Dating south wales
Join them for a pint in the bar afterwards and they’ll tell you how to find the National Trust’s Dolaucothi Gold Mines, along the A482, next morning.But keep a clear head for the pretty, winding road there – and that miner’s lamp scramble...
• Pack a compass, sat-nav and map, too avoid getting too lost. Afterwards, the tour carries you back into the national park (A482, right on A40, left on A4069, right to Myddfai) as you head for a cup of tea, or lunch, at the buzzing new Myddfai Community Hall, opened by Prince Charles in 2011.Next, I pushed on towards Llanddeusant before turning left and left again to sit beside peaceful Usk Reservoir, where I enjoyed a picnic, expertly prepared by the Llandovery Castle Hotel’s chef. Continue past the dam, heading for Sennybridge and then the A4215/A470, for either The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh or Brecon cathedral.It’s to the monument of another revolutionary Welshman – Wales’s own “Braveheart”, Llewelyn ap Gruffydd Fychan, executed in Llandovery by Henry IV of England for supporting Welsh rebellion – that a run over the edge of Black Mountain now takes you.Follow signs to Llandeilo then fly along the top of the hills to Bethlehem, then the A4069 to stop in Llandovery’s car park, dominated by a 16ft steel statue to the Welsh martyr, standing guard over the fine Castle Hotel.Look carefully – a little imagination is called for while stopping at lay-bys offering relief on this mountain road – and identify the ghosts of the iron-processing industry that once formed the heart of this community.
Here the ruins of a forge, there a slag heap, centuries old, returning slowly to grass, aided by Forgotten Landscapes project volunteers.
The 195-mile tour starts at pretty Abergavenny, “gateway to Wales”, in the rather cosier surroundings of the Angel Hotel, where you should work up an appetite for its splendid fare by tramping ruined, adjacent Abergavenny Castle and its meadows sloping down to the gushing River Usk.
Next morning, head towards the Blaenavon World Heritage Site on the B4246 and, as your bonnet points skywards, enjoy views to Sugar Loaf Mountain and beyond.
Choose a room with a balcony, throw open the French windows and, once again, sit high above the Usk, as the sun sets on a wild and beautiful drive.
Nearly 200 miles long, mostly inside the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Angel Hotel, Abergavenny, ££ Former coaching inn with smart Georgian façade, 35 bedrooms and public areas given a modern twist. Llandovery Castle Hotel, Llandovery, £ Friendly ‘gastro pub’ with strong, regional flavour.