Walks out West

Walks Out West

May is National Walking Month and Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark are encouraging everyone to get outdoors and discover the western half of the Brecon Beacons National Park. There are plenty of short rambles over low ground, hillforts with impressive views or longer hikes if you want to make a day of it. With walks to suit all abilities get your walking boots on and discover the Fforest Fawr Geopark. Here are a few ideas for places to go and what there is to see in May.

Bluebells in bloom

All over the National Park the bluebells are blooming. At Castle Woods at Dinefwr Park and Castle near Llandeilo, walk through the woodland carpeting with lilac flowers, to the castle at the top for 360 views of the Wales. In Brecon visit Priory Groves next to the Cathedral, a mixed woodland full of bluebells and wildflowers.

Craig-y-nos Country Park

This Registered Historic Park and Garden in the Upper Swansea Valley has plenty of short walks through woodlands, meadows, past rivers and fishponds. Plan a visit for Wednesday 29th May and join in the fun of GeoFest Family Activity Day. Perfect for a family day out, try canoeing, stone-carving or the popular zip wire. All activities are free.

Cribarth Geotrail

Head up a steep ascent to the rocky slopes of Cribarth, a spectacular hill rising above Craig-y-nos Country Park in the upper Swansea Valley (Cwm Tawe). The 3.25mile walking trail visits the remains of a quarry, limestone crags and unfinished sections of 19th century industrial tramroads. Views of the Tawe Valley and Fan Gyhirch make it a better option for a clear day!

Discover a National Nature Reserve

Near Pen-y-cae at 350m above sea level is the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu Nature Reserve. Herb-rich grasslands grow on the limestone and there are views across South Wales and the Brecon Beacons. For a gentle, easy walk you can follow the old railway line along the side of the valley or walk to the heart of the reserve following the old tramway. Or wander Craig Cerrig-gleisiad a Fan Frynych National Nature Reserve near Storey Arms. A short walk leads you to an atmospheric natural amphitheatre created by the soaring, craggy cliffs. Take binoculars to spot some of the many birds that use the reserve and arctic-alpine plants that live on the craggy northern slopes.

Head for the mountains

With three mountain ranges in the Fforest Fawr Geopark, there are more options for a summit hike than just Pen y Fan. In the centre of the Geopark is the Fforest Fawr Massif, with the peaks of Fan Fawr and Fan Frynych. Far out west is the more remote Black Mountain range with magical glacial lakes and spectacular views, especially from the summit of Fan Brycheiniog. Take a day, plan your route and get to know the wilder west of the Park.

Hike a hillfort

Garn Goch Hill Fort, Photo by Anthony Pease

The western half of the Brecon Beacons National Park has many Iron Age Hillforts. The shorter walks can be done in under two hours and suitable for less experienced walkers. Pen-y-Crug, just above Brecon, has impressive archaeological remains and breath-taking views of the Central Beacons. Twyn y Gaer is a short walk across Mynydd Illtud Common from the National Park Visitor Centre at Libanus. And Garn Goch, located between Llangadog and Llandeilo, is one of the largest Iron Age forts in Wales.

Plan your walking adventure at breconbeacons.org and tag @fforestfawrgeopark in your photos.E

About the Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark

The Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark is a geologically significant part of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales. It covers the western half of the Park, from Llandovery in the north to Merthyr Tydfil in the south and from Llandeilo in the west to Brecon in the east. The purpose of the Geopark is to generate social, environmental and economic benefits. The Geopark is currently participating in a project to create a European Atlantic Geotourism Route which aims to support the development of Geotourism in a number of destinations through the UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme.

www.breconbeacons.org/fforest-fawr-geopark

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Get Your Taste Buds Tingling With Black Mountains Smokery

Black Mountains Smokery have some great serving suggestions which will get your taste buds tingling and some foodie gift ideas for Christmas, Easter, birthdays and all occasions.

Smoked foods are perfect party food – ready to eat and easy to prepare.

A garnished side of award-winning Oak Roasted Salmon served with buttered new potatoes, roasted beetroot and dill sauce, is the easiest way to entertain family and friends. Alternatively, enjoy carving their gorgeous Glazed Free Range Ham, served with oven baked potatoes and a selection of the Smokery’s fabulous locally made chutneys and preserves.

Produce an impressive starter in seconds with Smoked Duck sliced into a salad with seasonal fruit or berries and roasted nuts.

Conjure up canapés in the blink of an eye.

With a stunning sliced side of Smoked Salmon and a jar of dill sauce, you have the makings of beautiful, classic blini.

Create cocktail crostini using a Smoked Chicken Breast, thinly sliced, with a little crème fraiche and Cider Jelly, or try smoked Duck with Gooseberry or Cranberry & Claret Jelly.

To make life really easy, you can even buy Canapé Shells, olive oil Crostini and Vegetable Crackers from their online shop.

For more recipes, have a look on the website at www.smoked-foods.co.uk/recipes/

Gourmet Food Gifts and Luxury Hampers – Look no further for the finest presents for foodies.

Black Mountains Smokerys’ hampers range from the Taste for Two Hamper, a perfect introduction to smoked foods at £49, to the mighty Classic Crickhowell Wicker Hamper (£375) which combines smoked salmon, duck and chicken with cheeses, chocolates, pates and all manner of accompaniments – all beautifully packed in a traditional wicker hamper – everything you could need for a luxury spread in one go!

The full range of hampers can be found here.

Please note hampers should be ordered in advance for your preferred delivery date Tuesday to Friday.  All produce is freshly prepared and suitable for freezing.

Subscription Gifts – The gourmet food gift that keeps giving all year round.

Simply Salmon Subscription from £115 or Smoked Meat & Fish Subscriptions from £180 for someone who loves the luxury of a supply of smoked foods that they can enjoy every month or bi-monthly.

Black Mountains Smokery Gift Vouchers

Treat your loved one to a Smoked Food Gift Voucher, allowing them to choose their favourite smoked foods direct from Black Mountains Smokery! Each voucher carries a discount code that can be used online or over the phone. £25, £50, £75 & £100.

Need even more luxury?

Why not include a hand crafted oak platter in a hamper or with a side of smoked or roasted salmon? Gift pack your goodies in a traditional wicker hamper, £25/£40 with a special insulated lining ready to reuse for classic summer picnicking.

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01873 811566
www.smoked-foods.co.uk

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Gifts to Give this St Dwynwen’s Day

On the 25th of January each year, people all over Wales celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day, the Welsh patron saint of lovers. A Welsh love spoon is traditionally given as a Saint Dwynwen’s day gift.

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Dwynwen lived during the 5th century and fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodrill but, unfortunately her father had already arranged that she should marry someone else. Dwynwen was so upset she could not marry Maelon that she begged God to make her forget him. After falling asleep, Dwynwen was visited by an angel, who appeared carrying a sweet potion designed to erase all memory of Maelon and turn him into a block of ice.

God then gave three wishes to Dwynwen. Her first wish was that Maelon be thawed; her second that God meet the hopes and dreams of true lovers; and third, that she should never marry. All three were fulfilled, and as a mark of her thanks, Dwynwen devoted herself to God’s service for the rest of her life.

Traditionally a Welsh Love spoon is given as a Saint Dwynwen’s day gift but there’s plenty more to give in the Brecon Beacons. Read on to find all the gifts you can give this St Dwynwen’s Day!


Buy the food lover in your life a gift from Black Mountains Smokery.

Choose whole hams to tapas, cured or smoked meats such as Welsh Dragon sausage or welsh beef. Or give in and buy the lot! Place your order here

Plenty of gifts at Ty Cariad.

Stockists for Emma Bridgewater pottery, Carrie Elspeth Jewellery, Powder scarves, Alex Clark Art, alongside homeware, gifts & wonderful Welsh products. A great independent shop in the charming town of Brecon, where you can pick up some delightful items and gifts! 

For those who like a tipple!

If your other half likes nothing better than sipping away at a scotch or gin at the end of the day, forget the big names and watch them marvel at the taste of one of Penderyn award wining welsh whisky’s or gin’s. Or why not book a tour of the distillery, something to look forward to in the New Year find out more here. 

Take a pick from the many selections of hampers Authentically Welsh have put together containing all Welsh produce!

Authenically Welsh provide a wonderful range of hand packed hampers bursting with flavoursome Welsh foods … delivered  directly to your doorstep – perfect for a loved one Have a look at all the hampers and order yours online.

Indulge in Afternoon Tea

Whether enjoyed in a 5-star hotel or a delightful Welsh Cafe, Afternoon Tea is one of the best ways to treat your loved one! The Brecon Beacons have some of the finest Afternoon Teas around, using local produce to create an afternoon tea worth having! Click here for our top places to enjoy afternoon tea in the Brecon Beacons.

Browse the shelves at the Old Railway Line Garden Centre 

If you’re stuck for ideas of a special gift to give this St Dwynwens and Valentines day, then head to The Old Railway Line Garden Centre where there are plenty of gifts to choose from! Why not visit the florist who can make you a bespoke bouquet from their extensive range of cut flowers for a romantic gift to a loved one.

Have a romantic meal at The Felin Fach Griffin 

Burns Night & Santes Dwynwen's Day

Who cares if it’s dark & cold outside? Burns Night was created to hold a candle in the midst of the dark for friends to get together to feast and celebrate. Combine that with the Saints day of the Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers, Santes Dwynwen, and we have a good reason to create a Burns night menus using local Welsh produce. Starting at 7.30 pm and sitting for 8 pm.  Enjoy a welcoming drink on arrival, something to take the chill off.  Tickets are priced at £30 a head. Sharing tables (unless specifically requested otherwise). Please contact the team to purchase your ticket on 01874 620 111 or contact us on enquiries@felinfachgriffin.co.uk for further details.

Stare at the stars

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What could be more romantic than gazing at the stars together? On a clear night in the Brecon Beacons, you can see the Milky Way, major constellations, bright nebulas and even meteor showers. It’s enough to make anyone starry eyed! Find out our top places here.

For a bike lover!

If your other half loves nothing more than a cycle, then pop to Drovers Cycles in Hay On Wye for your one stop shop for clothing, gifts and bikes!

Treat your loved one to a Romantic Spa Break at Peterstone Court

Its home is in the vaulted caverns once used as the house cellars – we thought being close to the earth in the Brecon Beacons would naturally generate energy, and be a perfect location for our spa. Its design introduces a place of calm where you can slow-down, unwind and be pampered,

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allowing you a little well deserved ‘me’ time.Our spa also offers you the chance to relax in the Jacuzzi; detox in the sauna; take a dip in our seasonal heated pool or work-out in our gym, where qualified fitness instructors are on hand to help you. Or simply sit in our Moroccan styled relaxation room after a treatment, have a drink and just chill-out. However, it must be said that the views of Cribyn and Pen Y Fan from the house will almost help you to recharge as much as the treatments do, but one thing is for certain, with this combination we know you will leave us feeling relaxed, refreshed and simply – lovely!

Don’t forget, there’s also plenty of accommodation where you can have a romantic getaway in the Brecon Beacons! From secluded Shepherds Huts to cosy B and B’s there really is somewhere for everyone to enjoy a memorable Valentines Day! Book your stay here!

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Crickhowell Walking Festival 9th to 17th March 2019

Nine days of fabulous guided walks in and around the Black Mountains situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park in Mid-Wales.

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Guided Walks-WALKS BOX OFFICE

Events

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We also have an exciting programme of evening events.

Click the button below to be taken to the Booking Office and to make your booking.

EVENTS BOX OFFICE


CWF Charity 2019

Each year CWF supports a charity. This year, CWF is supporting Combat Stress, UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. You will be requested to make a donation when you make your booking.

Sponsored Walk

We wish to raise plenty of money for this worthwhile charity and to support their “March-in-March” campaign so we have suggested that participants on Walk 63 – The Llanbedr Horseshoe will get sponsors to donate. You can get a Sponsorship Form here.


Before you book a walk….

….carefully take note of the following:-

As most of our walks take place on open mountain and moorland, appropriate clothing is required at all times. This includes:-

  • Walking Boots (not trainers)
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Warm clothing
  • Spare warm clothing eg a jacket or fleece
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

 Note: Jeans are NOT acceptable, as they act as a refrigerator when wet and can cause hypothermia.

  • You will need to bring your own food and drink(preferably a hot drink for the 3 and 4 boot walks).
  • You should carry a rucksack to put your spare clothing, food and drink and personal items in.

And, finally, when booking:-

  • Check the grade of walk you wish to book on by reading ourGrade Guide.
  • For safety reasons we ask you to provide the names of all the walkers in your party (including yourself, please) and to provide a telephone number which we can use in case anything happens to you or one of your party and we need to contact a relative or friend (not the phone you will be carrying with you, please!).
  • Note that bookings are held for only 24 hours, before payment is made. If you do not pay within 24 hours your booking will be cancelled. By paying through PayPal your is processed immediately.
  • By making a booking you agree to comply with our Terms and Conditions.
  • If you have problems booking, email us at cwf@visitcrickhowell.co.uk

OK, I’VE GOT IT, TAKE ME TO THE BOX OFFICE PLEASE.

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What’s on at Theatr Brycheiniog this January?

Top Picks

Sleeping Beauty
Sat  19 – Sat 26
( Mon 21 6.30pm RP & Tue 22 7.00pm BSL)
£13.50 / £48.00 Fa

A spell binding pantomime full of comedy and romance, bursting with energetic numbers, spectacular scenery and mesmerising special effects guaranteed to to entertain the whole family. More Information

ROH: La Traviata
Wed 30, 6.45pm 
£15.00 / £12.50

Sung in Italian with English subtitles

From the thrill of unexpected romance to a heartbreaking recollection that comes too late, Verdi’s La Traviata is one of the most popular operas of all time. More Information

NT Live: I’m Not Running
Thu, 31, 7.00pm 
£17.50 / £15.00

Pauline Gibson is a junior doctor, who becomes the face of a campaign to save her local hospital. I’m Not Running is an explosive new political drama exploring personal choices and their public consequences, written by Academy Award-nominated writer David Hare. More Information. 

Monthly Favourites

Comedy Club
Fri 25, 8.00pm £10 / £20 with pre show curry and a drink.

Stuart Goldsmith  ‘A charming, expert stand up’ THE SUNDAY TIMES
Huge Davis ‘Jet black, funny and unsettling’CHORTLE. More Information.

More Great Shows This Season

22nd Annual Rorke’s Drift Concert 
Sat 23 Feb, 7.30pm
£10 / £9

Join over 100 young ACF musicians from across the UK as they come together with musicians from the Regular Army to put on a concert that demonstrates the incredible talents of the youth of today and showcases some future stars. More Information. 

NT Live: The Tragedy of King Richard the Second (Encore)
Mon, 25 Feb, 7.00pm
£17.50 / £15

Richard II is irresponsible, foolish and vain. His weak leadership sends his kingdom into disarray and his court into uproar. This visceral production poses the question, ‘when the country is on the brink of disaster, who is the right person to take charge?’ More Information

IntoThe Light
Sat 2 Mar, 7.30pm
£12 / £10

Into The Light is a beautiful and daring piece of physical theatre about  interaction, connection and validation, performed by those we need to see and hear. More Information.

Pinocchio
Tue 19 Mar, 7:30pm 
£10 / £8 / £30 Fam | Teu

Pinocchio is the story of a child free from prejudices: he’s disobedient and mischievous, yet at the same time naïve. We are invited to delve into the imagination of a child-puppet and reflect on values such as education, graft, responsibility and sincerity. More Information. 

DRIP DRIP DRIP
Sat 23 Mar, 7.30pm
£12 / £10

Pipeline Theatre, known for indelible characters and breathtaking production values, take you on a break-neck, darkly comic and taboo-busting journey, through an NHS – a place where even gallows humour is at death’s door.  More Information.

Rich Hall 
Fri, 29 Mar, 8pm
£17

The Hoedown is both a withering dissection of Trump’s America, and a celebration of Americana. There’s stand-up, improvised ballads, cracking good musicianship, and ultimately a hilarious, foot-stomping time to be had by all!

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How were the caves in the Brecon Beacons National Park created?

The formation of the limestone caves beneath the Brecon Beacons National Park began over 300 million years ago.

The carboniferous limestone of South Wales was formed in shallow tropical seas in the Paleozoic era, over 300 million years ago. Much of it is of organic origin, being the shells and skeletons of sea creatures, large and small. Amongst the most spectacular fossils to be seen in the National Park are Lithostrotion corals. Their intricate internal detail is often beautifully preserved.

A band of carboniferous limestone stretches across the National Park from Blorenge in the east to Carreg Cennen in the west. It’s in this thin belt of limestone country, 45 miles long but rarely more than one mile in width, that some of the most spectacular caves in Britain are to be found.

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The first caves

Limestone is soluble in mildly acidic water and the water running off the peaty ground of the National Park’s hills is just that. Finding its way into small cracks in the rock, it widens them over the years creating a network of open fissures and tubes. When eventually these interconnecting passages reach a certain scale, we think of them as a cave network.

The caves form both along bedding planes, layers of rock, and along vertical fractures present in the rock from the times millions of years ago when South Wales was successively stretched and squeezed as continents collided and split apart. Roof collapse also plays a part in the growth of a cave over many thousands of years.

Water pours down the southern slopes of the familiar old red sandstone hills to the north and on meeting the limestone, disappears underground. Because most of the National Park’s rocks slope gently towards the South Wales Coalfield, many caves follow this southward dip but they also extend east-west across it until they emerge in one of the major valleys carved through the limestone.

The karst landscape

This countryside with its limestone pavements, caves, dry valleys and shakeholes is known as a karst landscape after the classic region of that name in Slovenia. Our area differs from other karst areas of Britain in having fewer limestone pavements but many more shakeholes (depressions formed where surface water washes the boulder clay that covers the limestone down into cracks or fissures in the limestone). These are present particularly in areas that, at first sight, are not limestone areas.

Although such areas as Mynydd Llangynidr and Mynydd Llangatwg are gritstone plateaus, the limestone isn’t far below the surface and the collapse of sections of cave within the limestone leads to craters appearing at the ground surface. Some are truly impressive at 60m across and 20m deep!

Why not explore the caves by crawling through them? There are plenty of activity providers who can allow you to explore the underground!

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Group Stargazing in the Brecon Beacons

Sun 13 January 2019- 19:00 – 22:00

A unique opportunity for you to be part of a group of 40 like minded individuals enjoying the dark skies of Wales. On the evening you will be accompanied by two astronomers who will guide you around the night sky from constellations to nebula, learning the mythology and science of astronomy. No experience needed just an enthusiasm to learn more about the night sky and why not bring a camera or use ours to record your experience.

All astronomical equipment is provided but please wrap up warm as the mountain can become very cold!

Buy your tickets here.

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