My Brecon Beacons: Abergavenny and the Black Mountains by Andy Zambanini

This week Andy Zambanini, a farmer from the Brecon Beacons answers our questions.  We couldn’t resist putting up all the photos he sent as they are beautiful, we hope you agree.

Andy and his family run Bryn y Cwm Farm just outside Abergavenny, they focus on raising free range, rare, native breed pigs and sheep specifically for the table using the highest standards of animal husbandry.  They sell a variety of fresh meat products to the general public and local restaurants including traditional cuts of pork, mutton or lamb (when in season), offal, pork or mutton sausages, ham- and lamb-burgers.   Veneta and Andy also sell fresh meat and cooked products at the Bristol Slow Food Market held on the 1st Sunday of each month.You can find out more by visiting their website or following him on Twitter.

1.    Where I live could be described in one word as …..  IDYLLIC

2.    I would take a first-timer to the Brecon Beacons for a gentle stroll up the Sugar Loaf, then drink a pint of Skirrid in the King’s Arms in Abergavenny and then come back to my place for a roast pork or lamb dinner using our own home grown meat, while looking out at the mountain we climbed earlier in the day. Perfect!

3.    My favourite restaurant is The Nantyffin Cider Mill just outside Crickhowell because the food is absolutely amazing, reasonably priced, and you are still eating in a traditional pub. Plus the T-bone steak is just stunning!

4.    My favourite event in the Brecon Beacons is the Abergavenny Food Festival in September  because it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet old friends as well as forging links with other local food producers. The range of foods on display is huge and I always end up having to make numerous trips to the car to drop off all my purchases.  I love trying out all the local wines and ciders.

5.    My favourite pub is the King’s Arms in Abergavenny  because they are a brilliant micro-brewery that serves up stunning real ale.  We all need to support our local producers!

6.    I would have my picture taken on the descent from Pen y Fan along Cefn Cwm Llwch with Cribyn and ridge line of Bryn Teg in the background  because it makes me look a lot more adventurous than I really am!

7.   If you’re on a budget the best advice for the Brecon Beacons is stay at one or more of the 5 YHA hostels in the local area.  They are not just for young people or individuals and over the years I have met many friends at hostels who have given me great suggestions regarding what to do and see in the area and also where to eat.

8.   The most unusual thing about where I live is the amount of industrial history on my doorstep because everyone believes the Brecon Beacons National Park is just an agricultural landscape and don’t appreciate the importance of the area to the industrial revolution.  Along Cwm Llanwenarth where I live, the remnants of iron works, ruined homesteads, and disused quarries all form a subtle part of the beautiful landscape.

9.  The best season to travel to the Brecon Beacons is in the Spring because all the lambs are happily jumping around in the fields, the daffodils and bluebells are out, the days are getting longer so you can be out on the hills for a few good hours and finally there aren’t too many visitors on the popular walking routes.

10.  I would like to stay at the Bear inn, Crickhowell if I came to visit because it’s central to the town, the accommodation is excellent, the food is wonderful and the beer is brilliant.  My wife would have a job getting me out of the door!

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11 Responses to My Brecon Beacons: Abergavenny and the Black Mountains by Andy Zambanini

  1. Well, isn’t that great. A man who farms animals so that they can be killed. We don’t need to eat meat, we don’t need to eat any dairy produce, we don’t need farmers to farm any animals. Do we.

    • Illtud Evans says:

      Radical veganism – we all know where that led us in the 1940s! Anyway if we all became vegan what happens to all our domestic animals? Mass extinction I think. So what is worse, controlled breeding and killing of animals to eat, or killing them (or worse just letting them die) because it’s no longer acceptable to eat them? I think I know whicht is the most humane option.

    • Sara says:

      Well, I sure do. And lots of people with varying dietary needs do too.

      Also, I do think it’s great. It’s nice to know that animals are not being bred and raised in tiny cages. So maybe direct your anger and people who are actually mistreating animals and people might take your comments seriously. By the way, animals eat other animals as well. Does that bother you?

  2. LondonPaul says:

    Wow what a great blog post about an amazing part of the UK. It’s great to see farming where the animals are cared for and happy before they reach my plate. Local food in Wales is incredible.

  3. A real country fan says:

    Not sure what sort of countryside you have in mind for the Brecon Beacons National Park, without the farmers and without the animals. Hope you like vistas of gorse and bracken…..Seriously though, the great natural environment of the Brecon Beacons is a testament to the efforts of its farmers, and those photos certainly show animal welfare of the highest standard. Enjoy your walks!

  4. Lovely to see our restaurant/pub is listed as one of the favourites!!!

  5. Somersetlass says:

    It’s wonderful to hear about the continued growth of local, slow food enterprises around the country – and Andy invokes some wonderful childhood memories of trips to the Brecon Beacons including the ascent of Pen-y-Fan. I think a return trip to sample some of the local hospitality might be in order! Oh, and I for one would far rather eat meat that I’ve reared or seen reared than the factory-farmed and intensively reared pork and lamb that most buy packaged from supermarkets.

  6. Great post. Agree with Andy’s point about the incredible amount of industrial history in the national park. For instance, you get a real sense of this by walking along the old Brinore tramroad from Talybont (you can still the stone sleeper blocks on parts of the track), which links the old limestone quarries at Trefil nr Tredegar to the Brecon and Monmouthshire canal. Built in 1814-1815, a pretty impressive feat of engineering when you consider that it drops by over a 1000ft to the canal at Talybont.

  7. Sue southworth says:

    A really interesting post. My favourite part is still the Green Man Festival though. Although very sad to hear that the local school finally closed this year. Will anyone take over providing sausage sandwiches to the masses ( or a good education to the local children without a 20 mile round trip)?

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