sharks. If you go on a boat trip, your guides will know where the seals are snoozing, the porpoises are feeding, and the seabirds nesting. They’ll also be able tell you about the rich history of the coast, from prehistoric caves to smugglers coves.

Skomer Island is particularly famous for its large breeding population of seabirds. It’s home to half the world’s population of Manx shearwaters, and the largest Atlantic Puffin colony in southern Britain. You’ll also find guillemots, razorbills, great cormorants, black legged kittiwakes, European storm petrels, common shags, Eurasian oystercatchers and gulls, birds of prey such as short-eared owls, common kestrels and peregrine falcons, and a unique mammal, the Skomer vole.

Our wild coastline, rivers, lakes, and even canals are perfect for canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned expert. If you’re going out in open water it’s best if you go with an experienced guide, particularly if you go any distance from the shoreline. You’re also more likely to see more wildlife this way.

The Afon Tywi is the longest river flowing solely through Wales. It has a thriving population of otters, and grey seals can be found in pursuit of sewin and salmon. Paddling along the river takes you through some of Carmarthenshire’s most stunning attractions, including the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Aberglasney Gardens and Dinefwr Park.

For a magical family paddle, get out onto the Afon Teifi. Start in the deeply wooded valley and look out for otters, herons, buzzards and kites. You’ll glide past Cilgerran Castle, through a gorge and then into wetlands where water buffalo graze.

Llys-y-Frân is a very special place in the foothills of the Preseli Mountains. The reservoir was opened in 1972 to supply clean water to Pembrokeshire. The dam is a feat of engineering, but it has also preserved the landscape as a haven for nature and wildlife. It offers a whole range of activities on land and water, including stand up paddleboarding, an offshoot of surfing where you stand up on the board and use a large paddle to propel yourself. It offers a fantastic all over body workout, especially the core muscle groups, and provides improved agility, co-ordination and an enhanced lifestyle. Or how about stand up pedal boards? They combine the fun of paddle boarding, with the comfort of handlebars. You step on two pedal pads on the board, so you can literally walk on water.

Have you heard of ‘the waterfall effect’? When water bashes against itself it releases zillions of negative oxygen ions into the air. Breathing them in makes you happier and more alert.

Discover our very own ‘Waterfall country’, where natural forces have combined here to create a highly concentrated area of waterfalls, gorges and caves. At Sgwd Gwladus ten metres of water gush into an idyllic forest pool. Splashing about or swimming under the waterfall is great way to cool off on a hot day! The waterfall is named after Gwladus, who fell in love with a man called Einion. Her father wouldn’t allow them to be together, so Gwladus’ sadness became so overwhelming she transformed into a waterfall. Einion threw himself into the river and became a waterfall too, Sgwd Einion Gam, one of Wales’ most spectacular but least accessible waterfalls (which means you’ll probably have the place to yourself). Now their spirits flow together as one.

4theRegion is a movement to create a happier and healthier South West Wales. Our amazing natural environment is a big part of that.

What are your favourite places to be by the water in South West Wales? We’d love to hear and see what they are! Don’t forget to tag us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.


Regency Project, National Botanic Garden of Wales (Pic: Tim Jones Photography)