SELF DRIVE TOURS IN THE TWIZY ELECTRIC CAR

Places where you can charge your Twizy while out on a Self Guided tour

Twizy slef drive, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

James Cresswell driving a Twizy electric car

Do you want to learn out the wonderful Scenery, Wildlife and Heritage of the Brecon Beacons in an environmentally friendly way?

Then why self guide yourself on one of our tours with a Twizy electric car.

Book into Tara B&B, hire a Twizy through us and I can give you some more information about your chosen self guided tour.

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SCENERY EXPLAINED GEO-TOURS

SCENERY EXPLAINED GEO-TOURS

Understanding geology is a form of time travel, know how to read the rocks and you can understand what happened in the past. These landscape and geology tours are led by geoscientist James Cresswell, but they are as technical as you want them to be. Whether you are looking for a basic gist of the reasons why the landscape looks like it does, or you want an in depth deep understanding of the earth processes at work,then these are the tours for you.

TOUR DATES

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

PRICES

£35 per person (Group size 4-7)

Minimum spend £140

TOURS IN THE FFOREST FAWR GEOPARK

(WESTERN BRECON BEACONS NATIONAL PARK)

FFOREST FAWR GEOPARK EXPLAINED…

Bwa Maen fold, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

Bwa Maen fold

Carreg Cennen Castle, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

Carreg Cennen Castle

Henrhyd waterfall, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

Henrhyd waterfall

 Mountain Centre – for the glaciated peaks of the Brecon Beacons

Maen Lia – a standing stone that is an upturned glacial erratic

Porth Ogrof – the largest cave opening in Wales

Dinas Rock – a large out crop of limestone

Bwa Maen Fold – an impressive fold

The Farewell Rock – Below this there is no more coal it also contains fossil trees.

Henrhyd waterfall – This the highest waterfall in South Wales. It flows over the Farewell Rock and was used in the Batman films.

Carreg Cennen Castle – This impressive ruin sits on an inlier of limestone that has been produced by faulting.

Sawdde Gorge – This gorge cuts through Silurain and Ordovician rocks and has in the past yielded imporat fossils.

Llandovery – For geologists this name is famous the world over because it is the name of an epoch in the SIlurian period and was named after this geopark town.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Fforest Fawr.pdf Fforest Fawr.pdf
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WHAT IS THE FFOREST FAWR GEOPARK?

The Fforest Fawr Geopark was established in 2005 and was Wales’ first Geopark. It occupies the western two thirds of the Brecon Beacons National Park and was established due to its special geology and human stories.

Read more: fforestfawrgeopark.org.uk

The European Network of Geoparks website.

The Global Network of Geoparks website.

LLANDOVERY AND THE GOLDEN SPIKES

To read a scientific paper about these stratotypes please click here

The town of Llandovery lends its name to the  Llandovery Epoch of the Silurian Period. This is a globally used term describe the time period from 443.4 million to 433.4 million years ago.

On this tour we complete a Llandovery Town walk where we examine the different building stones.

The second part of the tour is more obscure!! We seek out 2 otherwise unremarkable outcrops of rock that form the Global Stratotype Section Points that define the Telychianand Aeronian Stages.

These stages are globally used subdivisions of the Llandovery epoch. The Telychian Age lasted from 438.5 million to 433.4 million years ago, and is named after Pen-lan-Telych Farm near Llandovery. This outcrop is in a disused quarry near the road side.

The Aeronian Age lasted from 440.8 million to 438.5 million years ago, and is named after Cemcoed-Aeron Farm near Llandovery. This outcrop is remote on a forestry track that may have to be walked to.

BRYNAMAN, GARNANT AND HENLLYS VALE

This is a walking tour based on 3 of the Fforest Fawr Geopark’s published Geotrails. The location of this tour is about 1 hour away from Tara B&B.

1. Henllys Vale 2 miles (3.5km) Learn about the coal measures and industrial heritage.

2. Rocky Ravines 2.5 miles (4km) Learn how the village of Brynaman owes its very existence to the geology on which it sits.

3. From Cwm to Cwm 5 miles (8km) We explore the geology of Cwm Pedol and Cwm Berach on the slopes of Drysgol near the village of Garnant.

OTHER TOURS WE OFFER IN THE FFOREST FAWR GEOPARK

The Best of the Beacons West

The Heritage of the Fforest Fawr Geopark

TOURS IN THE EAST OF THE  BRECON BEACONS NATIONAL PARK

THE BLACK MOUNTAINS EXPLAINED…

Coomin Bychan, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

The Black Mountains behind Felindre

Pwll y Wrach, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

Pwll y Wrach waterfall

This tour takes place very near to our base Tara B&B and explains the Old Red Sandstone that makes up the Black Mountains and the glacial processes that have carved out the present landscape.

Commin Bychan – For glacial features, and an overview of Old Red Sandstone strata.

Pwll y Wrach Nature Reserve –  Where important fish fossil have been found and learn about fossil soil horizons.

Cockitt Hill – We have a short climb to find fossilised worm burrows and an explanation of the formation of nearbyLlangorse Lake.

Bwlch – We visit an old quarry and observe fossilised river channels.

Llangorse Lake, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

Llangorse Lake was formed in the last Ice Age

IRON STONES, COAL AND A WORLD HERITAGE SITE

Baenavon Ironworks, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

The Blaenavon Ironworks

Big Pit, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

The Big Pit

Llangyndir 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 the iron making processes of Blaenavon revolutionised the world, and additionally learn that the great great grandfather of your very own guide James Cresswell used to be the General Manager here.

This tour is also listed in our Heritage Tour section because it is equally geological and a heritage tour.

TOURS OUTSIDE THE BRECON BEACONS NATIONAL PARK BOUNDARY

DINOSAUR FOOTPRINTS AND MORE – GLAMORGAN HERITAGE COAST

Lavernock Point, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

Lavernock Point for ammonites

Dinosaur footprints, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

Dinosaur footprints

This is a trip down to the South Wales coast about 1.5 hours from the Brecon Becons National Park.

Lavernock Point – which is the most southerly location in Wales. Here the Triassic and Jurassic boundary can be seen as well as ammonites in the wave-cut platform.

Dinosaur footprints – then we visit a location near to Sully where the best preserved Triassic dinosaur trackway in Europe can be seen.

Barry Island -we then head to Barry island and observe fossil corals in Carboniferous limestone and a site where Triassic rock over lie the Carboniferous rocks.

The order of locations visited on this tour will depend on tide times.

THE ELAN VALLEY AND THE MID WALES ORE FIELD

Elan Valley, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

Pen-y-garreg dam in the Elan Valley

Cwmystwyth Scenery Explained Wales day tours

The mine-scape of Cwmystwyth

This tour takes us a short distance north of Tara B&B (about 45 minutes) to the beautiful scenery of Mid Wales.

Elan Valley – here we see fossilised remains of great submarine landslides called turbidites. We also admire the glaciated scenery and learn the story of the Victorian dams built to provide Birmingham with water.

Cwmystwyth – here we visit the remains of Mid Wales’ largest former metal mine. In the spoil heaps it is possible to find your own beautiful specimens of galena and chalcopyrite.

Devil’s Bridge – here we walk down to see breathtaking waterfalls that cut through the Llandovery aged rocks.

Llywernog Silver Lead Mine – here we go on an underground tour and learn how hard the life was for these metal miners.

WOOLHOPE DOME – HEREFORDSHIRE

Woolhope Dome, Scenery Explained Wales day tours

This tour occurs 45 minutes east of Tara B&B in Herefordshire. This fascinating geological structure cuts off Woolhope making it one of the most tranquil areas of Herefordshire.

The first stop is  Swardon Quarry on the western outer side of the dome. Here some fossils can be seen and there are views over Hereford towards the Black Mountains. AtPark Coppice  a view of the two parallel ridges that form the eastern edge of the dome can be seen.

At Marcle Ridge Quarry we have a closer look at the Aymestry Limestone that forms the outer ridge of the dome and then walk 1.5 miles to Woolhope village  finding a few fossils on the way. After our visit to the village we climb back up the inner ridge, about 1 mile, to a site with fossils and an old lime kiln. Here we eat our picnic lunch. We then find oursleves in the gap between the two ridges. We climb to top of the outside ridge and walk back to the vehicle with wonderful views of the Malvern Hills and distant Cotswolds. We then visit Wonder landslip and Woolhope Cockshootwhere faults can be seen. The day ends with a visit to Rudge End Quarry which is in the Woolhope Limestone that forms the centre of the dome. This site is also a SSSI for Botany.

INCLUDED IN THESE TOURS

Guiding and interpretation from Mountain Leader and MSc. geo-scientist.

A luxury homemade picnic lunch from Beeton For Time catering.

NOT INCLUDED IN THESE TOURS

*Transportation

*Due to insurance regulations transportation cannot be part of these tours. However I am insured to give you a lift from site to site in exchange for the standard mileage costs, this will be just a few pounds each. My vehicle can take up to 4 passengers alternatively I am happy to travel with you in your vehicle.

Fforest Fawr part 11

lake

Hotspots in Fforest Fawr Geopark

  1. Pontneddfechan with: the Waterfall Centre, the Farewell Rock, the walk through ‘Waterfall Country’, the faulted anticline of Bwa Maen, the Neath Disturbance, silica mines, an abandoned gunpowder works, and the Cwm Gwrelych Geo Heritage trail (two miles away).
  2. The Upper Swansea Valley with: the Geology Trail from Craig-y-nos Country Park to the summit of Cribarth which includes fossils, a Variscan anticline and the Swansea Valley Disturbance; Penwyllt with Britain’s deepest cave, limestone quarries and abandoned village and train station. It is also possible to visit The National Show cave Centre for Wales, which is not affiliated with the Geopark.
  3. The Black Mountain near Llanddeusant which includes the Geopark’s wildest scenery (Fig 10), best glacial features and excellent outcrops of the Devonian Brownstones, Plateau Beds, Grey Grits and Carboniferous Limestone, as well as the legend of ‘The Lady of the Lake.’
  4. Carreg Cennen Castle near Llandeilo (Fig 9) with the spectacular castle on top of a limestone cliff, the Carreg Cennen Fault which creates the limestone inlier on which the castle sits.
  5. Pen y Fan and the ridge of the Brecon Beacons. This is the classic Brecon Beacons walk summiting the highest peaks in southern Britain.

6. Brynaman with the Black Mountain Centre, and the nearby Black Mountain quarries (‘Herbert’s Quarry), ‘Rocky Ravines’ and ‘From Cwm to Cwm’ circular walks and the Henllys Vale Geotrail.

PHOTOGRAPHY DAY COURSE

PHOTOGRAPHY DAY COURSE

£35 per person (Group size 4 – 7)

Minimum spend £140

James working as the official photgrapher on a trip in the Russian Arctic.

James was highly commended in the Travel Photographer of the Year Competition 2010http://www.tpoty.com/winners/2010

Photography tuition from Polar Photographer James Cresswell. This course is held at Tara B&B.

We start with 45 minute lesson on how to take better photos. This is a powerpoint presentation.

This is followed by a day out in the Brecon Beacons National Park taking pictures.

The day ends with a session showing you how to make the most of your photos using Photoshop.

This tour is ideal to combine with staying at Tara B&B.

GEO ROAD TRIP OF WALES NORTHERN HALF

COST £350 EACH

based on 2 sharing a room (£100 single supplement)

DATES

 MAY 05 – MAY 08, 2016

This trip will run with a minimum of 4 participants and amaximum of 6

The Elan Valley

The Ogwen Step, with Roman Bridge under the modern bridge. At this site fossil brachiopods can be seen.

Ride the train to the summit of Wales, Mount Snowdon. This great mountain is made from volcanic rock that erupted in the Ordovician and has been sculpted by glaciers in the Ice Ages

Caernarfon Castle part of the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd World Heritage Site

Llanfair P.G. in the GeoMon Geopark in Anglesey, the longest place name in the world and home to blueschist rocks that were formed in ancient subduction zone

South Stack, the location of world class folds in the Cambrian schists and quartzites

The GeoMon Geopark visitor centre at Amlwch Port

Parys Mountain in the 19th Century this was the largest copper mine in the world.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1. Mid Wales: Aberystwyth turbidites, the Silver Mountain mine, Devil’s Bridge, Cwmystwyth mine sites, Elan Valley, Clywedog Reservoir, and Cadair Idris

The day begins on the North Beach of Aberystwyth right by our Bed and Breakfast. The rocks here are made from Silurian submarine mudslides and are known as turbidites. They are some of the best examples of turbidites anywhere in Britain. Later in the morning we leave Aberystwyth and head to the Silver Mountain silver mine. Here we have lunch and can go underground to explore the former mine workings. We then head to nearby Devil’s Bridge and see the 3 bridges on top of each other. We then spend the afternoon on a long scenic drive all the way to Snowdonia. We start by passing through the abandoned mines of Cwmystwyth, through the Elan Valley, a beautiful place containing several dams and reservoirs built by the Victorians to provide water for Birmingham. In the valley there are numerous outcrops of mudstones lain down by turbidites in the Ordovician. Our journey then passes through Rhayader and Llanidloes to the Clywedog Dam, here an old lead mine site can be seen. We then take the mountain road to Machynlleth the ancient capital of Wales and cross the Dovey Valley and enter Snowdonia National Park. We stop to admire the fine views of Cadair Idris before pressing on the Victorian slate quarry capital of Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Day 2: Snowdonia National Park. Pass of Llanberis, Summit of Snowdon, Caernarfon World Heritage Site

Our first stop this morning is the Ogwen Step, where a Roman Bridge can be seen hidden right under the main road bridge. Here tuff beds of volcanic ash can be seen and in one bed there are many fossil brachiopods that were killed by a volcanic eruption. Our next destination is the Pass of Llanberis where we can observe the rock close up. Snowdonia was once part of an ancient caldera. We then continue to the village of Llanberis itself, and visit the National Slate Museum and eat lunch. This is followed by the highlight or at least the high point of the trip, the train ride up to the summit of Snowdon itself. At 1085 m above sea level this is the highest point in Wales. The scenery on a clear day is staggeringly beautiful and the summit is a great place to observe the glacial features of the National Park. After descending the summit we visit the World Heritage Site of Caernarfon Castle where we will stay the night.

Day 3: The West side of GeoMon Geopark in Anglesey: Llanfair P.G., Llanddwyn Island, South Stack and Holyhead

Today is the first of two days in the GeoMon Geopark on the island of Anglesey. Our day begins with a visit to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch, the longest place name in the world of Llanfair P.G> for short! Here we can see Precambrain Blueschist rocks that were formed in a subduction zone. This is followed by a visit the railway station and the famous place name signs. We then head on to  Llanddwyn Island which is famous for Precambrian pillow lavas which were extruded as pulses of lava onto the sea bed where they quickly cooled.  Spectacular melange, created by an ancient subduction zone can be seen in Pilots Cove at the far end of the Island. The visit to Llanddwyn Island will take most of the day and we will eat a picnic lunch there. We then head on to South Stack. This is an RSPB reserve with spectacular Cambrian folded schists and quartzites which are considered to be world class. We then spend the night in the nearby port of Holyhead, which was founded by the Romans.

Day 4: The East side of GeoMon Geopark in Anglesey: Cemaes Bay, Amlwch Port and Geopark Visitor Centre, Parys Mountain

Cemaes Bay near Llanbadrog contains the oldest rocks in England and Wales. These 800 million year old stromatolites are contained with the melange that was formed by the ancient subduction zone. The next location, Amlwch port hosts the visitor centre for the GeoMon Geopark and the Loft Copper Museum, here too can be seen beautifully folded rocks. Parys Mountain is another highlight of the trip. Here smokers, rising from under the sea bed disseminated copper and other metals into the Silurian-age mudstones on the sea floor. During the 19th century, Parys Mountain was the largest copper producer in the world. The ore was exported from Amlwch Port.  When copper prices rise, the mines are to reopen. Mining has taken place sporadically from Bronze Age to present times. We then cross the Menai Strait back to mainland Wales and end the trip in Llandudno

TRAIN TIMES FROM LLANDUDNO JUNCTION

Staying an extra night in Llandudno is well worth it so you can visit the Great Orme Roman copper mines.
However it is possible to get the train home at the end of day 4.
Depart Llandudno Juction at 17:37
Arrival times:
Shrewsbury: 19:24
Aberystwyth: 21:25
Cardiff: 21:42
London: 21:06
These times were correct at the time of writing. Please check these times yourself before committing to a booking.
www.thetrainline.com

INCLUDED IN THIS HOLIDAY

4 nights Bed and Breakfast

Expert guiding and interpretation from an MSc. Geo-scientist.

NOT INCLUDED IN THIS HOLIDAY

Dinner. We will normally eat together but pay our own bills.

Lunch. We will buy our own snacky lunches while on the go.

Night 5 in Llandudno. On request this can be booked but it is possible to travel home by train  that night. Times at the bottom of the itinerary.

*Transportation – see box below.

*Due to insurance regulations transportation cannot be part of this holiday. However I am insured to give you a lift from site to site, in exchange for the standard mileage costs. If 4 people join this holiday the estimated cost will be £37 each. If 6 people join then the estimated cost will be £25 each.

Fforest Fawr part 9

Ice Age

During the Ice Ages most of Wales and northern Britain was covered by Ice. These glaciers have sculpted and shaped the beautiful mountains of the Geopark. In the Geopark there are around 30 different cirques cut into the north facing escarpments of the Black Mountain, Fforest Fawr and Brecon Beacons. In these cirques that have been cut out by glacial erosion there are also moraines. Evidence shows that they did not only form at the last glacial maximum about 20,000 years ago but some of them formed in Younger Dryas stadial of just 12,000 years ago.

The best place to see glacial erosion features and moraines is base of the Black Mountain ridge near to Llanddeusant. Here under the peaks of Bannau Sir Gaer, Picws Du, Fan Brycheiniog and Fan Hir are classic cirques but also depositional features that have been a source of confusion for many geologists. There are moraines that  lie in front of headlands rather than cirque mouths (Fig 8), but they could have been formed as medial moraines when the cirque glaciers were joining the larger ice sheet that covered all of Wales. Another less remote place to look at glacial features is Craig Cerrig-gleisiad off the main A470 near to Storey Arms and Pen-y-Fan. The Fforest Fawr Geopark produces a Geotrail for this area titled ‘Glyn Tarell’.