Brecon has a lively arts scene and is well known for the walks in and around the surrounding countryside but are you aware of the town’s own poetry trail? The trail encourages you to explore the corners, streets and rivers of the town and gives you a different view on the historical town’s celebrated landmarks.
In the lead up to the 2012 London Olympic Games, Theatr Brycheiniog had the honour of being one of seven arts organisations approached by 2012 Olympic Games organising committee to host a poetry trail as part of the Cultural Olympiad.
Ten Welsh poets were commissioned to compose four-line verses (5 in English and 5 in Welsh) and these poems have been written on slate plaques and attached to buildings around the town as a permanent artistic installation for the enjoyment of the people of Brecon and visitors to the town. There is a strong Olympic theme throughout, however it’s optional to hop, skip and jump along the trail.
The trail takes approximately an hour and starts at Theatr Brycheiniog where award-winning poet and playwright Menna Elfyn cleverly incorporates references to the myths of the Mabinogion and links the London Games to Brecon. From the canal basin the trail heads up Danygaer Street before leading you to walk alongside the River Usk and to Owen Sheers’s poem.
Over the bridge and to the promenade where Grahame Davies’s words will make you ponder as you reach the half way mark of the trail.
From here you walk up the hill to the Castle Hotel and back down over the River Honddu to Ceri Wyn Jones’s words which recall Welsh athlete Lynn Davies’s winning leap. Turning your back to Pen-y- Fan the trail takes you up Market Street along The Struet where you can marvel at the Georgian architecture.
At the crossroads take a right turn and go up the cobbled “King’s Steps” named after King Charles I visit to Brecon in 1645 to gain support in the civil war. At the top you are greeted by the words of Catherine Fisher who again intertwines themes from Welsh myths with the Olympic theme. As you head down the steps from Alexandra Street towards the Tourist Information Centre you are faced with a majestic view of Pen-y-Fan over the rooftops of the town.
On the walls of the TIC are the words of local poet and novelist Chris Meredith describing the nature of Brecon. From here head towards the Brecon bus station where the sense of time passing is an ideal pause for thought for the location. Down along Free Street up the Watton into the centre of town before turning into Lion Yard where Clare Potters verse refers to the courage and tenacity of Gwenllian and how Olympiads are can be shapers of our collective story.
Stopping by Ardent gallery where Tony Curtis speaks of colours amongst the local artists. Finally arriving at the words of the inaugural National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarkes’s words at The Hours Bookshop and Café. Here the trail ends however you can continue to satisfy your literature hunger with the wide arrange of books and art. Ideal with a cup of tea and slice of cake.