These two stops were the last on an extended weekend roadtrip with my (George’s) parents. Other stops included Lyme Regis, Bath and our personal favorite, the Pembrokeshire Coast. The narrow roads that connect the Welsh countryside moonlight as a sheep safari path. February in the Brecon Beacons was exactly as it should be: damp and foggy.
I believe this type of “dreaded weather” only brings out the lush green beneath the sleeping trees. The rare hint of sunlight only mutes the colors of these fertile hills.
The picture below is a perfect example of the backseat-camera out the window-heat on type of photography that made this trip fun. As always, I was driving and closely listening to directions from my wife and mother to “stop the car so we can look at this sheep.” These are the things inland Welsh holidays are made of-country driving and taking time to enjoy the journey.
Carreg Cennen Castle is located in the far west of the Brecon Beacons. The ruins of this once great fortress are well worth the visit. Not only are visitors able to explore the ground and first storey of the castle, but there is also a cave! I would suggest torches for the cave, but the flashlights from four mobile phones made the journey beneath a bit more exhilarating.
Due to the weather, you can’t get a true perspective from our photos. This castle is perched on a cliff from which you can see for miles. I would recommend coming on a clear day to fully enjoy this amazing view.
From the picture below you can see the muddy trail leading up to the castle. The visitor’s centre provides a wealth of information on the history of the castle and how many hands it passed through.
The visitor’s centre also has a lovely tea room with plenty of space for walking groups. We were almost alone on the cold February day we visited.
We drove over to the border between Wales and England to visit Tintern Abbey. To get here, we had to drive into England then cross back into Wales. The abbey is on the west side of the river and England begins on the opposite side. If you read the information just outside the visitor’s centre, you will learn that the abbey was inhabited by the Cistercian monks who lived in poverty, silence, and chastity. For 400 years it served its purpose until Henry the VIII dissolved all monasteries in England, Wales, and Ireland in 1536. Any valuables were sent to the royal treasury, the buildings and land were given to the local lord, and the roof was sold for its lead.
The abbey in these photos is just part of the complex of buildings that is Tintern. The rest are in ruin but there is information posted explaining the purpose of each. It is great to wander the grounds and think about the daily activities of the people who spent their lives within these walls. No matter the weather, this is a great place to stop and it’s not far off the motorway on the way to or from Cardiff.