Not everyone who comes to the Brecon Beacons and Gliffaes wants to spend all day walking up mountains and across the moors. When I was invited to visit the newly restored Bedwellty House in Tredegar I thought it would be good to put together a suggested day out in the South Wales Valleys.
Please don’t think of the Valleys as an industrial wasteland surrounded by old mine workings. The regeneration that has taken place over the last 30 years has transformed this area of South Wales. Landscaping and tree planting have turned waste lands into vibrant country parks and the the industrial heritage that remains has been restored and preserved as a unique window on the hard way of life that was heavy industry . This day trip will give you a glimpse at all this.
This day out takes you from Gliffaes, through Talybont on Usk and then a lovely scenic drive past the Talybont Reservoir, where before leaving the Talybont valley you can explore the waterfalls at the head of the valley (two hour walk explained here). The biggest waterfall is just about 10 minutes walk from the car park so there is no need to to complete the full two hour circuit. From here your drive takes you pass the Pontsticill Reservoir before meeting up with the A465 Heads of the Valleys Road and then south into Tredegar and into Bedwellty House. We will help you with directions when you get to Gliffaes
The Iron Master’s House – Bedwellty
This Grade II listed mansion set in wonderful Victorian parkland was originally built around 1800 and was used as a residence by the family that ran the ironworks in Tredegar before the house was given to the town of Tredegar in 1900 by Lord Tredegar. It then became the seat of the town council and Tredegar’s most famous son, Aneurin Bevan, cut his political teeth in Bedwellty House. The house and gardens have just been reopened after a three year restoration project, and the results are splendid. It is not a vast building but one can easily spend an hour and half looking at the house and around the fantastic gardens. There is a pretty series of ponds and also the world’s largest lump of coal on display in the grounds but, the mature trees were the high light for me.
There is great little cafe here in the converted Orchid House, perfect for a light lunch and the homemade cakes and scones I had for tea were terrific. If you fancy a look around Tredegar now’s your chance. The town has something called the, “Aneurin Bevan Trail” which leads you past some of his old haunts in the town.
The world’s biggest lump of coal – 20 tonnes
Brecon Mountain Railway
If you have enough time left in your day and fancy a scenic ride on a steam train then this trip is recommend, especially if you have children in tow. The station is about 8 miles from Tredegar on your route back to Gliffaes, should you wish to return the same way. (The best way to find the station is to use your sat nav with this postcode, CF48 2DD.) This is a fairly short out and back run but with quite a bit to see along the way . Please have a look at their website to check the timetable, or ask us to check for you before you leave Gliffaes.
I think there is something for everyone in this day out and it does not involve too much driving. We will be happy to help you with directions and mark your map.