Notices

Welsh Valleys by car

Reply

Jun 3rd, 2013, 11:46 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,225
Welsh Valleys by car

Planning a trip to UK next year and we want to include at least a week in Wales. Our style is to drive ourselves and stay at coaching inns or b&bs. We've travelled across North Wales (catching the Holyhead ferry to Ireland) and South Wales (Laughanne, Hay-on-Wye etc). We fancy getting a feel for the countryside, the valleys, the choral music, in between. Specific places on our list include Portmeirion and Strata Florida (near Tregaron). We're looking at coming in from Bristol over the Severn and heading up toward Monmouth? Abergavenny? Merthyr Tidfil? (any suggestions here?) then on to Aberystwith (Strata Florida and Portmeirion could be daytrips from there) and coming back across to Shrewsbury. Any ideas and suggestions about scenic driving routes and good places to stay would be most welcome. Thank you.
twoflower is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 4th, 2013, 05:16 PM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,225
Sorry, must have hit the "submit" button when I meant to hit the "preview" one. Just to narrow the enquiry down a bit, we have fairly much worked out our intinerary in broad terms, but I'm particularly interested in opinions on the relative merits of Merthyr Tidfil vs Abergavenny vs Monmouth as a place to stay for a few nights, plus advice on specific inns/B&Bs etc, and which of the network of valleys running north-south from the A465 between Abergavenny to Merthyr Tidfil would make for the most scenic driving experience.
twoflower is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 5th, 2013, 04:55 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,947
I cannot imagine anyone choosing to stay in Merthyr Tydfil unless they really needed to. It is a most depressing place, with high unemployment, poor housing and mean streets. Monmouth and Abergavenny both have much more charm, although I have not stayed in either and cannot recommend specific hotels or B & Bs.

The valleys of South Wales had very good coal seams, and the housing and environment reflect that. The mines are now virtually all closed, although one near Blaenavon has been retained as a tourist attraction - check out Big Pit, which is part of the National Museum of Wales and so has free admission. You do go underground in a traditional cage, and the guides are mostly ex-miners. The valleys are not "scenic", but are of historic interest, especially if your family lived in that area. In fact, the area was unpopulated until the mines were developed, so miners came from other parts of the U.K. to work there.

The A465 "Heads of the Valleys" is more scenic, as it runs between the Brecon Beacons (wild moorland) to the north and the industrial valleys to the south. It was built to open up the area, and is quite fast as it swoops over and round the many small valleys. The Brecon Beacons themselves are very scenic and a good walking area, but can attract bad weather because of their altitude.

If you are looking for somewhere small and historic to stay, you might like to consider the small towns and villages along the Usk Valley west of Abergavenny like Brecon and Talybont. They are on the A40, which was a coaching road en route from London to Ireland.

If you are looking for somewhere really rural and remote, without being bleak and windswept, it would be worth looking at the area bordered by Abergavenny, Monmouth, Ross on Wye and Hereford. This is by no means a gastronomic backwater, however, so if your interest is in food, check out the Walnut Tree at Llanddewi Skirrid near Abergavenny. It is not the only good restaurant in the area.
chartley is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 6th, 2013, 07:32 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1
Hi,

This came up on an alert and I thought I'd drop you a line. We're a campaign paid for by what's called Valleys Regional Tourism so all the councils and towns in The Valleys are involved. Just thought I'd tell you that so you know it isn't impartial advice

If you're planning a visit why not have a look at our website? We've got a guide to what's ons and places to visit along different themes, as well as an idea of accommodation.

http://thevalleys.co.uk/
LoveTheValleys is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 20th, 2013, 05:23 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,225
Thanks for all those suggestions. Yes, Chartley, I accept that much mining country is "ugly", but sometimes there is beauty to be found even in ugliness. The dark granite industrial towns of England's north are an example. Maybe I'm weird, or maybe it's the romantic in me, but when I hear Max Boyce's version of Idris Davies' "When we Walked to Merthyr Tydfil" I feel I want to go there. Sure, the lyrics paint no pretty picture, but a place capable of evoking such fondness of feeling must have something going for it. Or maybe not...watch this space!
twoflower is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 21st, 2013, 12:28 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,947
Let us know how your "nostalgie de la boue" theme goes. It is quite the unlike the usual themes of gardens, castles, stately homes and royalty.
chartley is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 20th, 2013, 11:02 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,225
Gardens, castles, stately homes, royalty....yes, we did those themes the first time we went to UK, back in 1992. We prefer more earthy themes now....last time it was village greens and coaching inns!
twoflower is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:31 PM.