Adventure in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Supporting businesses around the UK, particularly in the activity and adventure sectors, requires us to visit our amazing National Parks (NPs) and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). Our frequent visits to our beautiful National Parks always brings with it a slower heart beat, a calmness to the mind, and a desire to both relax and explore, and the Brecon Beacons National Park is no exception.

We visited the charming Tal-y-bont farm campsite (courtesy of Adventure Campsites) situated on a working farm on the edge of a small picturesque village outside Brecon. The campsite offered us the perfect base to go and explore what the immediate surroundings had to offer whilst providing us a central place where we visited the local businesses we were here to support. A short walk from the campsite and you arrive at a lovely canal side cafe, part of Tal-y-bont Stores, where we planned our few days of activities.

Mountain biking above Tal-y-bont with views over reservoir.

Fortunately for us, situated right next door to the cafe is Bikes and Hikes, an outdoor adventure company that provides mountain bike and canoe hire, and outdoor adventure activities including guided bike rides, caving, mountain walking, gorge walking, bushcraft and rock climbing. Most of all, the owner, Keith, is a fountain of knowledge and provides the best bike servicing around; handy for the chain replacement I needed on my road bike.

The bike and outdoor activity store beside the canal side cafe in Tal-y-bont.

The weather on our first of three days allowed us to spend a a full day trekking across from Storey Arms, up over Pen y Fan, and back into Aber before heading back for canal side refreshments in the White Hart Inn, just a few minutes walk from our campsite. We have experienced the White Hart’s wonderful bunkhouse in the past and it’s a great alternative to our campsite.

We discussed a few mountain bike routes with Keith, and we decided on a bit of an adventure, The Gap route; not an option for the beginner rider. We couldn’t wait. The route is a wonderful way to see the mountains around the area. Admittedly we had to walk up the rocky paths at times, but the view and route was very different to our usual road cycling options.  A cracking morning activity and a coffee and cake back at the cafe felt very well earned. Hiring one of Keith’s canoes then allowed us a tranquil journey along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal (Mon and Brec), and later in the evening we enjoyed a challenging indoor climbing experience at Llangorse Multi Activity Centre, just a 15 minute drive from Tal-y-bont.  We arrived early ebough in the evening to enjoy the lovely view over Llangorse Lake, and we had a sneaky peak at the centre’s own bunkhouse and campsite. Another great option to stay.

The view from the activity centre across to Llangorse Lake.

Staying at he centre means you are only feet away from their horse riding and high ropes activities, and a short cycle, walk or drive to Llangorse Lake, another adventure location where you can camp. The lake offers even more activities as you can hire kayaks, canadian canoes, and sailing dinghies. The more adventurous might be tempted to bring their own boats and equipment and waterski and wakeboard at this idyllic setting (check documents and insurance required).

We decided that on our third day we would head with one of Keith’s instructors to the stunning waterfalls region of the Brecon Beacons National Park for some exhilarating gorge walking. Deep plunge pools and big jumps, beautiful flowing rivers and rapids, and all safely accessed and scrambled with the reassuring and calm assistance of our guide.

Activities in the heart of waterfall country.

We had an action-packed three days, and we left knowing we had only touched the surface of what the area has to offer. We are planning some horse riding across the hills, taking part in outdoor rock climbing sessions at a number of the Park’s spectacular rock climbing venues, and we might even brave a two-day bike bivvy experience.

Just over three hours form London, a little longer from Leeds and Manchester, but a lot less from Southampton, one wonders why we don’t experience the beauty of the Brecon Beacons more often. Now, where did I put my climbing shoes?

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