Hay Town and local walks

This content relates to Hay Festival 2017 and will be updated soon

There are many more events taking place in and around Hay during the festival, from markets and pop up restaurants to farm visits, walks and heritage trails.

In Town

The Illustrator’s Art

Saturday 27, Sunday 28, Monday 29 May, Richard Booth’s Bookshop

Drop in to see illustrator-in-residence Jackie Morris over the Bank Holiday weekend. Her work is informed by a love of all animals and the natural world. Jackie lives and works in a small cottage by the sea with her two children, three dogs and far too many cats.

Fair on the Square

Saturday 27, Sunday 28, Monday 29 May, 10am–5.30pm Hay Memorial Square

Enjoy a free weekend street party with live music, food and an eclectic vintage market in the centre of Hay. Taking place in a colourful marquee in Memorial Square, with the historic Hay Castle as a backdrop, Broadsheep’s Pete Mustill presents a back-to-back programme of live music from some of the best acts in the region, including a special appearance by the Decibels Choir. Soak up the festival atmosphere, tap your feet to great bands, munch on delicious food, browse the street stalls and enjoy this weekend of festivities.

Marquee Supper Club

Saturday 27, Sunday 28 May, 8pm Hay Memorial Square

A pop-up travelling restaurant serving a Mediterranean-inspired, five-course feast in aid of Refugee Community Kitchen and HOWLS, the supporters group set up to save Hay Library from closure. £45 for five courses. Tickets from Shepherds Ice Cream Parlour or juliet@shepherdsicecream.co.uk / 07970 556 813.

Hay Market Day

Thursday 25 May, Thursday 1 June, 8am–4pm Hay Memorial square, Clock Tower & Butter Market

Trading for over 700 years, Hay Market is held in the centre of town every Thursday. With over 40 stalls offering a diverse range of products, from locally grown vegetables and herbs to artisan bread and antiques, there is something for everyone. Many say it is “the best day in Hay”, so come to visit, socialise, eat, shop and, most of all, enjoy!

Saturday Produce Market

Saturday 3 June, 9am–5pm Cheese Market Hall

The Saturday Produce Market offers delicious homemade pastries, cakes and treats, artisan bread, African rugs and baskets, plus handspun yarns and woollen items.

Flea Market

Friday 26 May and Friday 2 June, 9am–5pm

The Flea Market sells an eclectic range of bric-a-brac, antiques, collectables, jewellery, books and vintage items from local dealers.

Vintage Market

Wednesday 31 May and Friday 2 June 9am–5pm Cheese Market Hall

Hay’s weekly Vintage Market is a dedicated group of specialists selling a range of retro clothing, from 1950s tea dresses and converse footwear to accessories, collectables and homeware.

Castle Street Food Market

Open daily 10am–6pm Honesty Bookshop

Step off the high street into Hay Castle’s attractive walled garden, sit under canvas and taste great street food from the Welsh Borders.

The Menagerie Night Market

Friday 26, Saturday 27, Sunday 28 May, Friday 2 June, Saturday 3 June – 6pm onwards

A new evening pop-up on Fridays, Saturdays and Bank Holiday Sunday. Enjoy excellent DJs, the Bookshop Bar and dining al fresco. Expect small brewery beer, local cider, fine wines and delicious food.

Visit Pales Quaker Meeting House

Thursday 1 June – 2pm to 4pm

Visit the still and peaceful Pales Quaker meeting house and grounds. Based on a quiet Welsh hillside since 1717 the meeting house is open to visitors. It is the oldest meeting house in continuous use in Wales and is thatched. You will need to drive to Llandegley LD1 5UF (no transport provided) and park in the Quaker Quarry Park. From all main roads the meeting house is brown sign-posted, Pales. There will be a talk about The Pales. There will also be activities for children, which will include a treasure trail, painting, pond dipping and gardening in the vegetable plots, under parental supervision. Free cream teas and cakes, with voluntary contributions for the upkeep of this spiritual place. There will be no charge for entry.

Tour of the Ruins of Snodhill Castle

Saturday 27 May & Saturday 3 June – Depart from Hay school car park at 10am, 1pm & 4pm

Cost £10 per person - includes free transport via minibus from Hay school car park
Please note the site is hilly and not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs. Suitable footwear and weatherproof clothing recommended. There is no parking at the site. To book a place please contact the Snodhill Castle Preservation Trust on info@snodhillcastle.org or telephone 01981 550 836.

Snodhill Castle is a hidden gem; a fascinating and complex historic site possibly originating as an Iron age fort but today dominated by the ruined remains of a Norman Castle built around 1068 by William Fitz Osbern: 1st Earl of Hereford. It is one of the largest Norman Castles in the UK; has a unique 12 sided tower keep with twin turreted gatehouse, a massive North tower, bizarre SE bastion, unusual and extensive earthworks and many mysteries and oddities. This year Historic England has funded major repairs to the Castle, visitors will not only have a detailed guided tour of this fascinating site but will also be able to see conservation works in progress.

Farm Walks

Join local vet Barney Sampson and agronomist Jonathon Harrington as they explore farms in the local area. On the day please wear walking boots or Wellingtons and waterproof clothing in case of inclement weather. These are visits to real working farms and are suitable for anyone interested in learning about food and farming. Families are welcome but children must be supervised at all times.

These walks are booked through the Hay Festival Box office in the normal way, here online (follow links below) or by phone on 01497 822 629. Meet at Festival Box Office at 9am. Coaches will return to the festival site at around 1pm.

Trevithel Court Farm
Monday 29 May 9am £13.30

David and Catherine James’ cider orchards are carefully managed to produce a range of cider apples for Bulmers and Gaymers for their premium brands, some of which will be available for tasting. In a happily synergistic relationship with a local beekeeper, the trees are pollinated by bees, the nectar making delicious honey. Look inside the beehives and learn how bees make honey and store it for the winter. Book here.
Sponsored by Hay Veterinary Group

Maesllwch Farm
Wednesday 31 May 9am £13.30

Visit Andrew and Rachel Giles’ farm to see how their herd of dairy cows produce most of their milk from grass. Visitors can enter the milking parlour and help to milk some of the cows, as well as see the young calves. Learn how the cows are fed and find out how their four stomachs enable them to digest grass. Samples of dairy products will be provided for tasting and a cheese maker will demonstrate their craft. A minimum age of eight years is required to take part in this walk. Book here.
Sponsored by Hay Veterinary Group

Brobury Farm
Friday 2 June 9am £13.30

Charlie and David Blandford’s farm lies alongside the River Wye, in the heart of Kilvert country, and produces top quality lamb and arable crops. Our visit includes a walk of up to a mile followed by demonstrations of working sheep-dogs, sheep shearing and wool spinning. There will also be the opportunity to taste lamb that has been produced on the farm. Book here.
Sponsored by Hay Veterinary Group

Additional Walks

Hay Ho! Bus Walk

Bank Holiday Monday 29 May Adult £8.00, Child £4.00 (includes bus fare)
11.15am to 3.30pm - Meet at Hay Castle Bus Stop, Oxford Road

Join local walking guidebook authors Les Lumsdon and Mike Ledlie on a beautiful walk in the Welsh Borders. Catch the 11.25 Hay Ho! bus, alight in England and walk back to Hay via Walkers Cottage and Clifford Church. Learn a little about local history and the story of Hay Ho! along the way.

Easy walking with gentle climbs, five miles, several stiles; no dogs (except guide dogs). Walk ends in Hay at 3.30pm.

See www.droverholidays.co.uk for details and booking or ring 01497 821 134.


Guided walking tours of Hay-on-Wye during Hay Festival 2017.

The local organisation Hay Tours run guided walking tours around the town with information on people, places and past events in the history of the town. They aim to provide a colourful overview of Hay and its cultural heritage. They are designed to be short, entertaining and fun.

Explore Hay’s Old Railway

Saturday 27 May 10am–12pm, Meet at Cheese Market, £6

The railway formed an important part of life in Hay for more than 100 years, preceded by a horse-drawn tram that followed the same route from Brecon to Kington. An exact replica model of the railway was recently discovered and restored by members of Hay History Group. The tour begins with a demonstration of the working model before heading across town to follow the route of the railway line from Hay Station to The Warren. This scenic walk of about three miles is mostly flat and incorporates town pavements and farmland footpaths with some stiles. Tour begins and ends in the centre of Hay outside the Cheese Market Hall, Memorial Square, HR3 5AF.

Hay Heritage Trail

Monday 29 May 10am–12pm, Meet at Cheese Market, £6

This tour takes in all the main historic features of Hay, including the Cheese and Butter Markets, some of the town’s former public wells and many of its pubs (there used to be 40 inns in Hay back in the good old days). It also covers the three gateways to the original medieval walled town, Hay Castle, and the place where people would ford the River Wye before the first bridge was built in 1763. Tour begins and ends in the centre of Hay outside the Cheese Market Hall, Memorial Square, HR3 5AF.

Hay Bookshop Tour

Wednesday 31 May 3pm–4pm, Meet at Cheese Market, £6

A tour covering the history of the bookshops of Hay, telling the story of the development of the book trade in the town. You will also learn about the history of many of the buildings, often architectural gems, that house the bookshops. Tour begins and ends outside the Cheese Market Hall, Memorial Square, HR3 5AF, in the centre of Hay.

Armstrong Murder Trail

Friday 2 June 2pm–4pm, Meet at Hay Clock Tower, £6

Major Herbert Rowse Armstrong was the only solicitor in the UK ever to be hanged, on 31 May 1922. He was convicted of murdering his wife with arsenic. He worked in Hay and lived in Cusop. This two-mile walk takes in the relevant sites to explain the story of the events. The walk leader will suggest that Major Armstrong should not have been convicted upon the basis of the evidence given at his trial. Walk begins at the Clock Tower, Broad Street, HR3 5BU and ends at Cusop Church, with an optional group walk back into Hay.

Eliza Trail

Sunday 4 June 10am–11.30am, Meet at Cheese Market, Adults £6, Children under 16 £3

This tour tells the story of Eliza, a Victorian schoolgirl who loses her little white dog, Moss, on Market Day. In chasing around town after the dog, she follows a trail that reveals some interesting facts about Hay’s past. The story is brought to life with archive photographs and illustrated characters contained within a booklet for you to keep. Tour begins and ends at the Cheese Market Hall, Memorial Square, HR3 5AF.

Further Information

Tickets and Booking: We strongly recommend booking tour places in advance via haytours.org, or by calling Alan Nicholls on 01497 822 722.

Maximum group size is 16 for all walks listed above. We aim to leave promptly at the given start time. Please aim to arrive a few minutes early to ensure tours can leave on time. All the Hay Tours walks are designed to be strolls around the streets of Hay and immediate environs. These are not hikes, so are suitable to all ages and fitness levels. Children are welcome if accompanied by an adult. Dogs welcome too, if kept on a lead. The tours will go ahead in poor weather unless conditions are exceptionally adverse. Tour guides reserve the right to turn away latecomers or those without an advance booking.

Who We Are

Hay Tours is a community enterprise managed by Hay History Group hayhistorygroup.co.uk. We work to promote the cultural heritage of Hay-on-Wye, by offering friendly, informative guided tours of Hay and the immediate vicinity. All profits are put back into the organisation to cover its costs and ensure future sustainability. Our tour guides are trained local volunteers who enjoy bringing the heritage of Hay to life. The town has a fascinating history, much of which can be uncovered just by walking along the main streets.