A walk on the wild (weather) side

Brecon Beacons Walks, Upper Usk Valley

Upper Usk Valley Community Walk Group

Our first Community Walk completed, big thanks to the 18 people who extracted themselves from the cosy surroundings of home, especially after a stormy Sunday morning.

A very pleasant mix of people came along, covering all ages and with some having travelled from Llanwrtyd Wells and Brecon to join us in our scenic surroundings. The route took in an ancient track past Maesydd Farm to the weir at Abersenni, with the Afon Senni flowing at an impressive rate.

It was then up to Twyn y Gaer – an iron age hill fort overlooking Defynnog & Sennybridge and offering great views over the Central Beacons and the Carmarthen Fans as well as the Senni & Crai Valleys, and unfortunately some great views of the incoming weather too!

Brecon Beacons Walking

Hail storm hurry’s group to Pub!

The exploration of the fort itself was cut short by some ominous grey clouds and we descended the final part of the route back to the Tanners Arms, Defynnog with the accompaniment of a hailstorm, sleet and even a clap of thunder, which made for a complete contrast to an hour or so of pleasant sunshine!

You can see more photo’s from the walk on our Upper Usk Valley Facebook Page.

Very pleasant to have everyone’s company and that everyone enjoyed – we look forward to the next walk on February 23rd in Trecastle.

Defynnog Walks

Twyn y Gaer Walk Route

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5 birds to spot in the Upper Usk Valley

If you’ve been inspired by the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend you’ll find plenty of birds to spot in the Upper Usk Valley in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Upper Usk Valley in the Clouds

Visit the Upper Usk Valley

Eagle owl in Defynnog in the Upper Usk Valley Brecon Beacons

Many birds to be seen!

Special birds that have been seen in the area include:

  • Greater Spotted Woodpecker
  • Red Kite
  • Snow Bunting
  • Eagle Owl
  • Pied Wagtail

To find out more about birdwatching in the Brecon Beacons, Brecknock Wildlife Trust has bird-spotting tips and there are stunning nature reserves in and around the Upper Usk Valley area

Feed red kites – red kite feeding station

Community Walks 2014

Upper Usk Valley Walking

The stunning Upper Usk Valley. Photo courtesy of Tomos Bidgood.

Explore the Upper Usk Valley with a series of Community Walks taking in some of the history and stunning views of the area during 2014.

Sunday 26th January 2014: Meet at 2.00pm

Tanners Arms, Defynnog

On the last Sunday of every month, we will visit a different part of the area, moving around the villages within the Upper Usk Valley, discovering more about the history, nature and scenery of the area, encouraging everyone to get out and explore what’s on their own doorstep.

From Roman Camps, hidden valleys, ancient bridges, waterfalls, reservoirs, mystic wells, legends  and old woodlands, the Upper Usk Valley offers some amazing landscapes and views, our aim is to explore these via a programme of short, social walks aimed at all levels, with each one taking 2-3 hours, just about enough to make you feel as if you’ve earned that drink at the end!

These free walks are being organised by Trecastle based activity provider – Expeditions Wales who run walking and camping activities for well over a 1000 people a year – so you’re in safe hands!

Defynnog 2

Looking over the Senni Valley towards Pen y Fan & Corn Du

Do I have to be fit to do these walks? No – our aim is that everybody can enjoy these walks at their own pace. The walk leaders from Expeditions Wales will normally be at the back to make sure everybody gets back safely.

Will there be big hills? To get the best views, we will need to go uphill at times, though we’ve set the routes out so the gradients are fairly gradual and there’s nothing wrong with stopping to gather your breath while you take in the views!

What if the weather’s bad? Luckily we aren’t going too high, so we’ll escape the worst of the wind and rain (although we’d like to promise that it’ll be sunny), most of the routes are sheltered, so nobody will get too cold. A waterproof jacket of some kind will keep the wind off and although they aren’t too bad, some of the routes will be a bit muddy after all the rain recently.

The path coming down from Twyn y Gaer

The path coming down from Twyn y Gaer

Do I need specialist kit? No – just what you’d normally wear outdoors, wellies or boots are fine and a waterproof jacket, hat, gloves and a pocketful of snacks will be enough for the few hours we’ll be out. The leaders will be carrying all the emergency equipment and first aid kits. It’s better to be dressed warmly and walk slowly, than feel cold and rush it to stay warm.

I’ve got a medical issue – can I still come? Of course, it is walking for all wherever possible. We will be asking for medical forms to be completed, though, if you are concerned at all, you can email Aled Davies (aled@expeditionswales.co.uk) or phone 07791 739025 if you have any questions. We’d rather know about any medical conditions in advance rather than have nasty surprises out on the hills.

Walk 1 is based from the Tanners Arms, Defynnog, where following the walk, there is the opportunity to try a small glass of local ale, or if you’re feeling brave, book yourself in for Sunday lunch, using our walk as an excuse for some post lunch exercise?

The route takes in Abersenni Bridge and weir, before exploring the old hill fort of Twyn y Gaer, offering excellent views over the Crai & Senni valleys and looking down onto Defynnog and Sennybridge.

This walk is 6km or 3.2miles long and should take around 2-3 hours at a relaxed pace, there are some muddy sections and about 30 minutes of walking uphill, though the views will be worth it! See the poster below, or email Aled Davies from Expeditions Wales (aled@expeditionswales.co.uk) with any questions or for more details.

For more about the area follow Upper Usk Valley on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Walks Poster January 2014

Visit a Green and Successful Farm Self Catering Business

 Visit to a Green and Successful Farm Self-Catering Business 

Aberhyddnant Farm Cottages, Crai Wed 5th Feb  10 – 2 pm lunch included

Aberhyddnant Farm Cottages

Aberhyddnant Farm Cottages

Liz and Paul Matthews run  a green and successful  farm self-catering business on Aberhyddnant Farm. They promote “how to be green and live a normal life” to their guests by highlighting  some of the good business sense ways in which they run their business including:

  • heating and hot water from a  biomass boiler using sustainably managed timber from the farm
  • electricity produced from micro hydro scheme and offering free electric vehicle charging
  • promoting local food including organic produce from their farm
  • promoting all things local to see and do while on holiday minimising car use

The visit will include a presentation by the Carbon Trust covering the  basic questions you need to consider before  installing a particular renewable technology  at your site. The speaker will be available during the visit and over lunch for 1:1 advice. There will be a tour of the farm including the biomass boiler and the micro hydro scheme.

To book a place please contact Laura Thomas : on 01874 620490 or by email laura.thomas@beacons-npa.gov.uk

Click here for further events organised by Brecon Beacons Tourism

To find out more about Aberhyddnant Farm Cottages visit their website

Aberhyddnant is a 220 acre working organic hill farm with beef cattle, sheep, pigs and laying hens as well as various horses and ponies. We are part of Tir Gorfal a whole farm environmental scheme through which we have replanted hedges, provided Lapwing habitats and are encouraging biodiversity by persevering and protecting our streamside corridors and ancient woodlands.
Guests are welcome to walk around the farm, either following a marked trial or just going their own way and ask as many questions as they wish during their stay. We would also request your help to monitor some of the 50 plus nest boxes many of which may be seen from your cottage windows.
The two cottages have been sympathetically converted from existing farm buildings. At one time Nyth y Wennol would have been a hive of activity as this was the old dairy where butter and cheese were made for home use and for sale. Bryniau Pell has been converted from a cart shed and hay loft – traditionally an ideal place for the farm lads to court their true loves.