There is plenty to do and see for young and old from your base at The Byre, here in the Mid Wales countryside!
At The Byre
A wide grassed path winds its way up the hilly garden at the rear of the property, and the top is an excellent vantage point from which to watch our local bird population (don’t worry – there is a bench along the way with an equally stunning view). Buzzards hunt in pairs with their eerie companion calls, and the Red Kite, once almost eradicated in the UK are a common sights, with their forked tails, they swoop and glide along the valley shining reddy/gold in the sunlight.
Our garden birds, as you would expect include house and tree sparrows; great, blue and coal tits; blackbird; song thrush, magpie and robin. But tree creepers, nuthatch and greater spotted woodpeckers also enjoy the wooded parts of the garden and are frequent visitors to the bird tables. A number of strategically placed bird boxes encourage many of these local birds to stay and produce young. In the Spring and Summer, cuckoo and owls can be heard in the woods across the valley and our silent visitors, the bats flutter and swoop at dusk.
The Summer evening skies here, are often filled with swallows as they return annually to nests built in and around The Byre and outbuildings. They often gather on the electricity cables and chatter like budgies!
Evidence of foxes, rabbits, badgers and hedgehogs can be found along the hedgerows, though you will be lucky to see them, as they are shy and retiring animals.
Do remember to bring your binoculars!
The Brecon Beacon area is one of the top five UK Dark Skies sites – excellent for star gazing, both for enthusiasts and keen amateurs. See here for more details:
Binoculars and telescopes – a must!
Many visitors come to us to walk the famous routes up Pen y Fan, the highest peak in Southern Britain at 886m. It is a very popular tourist attraction and those wishing to avoid the crowds, should plan an early start!
If you wish to explore a mountain range, only marginally lower, at 802m in height, with the additional benefit of two beautiful lakes (Llyn y Fan Fach, and Llyn y Fan Fawr) nestled below – the Black Mountain Range is for you! A 15 mile drive away from The Byre takes you to a small car park from which you can access the footpath along the Afon Sawddle to the lovely Llyn y Fan Fach. The track climbs steadily towards the lake and the Dam before climbing to Bannau Sir Gaer on the western side of the water. From here there are breathtaking views over the lake and surrounding mountains. The Brecon Beacons Way runs past the lake so you could pick this up and head east to Llyn y Fan Fawr.
You might like to find out more about the Lady of Llyn y Fan lake and other Mediaval Welsh fables contained in the Mabinogion.
There are many rivers rich for fishing in South Wales, but our local river is the Tywi. The river boasts the finest sea trout (known as Sewin in Wales) fishing in Europe. From April to September Sewin and Salmon can be caught on stretches of the river from Llandovery to Carmarthen.
The Llandovery Angling Assoication is a good place to start to plan your fishing experience.
Exploring the Forests
The local area provides wonderful opportunities for many outdoor pursuits. The forests and hillsides are full of paths and bridle ways that make for excellent walking and there are an abundance of local trails for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders in both the Crychan and Halfway forests*. Your hosts will be delighted to advise you of walks you can take. Tracks can become muddy at any time of the year, and stout walking shoes or boots are recommended. Paths wind into and through the tall forest pines, and it can be tricky to navigate. Please ask to borrow a local ordnance survey map if you wish to delve deeper into the forests.
*for walking & Cycling maps and guides please see Crychan Forest Association
On Our Doorstep
Just 5.5 miles away is the small town of Llandovery, with shops, pubs, eating places, supermarket, riverside walks and castle ruins. There are a number of small independent shops for you to browse at your leisure, with gifts galore for all the family back at home, and cosy coffee shops to collapse in afterwards! Follow the link for more up-to-date information about our town.
The area around Llandovery has much to offer. The village of Myddfai, off the A40 between Babel and Llandovery, though small in size, has a fascinating, mystical history and is the birthplace of the Physicians of Myddfai, medieval herbalists and healers. The newly rebuilt community centre is the hub of the village, and the attached shop offers a range of Physicians of Myddfai products.
Half an hour’s journey from The Byre through Llandovery is the quaint village of Cilycwm in the Cwm Rhaeadr valley. Half a mile further on is a woodland area managed by Natural Resources Wales, and offering routes for walkers, mountain bikers and
horseriders. The waterfall route winds its way along the stream towards the falls suitable for different levels of hiking.
The northern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park is just two miles to the south of The Byre, which is packed with well worn walking routes including those up to the famous Pen y Fan, Cribyn and Corn Du peaks. The magnificent cliff face of The Black Mountain range can be seen on a clear day from the road, with the fabled history of Llyn Fan Fach and Llyn Fan Fawr (see Mountain Walking above). The large market town of Brecon with its beautiful, yet intimate Cathedral, is just 20 miles away. Another opportunity to buy local welsh produce and gifts.
National Trust members will love the Dinefwr Country House and Park, with their unique herd of white, long horned cattle and acres to explore. See more via the link.
Also a National Trust property, be wowed by the Iron Age, Roman and Victorian workings at the Dolaucothi Gold Mine. Plenty to see and do for all members of the family, regardless of mobility.
If you are thinking about going further afield, or moving on to the sea-side, the West Wales coast, with the picturesque seaside towns of Aberaeron, New Quay and Llangrannog, is around 40 miles away, as too, is Swansea to the South and the windswept and often deserted beaches of The Gower.
Activities in the Forests
The Halfway and Crychan forests host mountain bike, motorbike and car rallies at various times of the year. Planned events can be found here:
A range of tourist information leaflets and offers can be found in the hall of The Byre to help you make the most of your stay, and if you can’t see what you want, please do ask.
Events coming up
Drovers Enduro Sunday 1st April 2018
Welsh Trail Riders Association
Rallynuts Stages Rally – Saturday 14th April 2018 (within the Crychan Forest)
Royal Welsh Spring Festival Saturday 19th – Sunday 20th May 2018
WAAT4 challenge – Saturday 16th June 2018
30/40km hike through the Brecon Beacons, raising money for various charities
Nicky Grist Stages Rally Saturday 14th July 2018
Royal Welsh Show – Monday July 23rd –Thursday 26th July 2018
Welsh TT Motorbike race Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th August 2018
Epynt Motorbike Road race
Beacons Rally Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th August 2018
Welsh Trail Riders Association
Green Man festival Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th August 2018
Glanusk Park, Usk Valley, Powys
Commonwealth Games Baton – September 2018, Brecon
Llandovery Sheep Festival Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd September 2018
Mid Wales is beautiful – whatever the weather – but to help you plan your visit, you might like to check the weather forecast for your stay.