In 1998 a group of us walked round Wales visiting all the Cistercian abbey sites, medieval and modern, as part of the celebrations for the 900th anniversary of the founding of the Cistercian order. It was an amazing experience. The Cistercians were the order of choice in medieval Wales – everyone who was anyone wanted to found or sponsor a Cistercian abbey. So a journey round the abbeys is a walk through the heart of Wales and through the whole of Welsh history from Neolithic burial mounds to modern industrial archaeology. We tried to use medieval trackways and pilgrimage routes where we could, but we also tried to take in our other histories as well.
Since then, we have been thinking of working on the route and making it into a permanent long-distance heritage footpath. We walked it again in 2005 and set up a web site. Wales now has the Coast Path but there is clearly room for a circular route that goes inland to link more of our historic sites. With help from the Welsh Government, Visit Wales and the Churches Tourism Network I am revising the route and working on a new web site. This went live at the National Eisteddfod in 2016 – www.cistercianway.wales and www.fforddysistersiaid.cymru.This is work in progress and there is a separate blog with updates at https://cistercianway.wordpress.com .