The area below the Black Mountains from Talgarth down to Crickhowell can make a great itinerary for a varied and interesting day out this Easter weekend, and has much to offer throughout the year.
Talgarth Mill was restored in 2011 as part of the BBC’s Village SOS TV programme, and is a thriving community enterprise comprising the restored Mill that creates flour from local farmers’ grain, The Bakers’ Table cafe that sells hugely popular bread alongside delicious cakes, and a great Craft Shop with local arts and crafts, as well as a chance to buy the milled flour. Take a tour with one of the Mill’s excellent volunteer guides and learn about not only the Mill, but also the Industrial Revolution and its effect on Talgarth and its surrounds.
Take a stroll afterwards around the fascinating small town of Talgarth, being sure to visit the church square at the top of the hill with its beautiful church and charming surrounding houses. If you have time, a visit to Brecknock Wildlife Trust’s Pwll y Wrach Nature Reserve is an accessible walk though an oak-ash woodland set in a steep sided valley cut by the River Enig, and a waterfall.
Moving south of Talgarth, follow signs for Trefecca and Llangorse, and take a visit to Llangorse Lake which is the largest natural lake in South Wales and is a fine spot for sailing, wildlife-watching and waterside strolls with shimmering views. There’s local history to explore at the Crannog near the northwest shore, which is a man-made island made of oak, willow and hazel wood and was probably the site of a royal palace over 1000 years ago. As the only Crannog in Wales or England, the site is of great scientific and archaeological interest, so is prohibited to be walked on, but the replica thatched hut has information and provides the perfect views of the lake.
You can then either drive or walk around to the opposite side of the lake to Llangasty to see the charming little church, and also visit the splendid thatched bird hide to see why Llangorse is so famous for its birdlife.
Head back to the A40, pausing in Bwlch to pick up some great local produce at the Beacons Farm Shop & Welsh Venison Centre, then continue down the valley to Crickhowell, and The Crickhowell Resource and Information Centre (CRiC) where you can buy local gifts as well as gathering information on this well-loved town. Whilst at CRiC, take a look upstairs at the gallery which is well worth a visit.
A stroll around the streets of Crickhowell (whose name is taken from that of the nearby Iron Age hill fort of Crug Hywel found above the town), reveals quiet corners and picturesque lanes, and lovely riverside views from the bottom of town towards the C17th stone bridge across the River Usk that has twelve arches on one side with thirteen on the other.
Boasting one of the last high streets of independent traders in the UK, and a wide variety of shops, cafes and pubs, Crickhowell is the perfect place to finish your day’s tour.
NEED TO KNOW
Kevin Walker is a local tour guide who can be booked for bespoke tours and guided walks around the Brecon Beacons National Park
TALGARTH MILL opening times
Spring/Summer 11am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday Autumn/Winter 11am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday
Open daily Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm. On Saturdays we open at 9.30am, and we are also open Bank Holiday Mondays. During July and August open at 9.30am and close at 4.30pm.
Other suggested places to eat:
Gliffaes Country House Hotel, Nr Crickhowell
The Manor Hotel, Crickhowell
The Bear Hotel, Crickhowell
The Dragon Inn, Crickhowell
Number 18, Crickhowell
The Dragon’s Back, Pengenffordd
Other things to do in the area:
Llangorse Multi Activity Centre is Wales’ Premier Award-Winning Indoor and Outdoor activity centre, with many different on-site activities including Indoor Rock Climbing, Zip Wire & challenge course, plus Horse Riding & Pony Trekking for all levels
Tretower Court managed by Cadw, is a fine 13th century circular keep and one of the finest late medieval houses in Wales.