The Glynneath Gunpowder Works Pontneddfechan were established in 1857 to produce black powder for use in mining and quarrying and operated until the early 1930’s. Since that time the site slowly disintegrated as many of the buildings had to be demolished because of the risk of accidental explosion they posed. The site was taken over by the Brecon Beacons Park authority and has undergone a major restoration project to preserve what remains. When finished you will be able to start your tour in the Pontneddfechan Village Hall and walk along the line of the old tramroad which takes you through the works and past the remains of each of the factory buildings. There will be interpretative boards along the way to help you imagine it in its heyday when 60-70 people were working there.
St Fagans National Museum of History showcases the history of Wales through the people’s everyday lives. The museum is just outside Cardiff and is free to enter though there is a small parking fee.
The main conference building holds two museums with hosehold memorabilia and workplace tools. They even have an early touring caravan with all the latest mod cons? There is a large restaurant in this building as well
The main attractions are outside in the extensive grounds of the original house which still stands and parts are open to visitors. They have gathered up houses from many different eras and transplanted them to the museum. This includes farmhouses, workmen cottages and barns. There is even a high street complete with shops selling Welsh produce. A terrace of houses has been furnished to show how they were modernised throughout several eras.
Several of the buidings such as the mill have live demonstrations during the day and there are also volunteers in the cottages to explain how the people lived.
It is very popular with school groups and can get a little crouded in the tiny cottages. You need to allow a good few hours to do the place justice.
The Brecon Beacons has a number of castles some grander than others. My favourite has to be Tretower Court and Castle, not far from the coach house. It combines a 900 year old tower with a grand Elizabethan court. The setting is a quiet meadow far from the crouds and no better time to visit than late in the day when everyone else has gone home.
The tower was a muster point for the Welsh longbow fighters that went to victory at Agincourt. Their adventures were well recorded and there is a full list of their names as most returned and were paid for their service. The Cadw curator if available can give you a tour that really brings to live what living in the tower was like.
The Elizabethan court came about because the Picards and Vaughans who lived there were rich influential Welsh families out to impress others. The building was added to over time to reflect the current style.
When they departed the court became a farm and all the fineary was replaced with animals.
The court has been returned to about 1470 though with only a few trappings, leaving most to your imagination. Mainly the banquet hall is laid out to a feast and the kitchen contains the latest utensils of the 15th century.
They hold various events throughout the year including re enactors on certain weekends. A must if you like stepping back into history.
If you are looking for a burger with a difference then you should visit Hills Brecon . It is situated just outside Bishop’s Meadows on the outskirts of Brecon. It is a light airy place having had a big makeover from the old caravan park restaurant. You can choose to sit at the restaurant tables or in the bar area with smaller tables and frankly a bit quieter. They only use the best beef from a well known local supplier. you cah choose from the monthly specials or build your own. There are a few other choices for those that do not fancy a burger. We went just before Christmas and had the beef wellington burger , the monthly special. Basically there was a small sliced steak under the burger cooked as you like with a rich wine jus to pour over. Add to that a side of sweet potato fries and you were in clover. They even have a loyalty card so if you go often enough you will get a free one!
The Three Horseshoes Groesfford has always been one of my favourite places to eat in the Brecon Beacons. Having just visited I know why they were recently awarded 2 rosettes for culinary excellence by the AA. This is an outstanding achievement for a small restaurant tucked away in a small residential street. Connor and the team have worked incredibly hard to achieve this and I will happily recommend to our visitors.