HAY-ON-WYE is special – according to a National Trust survey that ranks it as one of the top ten ‘special places’ in Wales.
And some of the town’s most vocal supporters have come out in support of its bid to be named number one.
Hay Festival director, Peter Florence, said: “We've got the Black Mountains, the Wye, the castle, the bookshops and the festival, and umpteen vintage treasures, but the most special thing about Hay is the people.
“It's a happy, easy community which welcomes friends and families and knows how to throw a party.”
His thoughts were echoed by Elizabeth Haycox, an American who moved to the border town and now owns the famous Richard Booth Bookshop – formerly ran by its namesake, the self-proclaimed King of Hay.
She said: “Anyone that visits is bitten by the Hay Bug for life.
“We’ve worked so hard to make it a special place for all to enjoy – it’s the mixture of people and place that makes it.”
The book capital of the country, Hay holds a special affinity for radio and television’s Roy Noble.
He said: “It is quite, quite unique.
“It is an iconic magnet of books and literature that is recognised by all lovers of the written word, the spoken word, the thinker, the roaming muser and the teller of tales.”
The town faces stiff competition from some Wales’ most spectacular landscapes, from the Gower to the nearby Brecon Beacons, to treasured local landmarks like Penarth Pier or Llanfyllin’s Lonely Tree.
Over the past six weeks voting at National Trust venues has seen visitors vote for their personal as part of the charity’s Special Places campaign.
Now in its final stages, Hay residents are being encouraged to back their town by voting at the Richard Booth Bookshop by next Thursday (July 31), or online before August 3.
Special Places spokesman and travel expert Simon Calder said: “This fascinating shortlist demonstrates the joyful diversity of Wales.
"I can’t wait to see if traditional seaside locations, Penarth Pier and Tenby, are trumped by the nation’s outstanding natural beauty – or whether the works of man will prevail.”
To vote for your Special Place, and to view the rest of the shortlist, visit http://on.fb.me/1nJMU6f .