Weekend getaway to Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales
14 October 2017
Considering a weekend getaway? How about beautiful and perhaps often-overlooked Wales, with the Brecon Beacons only two and a half hours’ drive from London on the M4?
This trip was only two days, so we tried to cram in as much as possible of the sights of this beautiful place.
Our group of 6 people stayed in a bungalow in the village of Llandetty, with the Usk river just beyond the back garden. We found the place via Airbnb, and I can definitely recommend it.
On our way down from London we were treated to a sunset sky with a rainbow – I’ve never seen that before, but it looked awesome.
On the first day we set out to climb Pen y Fan, the highest peak in the Beacons at 886m. We chose a slightly longer and more difficult, but also more scenic path from the National Trust Car Park in Cwm Gwdi. There were very few other hikers here, as opposed to the likely much more crowded, but easier, approach on the other side of the mountain via Pont ar Daf.
The weather was very windy and there was a heavy shower as well, but we waited for it to clear and were treated to wonderful views over the area in the after-rain light. We didn’t make it quite to the top of Pen y Fan unfortunately, because some in our group were getting tired from the admittedly harsh conditions, but it was worth the climb anyway.
After a well deserved dinner at the cosy and warm Angel Inn at Pontneddfechan, on our drive back to Llandetty we caught a gorgeous sunset. We got split up though (silly Google Maps!) and the other half of the group even managed to find a spot with wild horses!
On the second day we headed to Brecon, the largest town in the national park, for breakfast and some sightseeing. We walked around the town centre and checked out the cathedral and its gardens, which are rumoured to have inspired Shakespeare when he was writing A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
We made a stop at the Brecon Reservoir too, which isn’t massively interesting in itself but it was nice to stretch our legs and the landscape around it makes you feel a bit like you’re in Scandinavia somewhere. These photos were taken with my phone by the way, so excuse the quality…
Our destination, some waterfalls near Ystradfellte, turned out to be inaccessible by car (unless you walk an extra mile or so from the car park, which we weren’t ready to do in that dodgy weather) so we found another one, the Henrhyd Falls, which is the highest one in South Wales. You can even walk behind it – prepare to get drenched though!
We still had some time to spare in the afternoon before having to head back to London, so we went for a late lunch in Monmouth on the Welsh border. There’s a very old bridge there, a cute little church and churchyard just beyond it, and a pleasant riverside area with several pubs. No photos from there as I didn’t take my camera, but it’s worth a stroll if you’re in the area.
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