Memories of a great day in July: Walking the new Heart of Wales Line Trail. RWH tour leader Ray Philpotts went along for the ride.Over 80 keen walkers congregated at a Shropshire railway station for the inauguration on 4th July of the first section of the Heart of Wales Line Trail, a major new long-distance route. This first completed section runs from Craven Arms to Knighton. The aim is to create a 140-mile walking route that weaves between rural railway stations on the scenic Heart of Wales Line, eventually linking all the way from Shrewsbury to South Wales.
The Heart of Wales Line has long been a favourite with walkers due to the access to the surrounding stunning countryside it offers. The accompanying walking trail aims to give the rail line a boost by bringing in more visitors, and it’s designed to make use of existing public rights of way and to intersect with existing routes such as the Offa’s Dyke Path and the Beacons Way. RWH tour leader Ray Philpotts went along for the ride.
“The day went very well,” Ray reported. “We met at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms, and after some introductory speeches from the railway representatives and Shropshire Council, we set off for Craven Arms station, where banners were unfurled, there were more speeches and press interviews.
“We caught the 9.35am train from Craven Arms – very crowded as it is only a single carriage train – to the first stop on the line at Broome and after the short 10-minute walk to Aston on Clun we all stopped at the Village Hall for more tea and cake. We then continued the walk to Hopesay village and over Hopesay Hill, stopping on Hopesay Common for a breather and some lunch, then on to Craven Arms via Sibdon Carwood, ending up back at the Discovery Centre for tea at about 3.30pm.
“I met lots of folk from all over Shropshire, South Wales and across the line to Swansea (many of whom were existing Ramblers Walking Holiday clients). It was a really successful launch of an exciting new project, and I look forward to the opening of more sections of this new walking trail.”