The following is intended as a brief guide to the area that inspires our craftsmanship. Special thanks must go for extracts used, please visit these links as a sign of appreciation. Further tourism information including attractions, guides and where to stay, eat and drink is available via our Web links page.
Brecon Beacons National Park
The Brecon Beacons National Park is a beautiful area with dramatic scenery, varied wild life and an intriguing past. It is a landscape of contrasts with wild, open moor land and water falls, windswept mountains and sheltered valleys, bustling market towns and isolated farmsteads. In this rural area farming dominates the landscape and Welsh cultural traditions are warmly regarded - especially in the west. This agricultural landscape is rich in wildlife habitats with a wonderful variety of plants and animals some internationally rare. There is a powerful sense of history in the legacy of ancient historic buildings and tell tale signs even in the remotest landscape locations illuminating the story of the people who have lived and worked here during the last five thousands years.
The Brecon Beacons national park is one of these 'working' or “lived in” landscapes, which has evolved over the centuries as a mix of natural beauty and human history. The designated area encompassed within this national Park covers some 519 square miles over half of which is 1,000 ft above sea level. Pen Y Fan the highest mountain in South Wales reaches 2,907 ft above sea level (886 metres). It is perhaps easiest to understand the geography of this national park as a quartet of upland ranges. The central massif known as the Brecon Beacons is located between Merthyr Tydfil in the south and Brecon in the north. This includes such notable peaks as Pen y Fan, Cribyn, and Corn Du as well as the most popular high level ridge walk - the Beacons horseshoe.
The Eastern part of this quartet is known as the Black Mountains (plural) which is in the region located between Abergavenny and Crickhowell in the south with Hay on Wye to the North. In the far West of the National Park is the upland range known as the Black Mountains. This remote almost wilderness like location contains one of the finest ridge walks anywhere in England or Wales encompassing the Carmarthen Fans. Sandwiched between the Brecon Beacons central massif and the Black Mountain in the West can be found Forest Fawr roughly located between Ystradfellte and waterfall country in the south with Sennybridge in the north…… extract from www.brecon-beacons.com
Wye valley & the Vale of Usk
The Wye Valley and Vale of Usk, a land boasting truly magnificent scenery and a wealth of historic treasures - jewels such as world famous Tintern Abbey and the time-ravaged castles of the Welsh borderlands. Wales and England meet here. 'Croeso i Gymru' means 'Welcome to Wales' - a greeting you'll see on road signs as you approach from England. A mixture of both Welsh and English influences are also evident in the historic towns of Chepstow, Monmouth, Abergavenny, Usk, Caldicot, and Newport (Wales's 'newest' city).
The peace and tranquillity awaiting you are a far cry from the sounds of border warfare that echoed here for centuries. The Welsh, English and Marcher Lords fought hard for control of the territory and the legacy is Monmouthshire's rich and colourful history, characterised by more castles per square mile than probably anywhere else in Britain.
The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Brecon Beacons National Park are protected, special areas of countryside with unique, stunning landscapes. They offer endless opportunities for outdoor pursuits - walking, fishing, canal-cruising, golf, cycling, canoeing, gliding…… extract taken from Visit Wales
Set on the north bank of the River Usk the town has always been an important market place serving the surrounding countryside, a tradition which continues today with busy retail, craft and antique markets held in the impressive market hall. It is dominated by three nearby mountains - the Blorenge, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Skirrid Fawr.
Abergavenny is a popular walking and outdoor activity destination, and for history enthusiasts the recently designated Blaenavon Industrial Landscape World Heritage Site, which includes the tranquil Monmouth and Brecon Canal, is right on the doorstep.
There is also a rich religious local heritage. St Mary’s Prioty Church has an impressive collection of medieval monuments including the famous Jesse carving, and nearby Patrishow Church has a beautiful carved oak chancel screen and gallery. The Holy Mountain (Skirrid Fawr) is associated with much religious legend whilst the grandeur of Llanthony Abbey, set amidst the mountains, has inspired visitors for centuries. … extract taken from Visit Wye Valley.com.
Nestling amongst the gentler Monmouthshire hills, along the banks of the river Usk, the town has many historic features including a ruined castle dating back to Norman times. Many of the narrow streets have cobbled pavements and a varied array of buildings, some dating back to the seventeenth century. Whilst no longer a market town, Usk has a variety of individual shops, particularly antique, floral and clothing outlets. Popular with tourists, the town has a large number of delightful pubs, hotels and restaurants all offering a wide range of cuisine to suit every taste.
In the middle of the town is Twyn Square, with a Victorian clock as its centre piece. Usk is already widely known for its floral displays which have won awards in Wales, Britain and Europe over the last 18 years, and add to the picturesque quality of the town…… extract taken from Welcome to Usk