Nature & Walks: Locally vs Slightly Further Afield

So, some of our guests are staying longer now we are opened back up. I wanted to prepare a blog post on some of the most noteable places in South Wales for visitation, going a bit further than our already existing guide and providing some much needed information.

I have tried to keep the distance of these within 1 hour of our cottage, as always but some are a little further away. You can see the sights on our Air B n B guide book as to where things are. Some of the locations have headings that are linked to our instagram, where you may view a video tour of some highlights of the area.

Mountains, Castles and Waterfalls — Oh My!

Guest Review – Air B & B

The Line – Bedwellty Pits (0 minutes)

There is a river and beautiful walks outside your front door when you stay with us, you can see all of this and more.

Our cottage is based in Bedwellty Pits and the walk along the river and forests is called “The Line”. This walk is hugely popular among residents in the surrounding areas and villages, and is just a matter of steps from your front door. You will see everything as you arrive at the cottage. If you cross the bridge at the bottom of the river which you can see from the cottage – you will come to a gate, and if you go through that there are paths up to the right of the mountain going through the forest and up towards the wind turbines, so, you can climb to the top of the mountain and look down at where you are staying should you wish! Or, just head left along the bike bath and this walk is 2 miles into town where all the shops etc. are, and you could walk to Bedwellty House which is a historical house with a restaurant and pretty gardens on our list of attractions.

Reservoirs, Caves and Quarries

Trefil Quarry (local 14 min)

This quarry has been reclaimed by nature. The hills and views here are stunning, you will see local grazing wildlife from wild horses to sheep.. and plenty of interesting creatures in the marshlands on the way to Chartist cave should you wish to attempt to find it!

Trefil Quarry Forest/Waterfall (14 minutes by car)

The quarry itself is an interesting sight but if you keep walking past it down towards a crop of trees – there is also a very nice biking (or hiking) route through a forest and past a waterfall. The route is marked by a stone reading “155” and also has a plaque about the history of the quarry before you turn off down it, so history buffs can read about the quarry and its surroundings there.

Hidden waterfall

Trefil Quarry Blue Lagoon

A shot of Blue lagoon in August

Parking for Trefil: just navigate toward Dukes Table, Tredegar NP22 4HF and park before you see a barrier/cattle track. If you park before the barrier then you will not need to worry about the barrier closing (it does so around 4pm to prevent fly tippers!) and it is about a 4 mile or so walk down the road, with Blue Lagoon up the road on your left when you get to the end of the road.. more photos and videos of that to come.

Toilets & Food: The nearest pub that you will pass on the way to parking is “Top House” and this has good food, and toilets for those who don’t like to partake in wild weeing.

Chartist Cave (15 minutes – to car park)

The cave is also known by two different names in Welsh: Ogof Fawr (the ‘Big Cave’) and earlier as Tylles Fawr (the ‘Great Hole’). 

The hike is a nice one, and dog friendly.

Parking Post Code: Llangynidr Car Park NP8 1LL — this is a beacons path, but there is no information centre and no toilet etc. nearby. If you take this hike, be aware it should not be done in bad or foggy weather unless you are an experienced navigator.

Blue Lagoon / Blaencuffin Canyons – Abertillery (23 minutes drive)

Beautiful views and clear water can make you feel like you’re in North America!

Not far from us there are many reservoirs. This one is called Blue Lagoon. Now, there is also a Blue Lagoon in Pembrokeshire so make sure you look for the one in Abertillery. Entering the quarry can be done at the road, there are many warning signs here about the water as it is deep. Many people do wild swim here, but you should be careful and use a buoyancy aid where applicable doing anything on the water. Surrounding the area are lots of wooded walks and paths, and a quarry area with interesting mini waterfalls.. some of the land is private, and so it is important to be mindful of this when exploring this area.

NOTE: It is a very popular spot – and lately I have noticed a lot of litter in the area. If you visit – PLEASE pick up after yourself and DO NOT litter in this beautiful location and keep it natural and clean.

Parking: On road – NP13 2JS.

Brombil Reservoir (slightly further afield)

I will add my own photos after I visit here, which I have always wanted to do. This is a noteable spot for locals in Cardiff or Port Talbot itself to go visit some local nature. As a whole, both Cardiff and Port Talbot are not known for stunning nature views — at least not in the same way that Brecons and our area are.. but some things are just worth seeing.

(Also called Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir – and I think this is more noteable in google maps)

https://twos-company.com/2020/06/29/brombil-reservoir-a-complete-guide/ – I recommend you visit this guide, and you take note of the post code for parking/driving.

Keepers Pond (23 minute drive)

You will see for miles..

Keepers is a beautiful spot in Pontypool, ideal for those who want the hillside views without the strenuous climb- however, you can still make quite the hike out of it by walking around the area. Keepers pond is a popular spot to learn to stand up paddleboard (SUP). The pond itself is also great for cooling down or cleaning off dogs after a long walk! The pond itself sits on top of panoramic views across Abergavenny.. From here, you can see many of the mountains below including Skirrid and Sugarloaf! Popular walks in the area include just around the “Blorenge” and Devil’s Pulpit area.

Hills and Hikes

This section is for those who enjoy a mountain view/climbing mountains.

Skirrid Fawr (28 minute drive)
Bluebells cover the floor in May

A beautiful mountain with forests just below the peak.. It is a truly special place to walk and my personal favourite right now or especially in May when the bluebells carpet the floor. You get a picture perfect view of Sugar Loaf too. To climb to the trig point follow the gravel path up, past a gate and head straight up via the national trust sign posts with yellow arrows. From there, keep going up a relatively steep climb (you can also go down the dirt part it’s just a longer, less steep and slightly less travelled route that ends up at the same main path). Go through another set of gates, you will see a large National Trust poster – follow to the right until you see a set of steps and another sign. The sign reads “dogs on leads” and another post. There are quite a lot of sheep, and the path is narrow until you get to the top so having your dogs on leads is probably a good idea if you take them.

Parking & Eats: Annoyingly there is nothing on google maps to navigate to but there is a huge national trust car park. The car park is pay and display I believe.. anyway, I tend to navigate to the Copper Kettle Tea rooms and the car park from my direction is just before the turning for the tea rooms (I’ve yet to also try the tea rooms but that is definitely on the list!).

Toilet & Poop Bags: no toilet. Only 1 red poop bag bin.

Llangattock Escarpment (local 29 minutes)
Views from the round walk around the escarpment.

The interesting landscapes here in Crickhowell Powys are said to have inspired the late Tolkein when writing The Hobbit. There is a hobbit settlement called Crickhollow, and this is where the inspiration is said to have come from, while Tolkein was staying to write in Talybont on Usk. The views around are beautiful, and if you enjoy caving (please wear proper equipment and or take a guide!) this is definitely a good spot for that with extensive limestone caves throughout.

Local Eats (yet to have a link)

Car park: Llangattock Quarry Car Park, Llangattock, Crickhowell NP8 1LG

Sugar Loaf Mountain (41 min, 18 miles)

Stunning views await you at the top of the mountain

I don’t have a lot of say about this place other than.. views, views, views! If you are wanting a bit of a climb to the top of a mountain, sit and have a picnic, take in some stunning views.. this is the place for sure. A wonderful sight and an especially beautiful way to spend the end of the day in spring or summer.. this one is very highly recommended by guests.

Car park: Sugar Loaf car park NP7 7LA — the drive up to the mountain is steep, you are climbing a lot of the mountain by car before you get here. There is lots and lots of parking — 2 car parks and you’ll know you’re at the official one when you see the board with the map and the Sugar Loaf plaque at the base of the Mountain.

Pen Y Fan (27 minutes to carpark)

A scenic shot by your Host

By far my personal favourite in the Brecons and pretty much a guaranteed favourite of any avid hiker in South Wales. The views and landscapes in Pen Y Fan are breath-taking, as is the hike itself. Used frequently by the MOD and SAS for training in the UK – the hikes here are challenging. Hikers come from all around the UK to take part in some of the most difficult obstacle courses and ultra running events here including the ‘Fan Dance’.

Parking: In my person opinion the Pont ar Daf car park is the closest car park to the actual summit of Pen Y Fan, and this car park has toilets: Pont ar Daf LD3 8NL, however when it is really busy there is parking further down near the “Storey Arms” and even another minute down the road. It is recommended you park at an actual designated car park, and even on the busiest days this is possible.

Southern Welsh Waterfalls

Blaen Y Glyn Waterfalls (32 minutes to car park)

Enjoy some pretty special waterfalls here as well as absolutely stunning views across Brecon and of Pen Y Fan etc in the distance… What a beautiful place, and a lesser well known area of the Beacons. You can head out of the car park and you will see to the left a path heading up the mountain, and another path toward or at the right of the main car park where there is also a map. Down toward the forest to the left is the main waterfall route, hang left, and keep going down! Eventually, if you get to the style where the first glimpse of the main river is, take a right down the path instead until you see a large poll with a blue wave (rapids/falls). You can then head across the bridge to the main waterfall pictured above to the right, and then the head left down toward many, many other falls and amazing picnic spots and wild swimming spots. The route is especially beautiful after rainfall in the sun.

Car park: Blaen y Gyln Uchaf – Talybont-on-Usk, Merthyr Tydfil CF48 2UT but there are a LOT of carparks in and around this area a short walk, plenty of parking.

What else nearby? If you are stopping here, I have heard the Red Cow Inn does very good food and of course Pontiscill reservoir is very, very close by.

Dog Friendly? I took my dogs and certainly plenty of other dogs are here, but when the water is high or fast running it is obviously crucial that you have good control. The other thing to be wary of, is sheep on the path to the top of the hill/mountain to the left of the car park.

4 Waterfalls – Brecon Beacons (35 minutes to car park)

Our dogs loved the walk!

I have to say, the 4 Waterfalls is another favourite of mine in the Brecons area. Less than an hour from the cottage these waterfalls are fabulous and the surrounding forests are like something out of a fairy tale. These photos are my personal photos – some I took on the walk.

Parking: Cwm Porth car park CF44 9FJ — if you use this you will end up right opposite the start of the waterfall trail, however unless you leave early in the morning it is unlikely you’ll get a spot in this car park as it is quite small (and the best one). There are toilets in the visitor centre/building when it is open.

What else nearby…

  • Penderyn Distillery! Why not try out some quality Welsh whiskey after a walk? You’ll probably be driving past it anyway, so..
Pontneddfechan Waterfalls Walk (25 minutes by car)
Guest photo!

This is slightly closer than the walk in the Brecons but it is very close to it. Along this route you will see even more than ‘4 waterfalls’.. including an interesting river that disappears under the rocks.. and for those who are keen to try “wild swimming” this is the place for you!!

Long walk: From the Dinas car park there is a short bank with a hedge. Climb that and head up the hill. It has a handrail. You’ll know you’re on the right track then.

Short walk: Alternatively if it is open I highly suggest parking at the Pont Melin-Fach carpark “waterfall country” especially if you do not want to do a long walk, and want to be close to somewhere for food — there is a pub toward Pontneddfechan in the South.

Parking: Dinas Rd, Pontneddfechan, Neath SA11 5NE if you enjoy a long hike- or the Pont Melin-Fach car park would probably be best for people who are not looking for a hike, and are more looking to just view the waterfalls/those with small children (although when visiting it in May I noticed it was shut, so be prepared to go an extra 5 or so min drive to Cwm Porth perhaps).

Sgwd Henrhyd Falls (40 mins)

It’s the bat cave!

The tallest waterfall in Southern Wales.. definitely one to marvel at, and not to be missed.. it may look familiar, as it was the filming spot for Dark Knight Rise (Batman!). The walk to this is very short from the car park, it is just down the hill! Take a left after parking, you will see a National Trust sign with information about the falls and the 2 walking paths you can take- check out our instagram reel to see what we mean! But it is a bit of a steep hill so careful walking down it especially if wet weather. I actually went wild swimming in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall, which even on a day like the day I took the photo below, a bit misty and overcast – it was perfectly refreshing to take a dip in the water. You may walk easily behind the falls.

Parking: Henrhyd Falls car Park SA10 9PG

Beaches

Views from beaches in Pembrokeshire, South Wales

Now, Wales is known for its beautiful beaches especially in the South. So, it’s lucky then that we’re only an hour or so drive away from some of the most beautiful beaches!

Gower Peninsula

A designated AONB (Area of Outstanding National Beauty) this coastal area is full of beautiful walks and geological marvels. Photos incoming.. I love to include my own and this is definitely on my list.

Stockpole Quay, Pembrokeshire (2 hours 5 minutes by car)

Perfect for Paddle boarding, the car park is about 2 hours away.

Castles

Morlais Ruins (17 minutes drive)

The nearest castle that I’ve personally been to is the Merthyr Morlais ruins. Per Wiki it is a 13th century castle, and I’d need to look at the map again and makes fantastic walking and views. I’d highly recommend checking out what else is in the area on our Air B&B guide when you do this trip or combining it with one of the other attractions.

NB: If you found this page helpful or used it during your stay, please mention it to us, and if you have anything to add or extra information please comment on this blog post and let us know.

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