Brecon, the town in the Brecon Beacons, is tiny and well worth visiting.
You’ll eat well, meet kind people, and when the clouds drift away, you’ll see startling views.
We heard many remarks about the Brecon (Breck-In) Beacons before our trip: beautiful mountains, strenuous hiking, great place to stargaze.
We didn’t hear that the ratio of sheep to people is 30:1, but we saw all manner of sheep—white and wooly, newborn, black-faced. They ate near the fence by the road and were scattered so far across the empty landscape that we marveled at what roundup time must be like.
Within the Park boundaries, there are five castles, three waterfalls and thirty standing stones.
Few cities and few roads dot the Park, but there are multiple trails encompassing a variety of fitness levels.
Then there’s the quaint town of Brecon.
Arriving around three o’clock for an early and welcome check-in at the Flag & Castle Inn, the sweet-mannered Lauren made us feel immediately at home. The Inn is cozy, old, with foot-thick walls, and a perfect location over the bridge from the main part of town. We’d stay again anytime.
Having only one night here between Merthyr Tydfil (Murtha Tid-vale) and Saundersfoot, proved problematic as we discovered more and more that we wanted to explore. We walked The Promenade along the Usk River and took cloud-encased pictures of the hills across the way. We strolled around the former castle, now hotel, and wished we could pop in for a look around–but guests only.
On the grounds of the Brecon Cathedral, we drank refreshing lattes and nibbled pastries (a Welsh Cake and Bara Brith) at the Pilgrim’s Cafe, sitting outside and watching the restoration work on the church. Inside the Cathedral, we marveled at the number of tombs resting in the church floor, many inscriptions lost under the tread of too many feet. The National Churches Trust site, states that the term “stinkin’ rich” comes from the wealthy being buried inside the churches and the accompanying smell of decay.
Within the park are five notable peaks with wonderful names such as (east to west): Waun Rydd, Pen Y Fan, Fan Fawr, Fan Gyhirych, and Cribarth. Pen Y Fan, which was visible for us from a few angles, is the highest peak in South Wales at 2,907 feet above sea level. If you plan a hike here, be prepared, the weather makes frequent changes.
The staff members (two young fellows) we interacted with at the Brecon Tourist Information Centre were informational and helpful. They even assisted us with bus information to connect us to the train station in Swansea.
There are no trains within the Park boundaries, but buses are plentiful. Ride once and your admiration for the skill of drivers will be a lifetime memory!
Brecon should be repeated and lingered upon. Thoroughly route your hike, ensure you have appropriate all-weather gear and hit the trails. We’ll hope you have a cloudless day so those peaks are viewable from all angles!
Read: Exploring South Wales