Join a Guided Brecon Beacons Tour or hike with Scenery Explained Wales

Tourists and residents alike are being offered a new opportunity to see and understand the best sights of the Brecon Beacons National Park.  Scenery Explained Wales was launched earlier this month, and is a spin-off from the already established GeoWorld Travel, which continues to offer longer Welsh holidays, International holidays and Polar Expeditions.

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There are five new Day Tours to choose from, which have scheduled departures from Brecon, Abergavenny, Hay-on-Wye and Llandovery, and are timed to tie in with public transport to and from the National Park. All tours cost £40 per person and include a luxury home-made picnic lunch.

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The tours are led by geologist James Creswell whose family have lived in the National Park for generations. James is also a Mountain Leader, a National Park, a Geopark and Dark Skies Ambassador, and has 9 years experience as a Polar Expedition Guide.

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Tour 1: Mountains, Monks and Books, takes place on a Saturday, and using the train is possible to do as a day trip from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol or Cardiff. In fact last weekend a customer flew in from Singapore and joined the tour. She touched down at Heathrow at 5 am and by 10 am was in Abergavenny starting the tour. This tour includes Llanthony Priory, Lord Hereford’s Knob, Hay-on-Wye, Pwll-y-Wrach and Talgarth Mill. It starts from either Brecon or Abergavenny.

Tour 2: A World of Heritage, takes place on a Sunday and using the train can be done as a day trip from Bristol or Cardiff. A highlight of the tour is includes the Blaenavon Ironworks, part of the World Heritage Site, where James’s great great grandfather used to be the general manager. Other stops include Llangorse Lake, Tretower Court and the Big Pit. This tour starts in Hay, Brecon or Abergavenny.

Tour 3: Classic Beacons and Historic Brecon, takes place on a Monday and can be done as a day trip from Cardiff using the T4 bus. This tour examines the history of Brecon including its link to the Zulu War, the Roman Fort and the stunning scenery of the Beacons themselves. This tour starts in Hay or Brecon.

Tour 4: Waterfall Country, takes place on a Tuesday and can be done as a day trip from Cardiff using the T4 bus. The tour visits 4 of the most scenic waterfalls with just a small amount of walking involved. The tour also explains the geology of the the Fforest Fawr Geopark and visits caves and stunning views. Two weeks ago  two people from Suffolk joined this tour, and were Scenery Explained Wales’ first customers. This tour starts in Hay or Brecon.

Tour 5: Castles and Legends, takes place on a Wednesday and can be done as a day trip from Cardiff using the T4 bus or from stations along the Heart of Wales Railway line. Set in the far west of the park the tour visits Carreg Cennan Castle, Garn Goch hill fort and either the Red Kite feeding station or Llyn y Fan Fach depending on weather conditions. This tour starts in Hay, Brecon or Llandovery.

If you want to book a Day Tour exclusively for your group this is no problem, and a Day Tour can be booked as a Private Tour for £160 per day. If you are particularly interested in Geology and Scenery then why not join a more specialised Scenery Explained private tour or a guided hike. The maximum size for Private tours and hikes is seven people if using my vehicle, however if you provide the vehicle large groups can be accommodated.

For more information or to book your tour or hike visit Scenery Explained Wales Website or email james@sceneryexplained.wales or phone 01497 847988

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Craig y Nos Circular Walk

Craig y Nos Circular Walk – A taste of the Tawe.

 With lakes, ponds and big valley views, this circular walk at Craig y Nos is short but sweet. You’ll be crossing rivers via stepping stones and passing the National Showcaves Centre for Wales at Dan-yr-Ogof – a real rock star.

Need to know
Length: 2½ miles (4km)

Time: Around 1¼ hours (add another 2 hours if visiting the National Showcaves Centre)
Start and finish: Car park at Craig-y-Nos Country Park, Abercraf
OS map ref: SO 840156
OS map: OL12 Explorer (1:25 000 series)
Facilities: Refreshments, visitor information and toilets at Craig-y-Nos Country Park

Along the way
Craig-y-Nos Country Park

A lush 40 acres (16ha) of riverbanks, lakes, woodland and meadows, the park was once the ornamental grounds and ‘pleasure gardens’ of nearby Craig-y-Nos Castle. The park is a haven for walkers, wildlife spotters and picnickers. The castle, an imposing 19th-century ‘sham’ in typical high Victorian style, was the home of international opera star Madame Adelina Patti, who lived here for 40 years up to her death in 1919. It’s now a hotel and popular venue for weddings.
This subterranean marvel is part of one of the largest cave systems in Europe, stretching for at least 11 miles (17km) beneath the Brecon Beacons. All the classic features of the action of water on limestone rock are here, from vast underground chambers to delicate stalagmites and stalactites. Three separate cave experiences are available – the main showcaves complex, the Cathedral Cave named after its epic central feature, the 13m-high ‘Dome of St Paul’s’, and the archaeologically inspired Bone Cave. Dan-yr-Ogof is one of Wales’s prime family attractions with entertainment above ground too at its Bronze Age village, Shire horse centre and dinosaur park.
St Callwen’s Church
Though the church itself is a simple building, the churchyard is home to a few interesting memorials. One honours local people who risked their lives searching for the crew of a plane that crashed nearby in the winter of 1939. You’ll also find the grave of Morgan Morgan, a local farmer and industrialist who sold the land for Craig-y-Nos Castle to Adelina Patti. Two of his grandsons were the first to explore Dan-yr-Ogof caves by coracle and candlelight in 1912.

For a full route description, please click here.

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Week til the Royal Welsh Show kicks off

The Royal Welsh Show opens its gates in less than a week, if you’re thinking of visiting here’s what you need to know.

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With less than a weeks to go, plans for the pinnacle event in the British agricultural calendar, the Royal Welsh Show, are well underway.  The Royal Welsh draws hundreds of thousands of people to Llanelwedd every year and 2015 is set to be another fanatic event.

Visitors to the show can enjoy the best of Welsh Livestock, the finest produce from across Wales along with an action packed programme of entertainment.

The show also offers horticulture, crafts, daredevil attractions and a sports village.

The 4 day event takes place in Llanlwedd, Builth Wells, the 3rd week in July.  It takes place Monday 20th to Thursday 23rd July.

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Each year the Royal Welsh Show attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the heart of mid-Wales to come together and celebrate the very best of Welsh and British agriculture.

Full programme can be found here.

To find out whats on every day download our App here

For the first time, you will be able to book discounted tickets online and beat the queues.  tickets should be pre-ordered before midnight on Sunday 19th July.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Find local accommodation here

Royal Welsh Show App – is now available to download – maps, attractions, competitions and results.

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Gardening stars come out to party 

The Gardening Event of the Year is almost upon so make sure you have a ticket to this spectacular horticulture happening at the National Botanic Garden of Wales on Sunday July 19.

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All your favourite gardening gurus will be on hand and there’s a chance to be in the audience and ask a question on the famous BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time – there will be two recordings of the long-running radio show on the day (at 12.30 and 2pm).

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When they are not on the radio, our horticultural heroes will be around and about solving your gardening problems, and enjoying walks and talks around the Garden.

Whatever your interest or issue, you should find lots in the packed programme of events to make it a day to remember.

You can hear Bob Flowerdew talk about fruit and veg; Pippa Greenwood on pests and diseases; join Terry Walton as he visits our stunning new Conserving Welsh Plants area and James Wong is taking a Welsh Country Walk – so why not join him and others.

Bunny Guinness is focusing on Gardening for Children and taking a look at our Wild Garden; Eric Robson will discuss Planting for Pollinators – which translates as ‘Be Nice to Bees and Butterflies’! – Matt Biggs will take a trip round Wood of the World and Peter Gibbs will be investigating our ground-breaking DNA Barcode project.

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Christine Walkden will be watching our brand new Regency Restoration film Pirates, Plague and Plants for Health which tells the story of the Middleton family, who set up home here where the Botanic Garden now stands, way back in the time of Shakespeare.

In addition to all the garden celebrity folk, we have a fabulous food court, featuring a hog roast, Gower Brewery ales, Gwynt y Ddraig cider and lots more. The nearby plant fair will feature specialist nurseries from all over the region and a FREE compost offer as well as a chance to learn how to use a scythe.

Admission to the event is by ticket only, and tickets are £9.75 and can be booked by calling 01558 667149.

* Members, remember: this event is FREE for you but you still do need a ticket. Remember to bring a valid membership card with you on the day.

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Easy Access Walks around the Brecon Beacons

Whether you fancy a stroll or a walk, here are our easy access routes in the Brecon Beacons

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For families with young children and wheelchair users exploring the Brecon Beacons countryside we have many walks or stretches of walks in country parks, reserves and countryside which are perfect for families with buggies and wheelchair users..

Use the map below to help you pin point where in the park you want to go. All the walks and attractions are numbered to correlate with the map.

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Click here to download the easier access guide map.

These are all the easy access walks – we hope you enjoy.

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Another way to enjoy the less accessible areas of the park is by hiring an electric all terrain ‘Boma 7′ Wheelchair. Which can allow people with limited mobility the freedom to join friends and family on walks across Brecon Beacons National Park, with out the worry of accessibility. For more information and how to hire ‘Boswell the Boma’ please visit here.

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Go on a guided Brecon Beacons adventure with Welsh Overland Safari.

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Welsh Overland Safari is a new independent guide tour company offering unique overland guided tours of some of the most beautiful, unspoilt landscapes in Mid Wales and the Brecon Beacons, one of the UK’s best kept secrets!

The region has a rich and diverse history dating back to well before Roman times, with the opportunity to explore the rugged mountains, lakes, waterfalls and forests of the area.

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Based in Cilmeri, a stone’s throw away from the Brecon Beacons National Park the founder, Richard Davies started Welsh Overland Safari because he wanted to share his passion for the area and share his knowledge with like-minded adventurers.

As well as bespoke tours Welsh Overland Safari offer 4 set tours for up to 8 people; Abergwesyn Pass and Twm Sion Cattis Caves, Cwm Graig to the Brecon Beacons, the grand tour of the Elan Valley and Prince Llewelyn’s last days, with hill forts and castles and Abergwesyn Pass and Cistercian Abbeys to be added to that list shortly.  Find out more about each of the tours and book your place here.

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Although the business only launched in last month Richard has already overseen half a dozen tours and took a couple who won a facebook competition to waterfall country last weekend.

What an amazing experience we had with Welsh Overland Safari. We saw some gorgeous views but the waterfalls were out of this world and to actually walk behind it was fantastic. The walk to and from the falls and the bus journey to the beacons literally every was brilliant and well worth it.” Steve Tompkins, Facebook competition winner.

For more information on Welsh Overland Safari or to book a tour go here or call 01982 552140

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Art, Food & Music Events on in Brecon

Here’s a few things to keep you busy this weekend and next in Brecon.

  • Gwernyfed High School Art Exhibition at Theatr Brycheiniog, The Muse and Brecon Library.

Gwernyfed HS Exhibition

An exhibition across three venues which showcases the work of GCSE, AS and A Level students. Until 17 July. Please contact the venues for opening times.

  • Brecknock Art Society at Brecon Cathedral

Until 22 July 10am – 4.30 daily (after Morning Service on Sundays)

Janet Foster brecknock Art Society

An exhibition of art produced by members of Brecknock Art Society will be on show at Brecon Cathedral. Most of the work is for sale.

  • Brecon Farmers Market – Saturday 11 July

The Farmers Market takes place at Brecon Market Hall this Saturday from 9.30am til 2pmFarmers Market farmers market Raffle

An indoor market full of local food producers bringing you speciality breads, real ales, cider, freshly made tapas, meat, cheese, butter, eggs, cakes, crafts and more. Shop for the best of local foods while local musician John Eyre entertains with a medley of popular songs and if the sight of all this delicious food makes you hungry the Love at First Bake Cafe will also be there with a range of delicious gluten free cakes, savoury muffins and hot and cold drinks. Find out more here.

  • Remembering Amy – Saturday 18th July

The Muse at Brecon

An evening of music dedicated to the life & music of Amy Winehouse at the Muse, Brecon.

8.30pm

£10 admission

Tickets on the door or visit the Facebook event page.

  • Greed The Rock Opera Unplugged – Saturday 18 July

Greed The Rock Opera

A rare chance to see an acoustic version of this ‘activist’ rock opera with original music by Nigel Evans at the Tabernacle, Talgarth

Tickets £3 each available from The Hours cafe & Bookshop, Brecon and The Bakers Table, Talgarth. find out more here or Tel: 07926196714

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