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After visiting spectacular Carreg Cennen Castle, it's easy to see why the site was chosen for a fortress: it towers on a great crag almost feet above the River Cennen. Consequently, the castle offers outstanding sightseeing views over Brecon Beacons National Park and the surrounding countryside. Afterwards, explore the authentic Welsh hill farm, enjoy refreshments in the tearoom, and pick up some souvenirs in the gift shop. The River Neath, which enters the Bristol Channel at Swansea, has carved itself into the exposed carbon layers at a depth of about 1, feet, and in doing so, cut off the coal seams that in the 18th and 19th century lead to the development of heavy industry here.

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These days, it's all about tourism in this picturesque area, which boasts a number of pleasant walking trails. Highlights include Aberdulais Falls , an impressive example of how water can provide the energy needed for industrial purposes and which allows visitors a close-up look at Europe's largest electricity generating waterwheel.

Also nearby is Neath Abbey , a Cistercian abbey founded by Richard de Granville in and later converted into an Elizabethan mansion. The market town of Neath is also worth a visit, and is home to the ruins of Neath Castle, an impressive Norman structure built in the 12th century. Rhondda's surviving colliery buildings have been converted into a fascinating heritage center Rhondda Heritage Park , where visitors can travel through time in an elevator to "Pit Bottom" down one of the original mine shafts.

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There's also a recreation of the working Lewis Merthyr Colliery of the s and a multi-media exhibit about the history of coal mining in the area. Exciting Black Gold Experience Underground Tours are led by former colliery workers the mine closed in , as did most of the more than 53 working collieries in the area. Above ground, a replica village street showcases the lifestyles of area residents who depended upon coal extraction for their livelihoods.

For those wanting to stay on-site, the Heritage Park Hotel offers reasonably priced accommodations and is a particularly fun option during special events and occasions, such as Halloween and Christmas. Also worth a visit is Caffe Bracchi, an on-site restaurant offering a variety of food and beverage options. While not solely a Welsh area — it extends northwards from Monmouthshire into neighboring England — the Wye Valley is an area of outstanding natural beauty and a worthwhile stop for visitors to South Wales.

Here, you'll be rewarded with a chance to explore some of the prettiest, and certainly most striking, landscapes in the UK. Stretching some 45 miles along a lower section of the River Wye, the most scenic parts of the valley are a mix of spectacular limestone gorges and thick forests. Here, you'll find a rich bounty of wildlife, including falcons and hawks, making it a popular area for bird-watching.

The human element is important here, too. Notable man-made additions to this beautiful rural setting include Tintern Abbey , a 12th-century abbey located in the quaint village of Tintern. This well-preserved religious site has been the subject of many poems, perhaps most famously William Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey , widely regarded as some of the Romantic poet's best writing. For those wanting to learn more about the abbey's strong connection to the arts — as well as its long, rich history — the on-site visitor center is worth a stop.

Just 23 miles north of Cardiff, the town of Merthyr Tydfil is a great place from which to begin exploring the Brecon Beacons National Park.

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Not only is it on the National Cycle Route, it's also where you'll find the Brecon Mountain Railway , a narrow-gauge heritage railway that travels five miles into the Brecon Beacons. Due to its ability to reach remote corners of the region that are inaccessible to cars, it's as popular with hikers as it is with steam enthusiasts.

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The castle itself hosts numerous cultural and musical events throughout the year, too, while the historic Old Town Hall has been converted into the Red House arts center. Blaenavon is one of the best-preserved examples of a traditional South Wales iron and coal town. Although part of the town dates from the late s, most of its buildings are representative of an early to mid-Victorian Welsh industrial community, with much of it built before The town is famous for the Blaenavon's ironworks , also known as "Big Pit" "Pwll Mawr" , the old blast furnaces and foundries of which are now part of the fascinating Big Pit National Coal Museum.

Even the tower of the hydraulic lift, used to raise the ore-laden iron wagons, has survived. Things to do here include touring the workshops, winding engines, and workers' residential areas admission to these is free. Entry to the foot-deep shaft as part of the Real Underground Experience gives visitors a first-hand impression of the tough life of a miner. Give us a call. We use cookies to improve your website experience.

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