Not many regions can claim to be home of a National Park, UNESCO Geopark, International Dark Sky park, National Nature Reserves, as well as severalSpecial Areas of Conservation and Sites of Scientific Interest! When we were deciding which areas of Wales should be included in our signature group tours, including the Brecon Beacons was a no-brainer. In less than an hour from Cardiff, our Highs, Lows & Falls tour lands us in the heart of the Brecon Beacons. In small groups, and a small but comfortable and spacious vehicle, we are able to get to the places that others can’t reach; off-the-beaten-track Wales.
The first, most striking features of the Brecon Beacons are its mountains. Not particularly high or craggy; what they may lack in stature they make up for in their uniquely curvaceous aesthetics. Carved out during the Ice Age 18,000 years ago, their valleys are beautifully u-shaped, offering sweeping views between the peaks. Dramatic escarpments are topped by open grassland; home to many species of wildflower in the Summer, and often covered in a layer of snow in the Winter.
As we wind through the tiny lanes we’ll often see sheep grazing, buzzards circling overhead, rabbits and pheasants darting into the hedges, and if we’re really lucky we’ll see red kites soaring overhead and wild ponies roaming the open moorland.
The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable; strong sunshine one minute and a torrential downpour the next; making for the most beautifully dramatic light plays across the mountains.
On face value, the Brecon Beacons is stunningly beautiful. But scratch the surface, and incredible though it may seem, as we stand upon the mountain tops looking down, below our feet a very unique set of events is unfolding. As water makes its inevitable path downhill, a few miles downstream it will meet a layer of limestone, which, over thousands of years, it dissolves and erodes to form a huge network of fascinating cave systems, such as at Porth yr Ogof – where the entire river Mellte disappears underground; and Dan yr Ogof – a publicly accessible showcaves park.
Our day tour visits the caves in season, and for those that would like to explore them further we offer an overnight stay in the park followed by a day of caving with experienced caving activity providers.
And it’s not just caves that this special Welsh mountain water has carved out. As rivers have roared down through wooded valleys through the millennia, they’ve taken full advantage of any cracks in their sandstone beds to cut down into the mudstone below, resulting in several series of spectacular waterfalls. We wander this fairytale landscape and explore several of our favourite falls during our day tour. To get even more up close and personal with these falls and rivers you can stay another day and go gorge walking or canyoning here.
A tour designed first and foremost for wilderness and landscape lovers, there is nonetheless fascinating recent human history here; from bronze-age, through Roman times, the Middle Ages through to more recent history – being at the heart of the Industrial Revolution; history lovers will have plenty to feast on also!
So, if you’re in Cardiff with a spare day, pack your walking boots, your camera and your sense of adventure and give us a call!