"The Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains" Top 5 Page for this destination Brecon Beacons National Park by Spincat
Brecon Beacons National Park Travel Guide: 39 reviews and 84 photos
I spent much of my early childhood in this region - the high wilderness between the Camarthan Van ('the black mountain') in the west, through the Beacons themselves, to the valleys of the Black Mountain range, in the 'border country' to the east. It ruined me for other landscapes for many years: this was 'proper countryside' and everything else paled beside it.
As well as the strange shaped mountains with their rough pasture and high-roaming sheep, there are wonderful remote valleys. Simon Jenkins in a recent Guardian article:
Here the rolling flanks of the Black Mountains shelter narrow defiles and streams with such magic names as Olchon, Honddu and Llynfi. Of these the loneliest and loveliest is the Vale of Ewyas, running a full 12 miles from Llanfihangel north to Hay Bluff. This autumn the vale was resplendent. Beech, ash and elder were coated in leaves of yellow, orange, ochre and brown, flickering in the low sun against a blue sky and turning the valley into a river of foaming gold.
Surfing this river were the churches of the place. The 12th-century Augustines selected Ewyas as remote enough for an abbey at Llanthony (before finding it too remote after all). They left wild Norman outposts at Patrishaw, Llanbedr and, my church of the year, the eccentric Alice-through-the-looking-glass Cwmyoy (or Cwmiou).
A wonderful place for people who like solitude: long walks with startling panoramas, wild ponies, birds of prey, the special silence inside old stone churches, evenings in quiet pubs by the fire. There is also plenty of organised sport - some of it horribly noisy and much of it, to paraphrase a famous quote about golf, 'a good walk ruined'.
The amazing shapes of these mountains - in particular their characteristic 'anvil' shape - come from their geological make-up: the rock called Old Red Sandstone. This also created the terracotta pink soil that you'll see in the valleys - astonishing against the green of the grass and hedgerows.
Carboniferous Limestone and Millstone Grit also make up the ridges and valleys of this land, and the limestone formations to the south of the National Park have created the spectacular Dan yr Ogof caves and wonderful waterfall country.
Pen y Fan, in the Beacons range, rises to 2907 feet and is the highest red sandstone mountain in England and Wales. If climbing here, take care. The slopes look gentle - something to do with their pleasing child-like sweeps and curves - though they are not. Until very recently the SAS used to train here, and men were regularly lost to these mountains.
The region became a National Park in 1957.
For some wonderful pictures and well written infomation about the region, I thoroughly recommend this website . It includes a photographs of the area taken by professional photographer, Nick Jenkins. More of his photographs can be seen, and may be purchased, from this site
Interesting archaeological info at this site
Abergavenny is becoming well known for its food festivals and click here for information about farmers' markets in the Brecon area.
- Pros:Remote, breathtakingly wild and lovely; a vast area to explore within the mountain folds
The Skirrid (Ysgyryd Fawr) is known locally as 'Holy Mountain' and is situated a mile or so from Abergavenny. The... more travel advice
A wild and remote place; a winding and lovely walk or drive along the choppy, sparkling river Honddu. Llanthony Abbey... more travel advice
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