With Roman camps, medieval castles, Iron Age Hill forts and a World Heritage Site, there is a huge amount of heritage to learn about in the Brecon Beacons National park. Some of these tours led by James Cresswell, have a significant personal element, because they also feature his own family history.
2015 Dates: June 27th – August 25th
Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays only
Start point: Your accommodation in the Brecon Beacons N.P. area, or Abergavenny train station, or Brecon bus interchange or Hay-on-Wye bus stop
Full Day: £35 per person (Group size 4-7) Minimum spend £140
Mini 2 hour tour: £10 per person (Group size 4 -7)Minimum spend £40
THE BIRTH OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
My great great grandfather Edward Pritchard Martin who was the general manager of the Blaenavon Ironworks
Llangynidr Mountain – we admire the glaciated features of the Black Mountains and learn about dolines, which are a type of sink hole.
Clydach Gorge – here we do a 2 miles (3km) walk observing iron stones and coal deposits as well as a beautiful waterfall that flow over the Farewell Rock.
Big Pit – this is part of the Blaenavon World Heritage Site. Here we go on an underground tour led by former miners.
Blaenavon Ironworks – also part of the World Heritage Site. Here we learn how the iron making processes of Blaenavon revolutionised the world, and additionally learn howmy great great grandfather used to be the General Manager here.
This tour is also listed in our Scenery Explained Tour section because it is equally a geological and a heritage tour.
The Big Pit
The Blaenavon Ironworks
CASTLES OF THE BLACK MOUNTAINS
With more than 300 castles Wales is one of the best places in the world to visit castles. Join us on a tour of our local castles, accompanied with detailed historical information.
Bronllys Castle – founded soon after 1144 and lies just outside Talgarth
Castell Dinas, Pengenffordd – at 450 m this is the highest castle in England and Wales. It is positioned to defend the Rhiangoll pass between Talgarth and Crickhowell.
Llangorse Lake Crannog – The only Crannog in England and Wales built by the King of Brycheiniog in 916
Tretower Castle and Court – A 12th century motte and bailey castle that had residential buildings added in the 14th century.
Crickhowell Castle – built in 1121 by a family of Norman Lords.
Llanthony Priory – one of the great medieval buildings of Wales, a former Augustinian priory that dates back to the year 1100
The two Castles of Hay-on-Wye – The main fortress is possibly the oldest Norman tower in Wales dating back to 1070
BRECON AND THE ZULU WAR MINI TOUR
Additional Museum entrance fee £5 each on top of tour cost
Join me for a personal tour of Brecon’s and my family’s connection to the South Wales Borderers and the Zulu War.
The Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh
Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh – The regiment who defended Rorke’s Drift were based at Brecon and later became the South Wales Borderers. At this battle 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded more than in any other British military engagement as 150 men held out against 3,000 to 4,000 Zulus. Join me for a tour of the museum which as well as having an exhibit on the Zulu War has an exhibit on the Second World War which features my grandfather who commanded the 6th Battalion South Wales Borderers in Burma.
Havard Chapel in Brecon Cathedral – Brecon Cathedral started life as the Benedictine Priory of St John the Evangelist in 1093 and was built by the Normans soon after they conquered Brychieniog. It became a Cathedral in 1923 when the Diocese of Brecon and Swansea was created. Inside the Cathedral is the Havard Chapel where the Colours that were rescued from the battle ofIsandlwana in the Zulu War. My grandfather was the last man to parade these Colours through Brecon before they were permanently hung up on display. My grandfather also has a plaque on a pew in the chapel.
HERITAGE OF THE FFOREST FAWR GEOPARK
Llandovery from the castle mound © Alan Bowring
Carrig Cennen Castle
Pen-y-crug – a 2 mile walk to this Roman Fort above Brecon
Llandovery Castle – constructed in 1116 but left in ruins by Owain Glynder in 1403
Garn Goch – We take a 2 mile walk this prehistoric hill fort which is the largest in South Wales.
Carreg Cennen Castle – we explore the castle and visit the cave beneath the castle.
Henllys Vale – We take a 2 mile walk around this former colliery and learn about the indutrail revolution
INCLUDED IN THESE TOURS
Guiding and interpretation from local man and Brecon Beacons Ambassador James Cresswell
A luxury homemade picnic lunch from Beeton For Time catering.
NOT INCLUDED IN THESE TOURS