Free entry for Grandparents this Sunday at Cantref Adventure Farm 

As a special Thank You gift for all the love and support Grandparents show their families we are giving free entry to Cantref Adventure Farm for Grandparents on Sunday 2nd October to celebrate Grandparents Day!

So why not come and have a relaxing family day out and treat yourself to lunch or a coffee and a delicious piece of homemade cake while marveling at the stunning views of the Brecon Beacons mountains from our farm house cafe.

We have lots of indoor and outdoor play to keep the kids entertained and shows every half an hour throughout the day including Bottle Feeding, Pet Handling, Pig Racing, Tractor Rides and more!

Book your tickets here 

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Dinefwr this Autumn

The autumn months see the Dinefwr parkland explode into a riot of colour with our veteran trees displaying an impressive crown of gold, red and orange leaves.

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We’d recommend you take a stroll on the Capability Brown trail this season. You’ll walk through areas of the medieval deer park, kicking up the rustling leaves before eventually arriving at the natural vista that frames Newton House.

This vista was influenced by the famous landscape designer, Capability Brown after he visited Dinefwr in 1775. It’s a favourite photo spot for our visitors.

Calm down deer, it’s the Rutting season

As you walk through the deer park be sure to look out for the fallow deer rut. At this time of year the big Bucks (males) fight and clash antlers in a bid to attract the females (Does). It really is one of Britain’s most exciting wildlife spectacles.

Bat Walks with our Ranger

Our National Nature Reserve is famous for its abundant wildlife and our Rangers are always happy to show you the best places to go in the parkland.

Perhaps some of hardest to spot with the naked eye are bats but don’t fret, this season you can book yourself onto a Bat Walk with our Ranger. She’ll give you a detector and a torch before heading out to the reserve. [Call our Visitor Centre for information and to book]

Hallowe’en at Dinefwr

Bats are synonymous with Hallowe’en and Spooky goings on. If you dare for a scare this Hallowe’en you may want to head to Newton House. Our 17th century mansion has many a gruesome tale to tell. From shutters closing by themselves to ghostly sightings and stories of death and murder, no wonder it’s thought to be one of the most haunted houses in the UK.

If you’re brave enough you can take a torchlight tour of the House after dark on our History and Hauntings events this October or even spend the night on 29 October.  [Call our Visitor Centre for information and to book].

October Half Term

We’ll have more pumpkins than you can shake a stick at this Half Term so come along and carve yourself a scary face to take home.

Whilst you’re here challenge your family to a conker competition. Thanks to our Horse Chestnut trees we’ll have loads of conkers to choose from so be sure to pick a winner.

For more information on our events call us on 01558 824512 or check our what’s on page on our website.dinefwr.jpg

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What’s on at Brecon Jazz Club this October

Hello everyone – many jazz delights await early next month in mid Wales and beyond!

Brecon Jazz Club will be on Tuesday 11 October at 8pm in the Muse – Gypsy jazz & swing with special guest
We’ll run a bookable pre-supper club at Ty Helyg again from 6.30. It will be another terrific band – Gary Phillips, Bethan Frieze and Robin Hames on guitar, violin and double bass – the ‘Amigos’ Trio and they’ll be joined by our special guest from France, Breton Jean Guyomarc’h of Major Swing. Not to be missed…and may we suggest that you book tickets as we are sometimes getting incredible demand. See website: http://breconjazz.club/wp/tickets

If you want to hear another BJC jazz favourite, Remi Harris, his band are playing at the Carad Theatr, Rhayader on Sat 1 October, 7.30 music starts £12 on the door or in advance. Tel 01584 881 564  Email:yardbirdarts@gmail.com   wwwremiharris.com

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Remi and Jean Guyomarc’h will be playing a joint concert as a quartet (with bass & violin) we’ve co-organised on Thursday 13 October at Acapela, Pentrych (Taffs Well A470 turning) nr Cardiff CF15 9QD. Starts 8pm, tickets £10 from www.acapelaconcerts.com or on the door.

So notes in diaries/calendars please and see you soon!

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Best 30 Country House Hotels in the UK

The Brecon Beacons very own Gliffaes Hotel AND Llangoed Hall have both been picked for The Telegraph’ Best 30 Country House Hotels in the UK!  They have made it to the cream of the crop, and autumn, when you want to be cossetted but it’s still clement enough to enjoy the great outdoors, is the perfect time to enjoy them.

Here is what the article said: 

Gliffaes Country House Hotel
Brecon Beacons, WalesGliffaes Country House Hotel, Brecon Beacons, Wales

9/10- Telegraph expert rating

What’s not to love? Down a rural track, Gliffaes reclines peacefully in 33-acre grounds in the shadow of the Black Mountains and on the edge of the River Usk. With antique dressers, floral drapes, retro Roberts radios, and carpets you can sink your toes into, the look is traditionally elegant, never twee. Excellent restaurant. Read expert review

Llangoed Hall
Powys, WalesLlangoed Hall hotel, Wye Valley, Powys, Wales

9/10- Telegraph expert rating

The house itself, redesigned by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1912, has great presence. Later bought and restored by Sir Bernard Ashley, widower of Laura, family photographs, as well as his fine collection of early 20th century British paintings, including a collection of prints by James McNeil Whistler abound. Guests are encouraged to relax, curl up on sofas and play the piano. Read expert review
A big well done to both!

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Guide to Llandovery Sheep Festival

Started 7 years ago to celebrate the Drover heritage of the lovely Georgian market town of Llandovery, the annual Sheep Festival has gone from strength to strength and now attracts over 5000 visitors to town to join in with this fun-filled weekend, literally brimming with attractions and entertainment for all the family.  The festival takes place over the weekend of 24th and 25th September.  Read more about the town of Llandovery in our town guide here

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The full weekend programme can be found here, our guide to this year’s highlights are as follows:

The Food Theatre with live chefs cooking tasty local produce and masterclasses will be on all weekend and celebrates the very best of Welsh chefs and cooks. Local Chef Roger Stevens will be demonstrating delicious dish made with local lamb, and a lucky member of the audience will be selected to sit at the “Chef’s Table” to sample the dish as it is served!

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From Llandovery’s Twin Town of Pluguffan in France,  Jean-Marc Reinert will be holding two demonstrations, and will be cooking a shoulder of local lamb Bretonne style.

Returning by popular demand, discover some secrets of handmade artisan chocolate making from local Chocolatier Jules James of Black Mountain Gold.

Also in the Demonstration Theatre we are delighted to welcome Penny from Top Tier Cakes will show you the best ways to decorate cup cakes, and will invite children to have a go! find the full Food Theatre programme here.

Attend one of the many live music events taking place all over town – find out more here.

Go on Dr Grimoire’s Dark Tour of Llandovery

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Take a tour around Llandovery’s Peculiar Past in the company of magician & “horrible historian” Dr Nicolas Grimoire- a Carmarthen based magician who specialises in combining story telling with mind reading and illusions.

Once described as “Nest of Devils and a Den of Thieves” the town has tales to tell of Roman Invaders, a butler who went bonkers and murdered his master, a terrifying coach crash and the horrific execution of a Welsh hero.

With ghastly ghosts, daring drovers and much more beside, Dastardly Discoveries – a weird history of Llandovery lasts an hour & departs twice daily.  Find out more here.  Meet outside the Tourist Info Centre.

Go on the Drovers’ Walk on Sunday morning led by Llandovery Walkers are Welcome meeting at Llandovery Station to car share at 9.00 am. The walk is 8km, 3hrs.

This is a walk which will take you over the plateau of Mynydd Mallaen, across which the Drovers of old would drive their cattle on their way from West Wales to the gathering point at Llandovery, where their beasts would be gathered into large herds before facing the long trek to the markets of London. The Drovers would keep as much as possible to these ancient pathways in order to avoid paying the tolls levied at the toll-gates of the roads below which followed a much more gentle route.  Find out more here.

There will be loads of stalls with woollen handicrafts, and local produce; a Fleece to Shoulder shearing to finished garment demonstrations; spinning, needle-felting and wool-related rural skills being shown all weekend; science displays where you can make and launch your own rocket, and handle meteorites & dinosaur fossils; and introducing the amazing Joseph Peace Fire Stunt Spectacular which is a highly original show, blending amazing fire stunts with comedy and audience response in a fusion of modern circus and pantomime fun!  You can catch Joe’s flaming entertainment on Saturday at 11am and 1.30pm, then on Sunday at 11am and 2pm.

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The whole town joins in with performances on Saturday from local children singing & dancing, and Children’s Hour entertainment from S4C’s favourite Martyn Geraint at 2pm, and music throughout both days.  The traditional sounds of Llandovery Male Voice Choir and Llandeilo Ukulele Band start off Saturday’s musical fun, and build up to Saturday’s excitement which is topped with the exciting Drovers’ Derby – a series of sheep races with an athletic ovine flock who have been training for weeks.  This sheep-tastic event is thoroughly enjoyable, and you can take a £1 flutter on your favourite sheep & jockey!

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After all this excitement, the party then continues in the Market Square with an outdoor bar and live music from Tony Royale with his own brand of cheesy pop, The Jazzabelles as jazzy songsters, and bluesy rock ‘n roll with seasoned crowd pleasers, Junior Hacksaw.  There is also music elsewhere throughout town, with a Cider Festival at The Castle, The Krays playing at The Blue Bell, and Llandovery’s own Aunty Depressants playing at The White Hall.

Sunday has a more relaxed atmosphere with an invitation to Brunch of a bacon bap from a local food stand, whilst listening to the folky bluegrass sounds of Pigs Foot String Band and accordion/violin duo Fiddlebox.  In the afternoon, Poetry Hour will showcase three local poets, and you can join one of Dr Grimoire’s Dark Tours of Llandovery, which casts light on Llandovery’s murky past with a theatrical tour of past misdeeds.

Kids can be more energetic with an amazing climbing wall with three difficulties, a round of Crazy Golf, or there’s always the best rides at the fun fair that will be on Castle Field all weekend.climbing-wall

Also on Sunday, teams can participate in the extreme sport of the Woolsack Race where they compete to grapple with and carry a wool sack in the fastest speed through town! NEW for 2016 is a Junior Woolsack Race, for children aged 14 & under.  It’s a great spectator sport but Woolsack Race Team sizes are 4-6 people for the Woolsack Race & 2-4 children for the Junior Race and Teams can register on the day or by emailing info@llandoverysheepfestival.co.uk

woolsack

Running alongside the festival are the Llandovery YFC Sheepdog Trials all day Saturday which start at 7.30am, and the fascinating National Rare Coloured Breeds Sheep Auction on the Sunday that draws buyers from all over the UK.  Both complimentary events welcome visitors and offer unique insights to the life and differing rural skills of the local farmers.

So, there is enough to fill your whole weekend at Llandovery! For the Sheep Festival, there is an entry charge of £5 for adults to the Castle Field events, and children are free.  Most of the activities over the weekend in the Field are free, and if you attend both Saturday and Sunday, then your Sunday entry will be just £2.50!

For the full programme and full details of this friendly fun festival, click here or please visit www.llandoverysheepfestival.co.uk –  pick up a programme in town this weekend!

 

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Best Autumn Walks in the Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons comes alive in the autumn, with crisp leaves and roaring open fires in cosy inns and pubs. Head outdoors and go for a rejuvenating walk in many of the breathtaking spots in the Brecon Beacons.

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Matt Bottwood-Central Beacons

Woodland Walks-The Brecon Beacons has some great nature reserves and woodlands that look their best in the autumn. Why not make an afternoon of it and call in one of our pubs or cafes after your walk for a deserved drink or meal.

1. Pwll-yr-Wrach Reserve

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Pwll y Wrach Visit Wales

The Black Mountains town of Talgarth is an excellent centre for nature-lovers, with superb woods where you can see bluebells, wood anemones and wild garlic in spring. The Brecknock Wildlife Trust’s Pwll-yr-Wrach Reserve is a beautiful spot to visit. Click here to find out more.

 

2. Priory Groves, Brecon
Priory Groves is located next to Brecon Cathedral  is a mixed woodland, bordering the Honddu river, with oak, beech, hazel and alder trees. Whatever the time of year there are always some birds to see. While you are near the river, look out for dippers at any time of year, and grey wagtails in summer. In spring and early summer there is a good display of wild flowers. Click here to find out more.

3. Cwm Oergwm Nature Reserve
Cwm Oergwn nature reserve consists of a narrow band of woodland with glades, that extends for almost a mile along the steep eastern bank of the Menasgin stream.  Click here to find out more.

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Cwm Oergwm Nature Reserve Brecknock Wildlife Trust

 

4. Taf Fechan Forest Walk
This is an excellent sheltered spot for wildlife including birds & dragonflies and is a great getaway on an autumn day. This is an isolated, but scenic spot in the middle of a forested valley. A short ramp with a gradient of 1:4 leads onto the boardwalk.

How to get there: This is an isolated spot on a minor road, 5km north of Pontsticill – follow the signs for Talybont-on-Usk. The board walk is just past the Ystradgynwyn tea rooms and holiday cottages (CF48 2UT) and are clearly visible on your left hand side.
Info here

5. Dinefwr Castle

John Hammand Dinefwr

John Hammond

 

This ruined medieval Welsh castle stands upon a high wooded ridge above the meandering River Towy, just west of our National Park.

Dinefwr Castle is thought to have been founded in the later 12th century by Lord Rhys ap Gruffudd and remodelled by Edward I in the 13th century. The visible remains date from the 13th and earlier 14th centuries.  Take a long stroll around the parkland and make sure you look out for their legendary herd of white park cattle. Find out more here

More Autumn Walks include….

6. Pontneddfechan Waterfall Walk
Golden woodland, scenic gorges and – yes – waterfalls abound on this Brecon Beacons walk. Starting and finishing at the town of Pontneddfechan, the walk is 12 miles long, so leave plenty of time to get back before sunset. Highlights include the bubbling cascades of Sgwd yr Eira, Nedd Fechan and Sgwd Ddwli. Take care on the slippy paths.


7.
National Botanic Gardens of Wales
At the National Botanic Garden in Wales, the wooded valley of Pont Felin Gat displays ancient woodland flowers and culminates in a dramatic waterfall built 200 years ago. A leisurely stroll through Pont Felin Gat can be done in about 90 minutes or less. In autumn the woodland floor comes alive with fruiting bodies of fungi, some recorded nowhere else in Wales.

If you’re still yearning for more scenery, take in the rest of the Botanic Garden, housed in the 568-acre historic Middleton Hall estate. Walled gardens, formal borders, endless varieties of flora, and a garden café provide a colourful day out. Route info here.

CC-Attribution (BY)-garden

8. Llangorse Lake
The lake in Llangorse is enchanting at any time of the year. Not only famous for its coarse fishing and watersports – what makes this place even more unique, is the fact that it’s home to the only example of a crannog in Wales and England. Watch out for the colourful dragonflies and damselflies as they patrol their territory, hunting down flying insects on the wing like miniature flying aces. More here.

9. Brecon Canal
The Brecon Canal towpath enchants autumn walkers. Still canal waters reflect jewelled leaves of red and gold. Bright painted boats pass aqueducts and bridges, and the wild and rural Brecon Beacons cast a storybook glow upon the towpath walk. The 35 mile canal towpath begins in Brecon and traverses the Usk Valley through villages, under bridges and across an aqueduct until it rambles into Five Locks in Cwmbran. Trees and wildflowers line the path, making it a haven for birds and butterflies. It’s a mild and easy walk, so take it in small sections depending upon how much time you have. Be sure to stop along the way to sample a local pub.

Brecon Canal Autumn scene

An autumn view of the Brecon to Monmouth Canal at Llangynidr, Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, United Kingdom

10. Wye Valley Walk-near the Brecon Beacons
With Wordsworth’s poetry as your muse, a walk through the picturesque Wye Valley will rejuvenate your senses. The 136 mile Wye Valley Walk starts at Chepstow Castle and passes through meadows, woodland, orchards, hills, mountains and moorland before it ends at Hafren Forest. If you’re adventurous and fit, try a twelve-day trip and complete the whole walk. You can camp along the way or book a restful night at one of the many guesthouses en route. An interactive map of the walk with accommodations and services is available at wyevalleywalk.org.

For shorter excursions, linear and loop walks are available, offering less challenging terrain with the same views. The Chepstow Riverside Walk can be done in about 30 minutes and is a great option with easy access for all types of travellers.

11. Craig y Nos Country Park

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Situated in a dramatic and romantic location in the secluded upper Swansea Valley, Craig-y-nos Country Park is a 40-acre Victorian garden with shady woodlands, meadows, ponds, lazy lawns and rushing rivers. Find out more here

12. Cyfarthfa Castle and Gardens

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Cyfartha Castle and Gardens

 

Built in 1824, Cyfarthfa Castle Museum and Art Gallery – described as the most impressive monument of the Industrial Iron Age in South Wales – was once home to Ironmaster William Crawshay II and his family.  It is set in 160 acres of parkland, which are free to wander around and have spectacular views of the Brecon Beacons

The park has something for everyone, from relaxing sensory gardens and woodland walks, to an exciting state-of-the-art Splash Pad and Playground.

The woodland walks and nature rambles are accessible and will introduce you to the variety of animal, bird and plant species that make Cyfarthfa Park so special.

Find out more here.

Pick your favourites from more of our walking itineraries here.

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Things you must do at Abergavenny Food Festival

Abergavenny’s weekend-long festival of food, drink and foraging already has an excellent reputation and, like good wine, it gets better every year. Expect beautifully stocked stalls, demos, talks and fascinating activities such as guided wild food walks. The programme also includes masterclasses from top chefs and food writers including some of Wales’ finest culinary stars. Even the decor – different each year – is a feast for the eyes. According to Observer Food Monthly, “Abergavenny is to food as Cannes is to film – an annual festival for spotting rising stars in Britain’s artisan food firmament.” Here our some of our top picks from this years programme.

Go Foraging with Adele Nozedar: One Thousand Footsteps Forage

When? Sat, 17 Sep 2016, 09:45 to 12:30
Where? Please meet at Abergavenny Bus Station, at the bottom of Cross Street, 15 minutes prior to the start of the forage.  
How Much? £15

 

Adele Nozedar of Brecon Beacons Foraging will lead a forage based on her ‘One Thousand Footsteps’ menu, using ingredients, both wild and cultivated, from within a mile of her front door. The One Thousand Footsteps concept is not just about food, but an approach to living which continually challenges your resourcefulness.

Bring along suitable footwear for exploring the countryside and clothing for all weathers, just in case!

Try Seaweed Gin at the Gin Palace

Award-winning farmhouse distillery, Dà Mhìle’sDà Mhìle’s latest masterpiece fresh from the still!  Made in West Wales, this seaweed gin is produced with a cut-down, hand selected variant of botanicals added to their small batch gin.  Designed to complement seafood, it is infused with handpicked seaweed from the Celtic coast, giving it a lovely light green hue.

Get a sneak preview of MasterChef Monica Galetti’ book; ‘The Skills’

When? Fri, 16 Sep 2016 19:30
Where? Borough theatre
How much? £15
 

MasterChef: The Professionals presenter, Monica Galetti will talk exclusively to food critic, William Sitwell about her new cookbook, ‘The Skills’. The book will be released on 6 October so this is your chance to get a sneak preview and hear about the inspiration behind it.

Senior sous chef at two Michelin star Le Gavroche until 2015, Monica is now a MasterChef: The Professionals presenter and has published several successful cookbooks.
This event will be followed by a book signing.

Book deal
Two event tickets and copy of the Skills cook book £42.50
One event ticket and copy of the Skills cook book £30

Get some tips from Great British Bake off Builder-Richard Burr

When? Sat, 17 Sep 2016-12:00 to 13:00
Where? Masonic Hall
How Much? £9


Great British Bake Off builder turned baker, Richard Burr will give you the essential toolkit on how to be a star baker with recipes from his debut cookbook, Bake it Yourself.

Born and raised in North London, Richard was a finalist on The Great British Bake Off 2014, having won the Star Baker accolade a record five times. Richard is a fourth-generation builder who specializes in bricklaying and plastering. He recently graduated with a BSc in Biodiversity & Conservation.

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