When the sun shines in Wales you can think you’re in heaven.


The health service is not getting semi-privatised.


 Prescriptions are free for everyone, student fees a third of England’s and UKIP hasn’t been heard of.


And you find places like Abergavenny, a market town in the middle farming country and surrounded by mountains.


It’s kept picturesque by its residents who have fought off several big developments such as a supersize Asda and who support their local shops.


And for stick users like me it’s one of the few places you can still limp up a mountain.


Taxis will take you to the start of the track and pick you up afterwards – and you can easily find tracks that are broad and grassy with no stiles.


And if, like me, you don’t attempt the top – which on most mountains usually involves a scramble – you can still sit on a rock with a sandwich and survey a vast panorama of mountains and small towns.


One mountain now has a tea garden at the bottom. Another has a vineyard with a cafe!


I told you it was heaven….


And the locals use their mountains, too.


We joined a huge family party for a picnic in the Black Mountains.


Three ladies well over 70, another in her mid-eighties with two replacement knees, skipped sprightly over streams and up hills to an idyllic spot by a river and a waterfall.


Their love for the mountains keeps them fit!


What’s the lesson for Thanet?


If you walk you stay fit. And the beach is great for walking – sand’s good for falling onto even if your stick sinks in a bit. But what about our green spaces?


Maybe we should campaign to have Thanet mountain – preferably on top of Westwood Cross.


But failing that why don’t we try to put in some walking routes through our countryside that link up with bus routes?


We still have a little bit of woodland, why not plant more?


And have good foot paths which are well sign posted. And rural tea gardens.


We have still got some beautiful green spaces – let’s appreciate them and fight for them while they’re still there!





  1. After a long wet day walking cross the hilltops from Pontypool, it is a joy to stand atop the Blorenege gazing down on Abergavenny. It’s an even greater joy to get there and find that it’s a charming little town full of interesting shops and pubs.

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