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The Valleys Heart and Sul of Wales 2013

The Valleys Heart and Sul of Wales 2013

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Published by: SoparlaVerde on Feb 21, 2014
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The Valleys
2013 Edition
Discover some of The Valleys' HeroesIdeas for weekends away with the familyExplore The Valleys away from cars
 Suggested days out and itineraries
• Events in 2013 •
 Where to stay and how to get here
The Valleys are filled with green landscapes enticing you to explore the area's heritage, nature and fantastic network of walks and paths.It’s time to forget the theme parks; come visit us at our real adventure playground of towering castles, dark, deep mines and real stories of passion and daring.A visit to The Valleys also means ditching the diet. Discover a land jam-packed with champion cheeses, glorious golden ales, unique Welsh Whiskey and iconic ice creams.But don’t worry either about becoming a slouch; we’ve got the works here from mountain biking and climbing to horse-riding and pot-holing.Come rain or shine, The Valleys is a place where something is always happening. We love a good get-together, and events range from sporty to arty and back again.You’ll find this guide packed with ideas for places to stay, attractions to explore, activities to challenge the whole family and much more. We’re helpful like that.
A warm Welsh welcome to our 2013
Valleys brochure
Real, refreshing, and ripe with character
Main image:
 View from Brynithel.
Clockwise from left to right:
Fish & Chip shop - with a sense of humour!Lunchtime at Cwmcerrig Farm Shop and Grill.The Miniature Railway at Cyfarthfa Park.Bedwellty House and Park.
Front cover:
 Pontrhydyfen Aqueduct. Big Pit: National Coal Museum. The Big Cheese, Caerphilly.
 2013 A year for New Experiences
Great ideas for new challenges.
 Ideas for days out in The Valleys
Lots of surprise days out or weekend breaks.
 Valleys of delicious delights
 Great food across The Valleys - and Welsh Cakes!
 A romantic action adventure
 Ben and Esyllt discover what’s on offer for a romantic weekend break.
 Richard Burton - one of The Valleys' Heroes
Explore the land that Richard Burton loved.
 Explore The Valleys - away from the cars
The unique cycle network.
 Festivals, Fêtes and Fun
A guide to the events  you’ll want to put in  your diary.
 Take your pick...
 A look at the rest of Wales’ regions.
 Making the grade
Helping you make sense of our gradings.
 Accommodation listings
 Places to stay across The Valleys.
 Attractions and activities listings
 From heritage attractions to golf clubs  you’ll find it all here.
 How to find us
 Take a look at the map - The Valleys are really accessible.
Day 1
Head eastwards for a winning combination of fun and education at
Greenmeadow Community Farm,
 Cwmbran, where children of all ages get to interact with animals in a natural, relaxed environment. A big play area and an onsite café complete the offer. And the fun doesn’t stop there, as a handy stone’s throw further up the Afon Lwyd Valley is the
Pontypool Ski Centre
 - Wales’ longest dry ski slope at 230m, with beginner’s area, ski lifts and mogul run. Onwards and upwards brings  you to
Big Pit: National Coal Museum
, located within the
Blaenavon World Heritage Site,
 which includes an underground tour guided by ex-miners whose knowledge and anecdotes create a brilliantly authentic experience. And don’t forget
Blaenavon’s Heritage Railway
 which provides the ideal rest-stop for the family to kick back and enjoy a spectacular journey through the World Heritage Site on the highest standard gauge railway in Wales.
Day 2
Get active for the day, starting at
Parc Bryn Bach
, Tredegar, which boasts mountain bike trails and a BMX track for adrenaline junkies, countless nature-filled walks and a lovely lakeside picnic spot. If your picnic is rained off however, a short drive away is favoured Valleys hotspot,
Sidoli’s Ice Cream Parlour
 - a delicious product of The Valleys’ Italian connections. Next up, get your newly re-energised selves down to nearby
Ebbw Vale Festival Park
, which includes shops galore, a children’s adventure castle and the UK’s longest super tubing slope. And if you’ve still got energy left, there are cycling trails for all the family at
Cwmcarn Forest
, Abercarn further down the Ebbw Valley.
Day 3
Start in the north with a trip to Merthyr Tydfil’s mighty
Cyfarthfa Castle
 built by notorious ironmaster William Crawshay, home to a great museum and most recently a redeveloped miniature railway. Also in the Taff Valley is
Parc Taf Bargoed
 - formally the site of three collieries, it’s now a place for bird watching, canoeing, cycling and fishing. Nearby is the
Rock UK Summit Centre
 with its climbing and bouldering areas and world class man-made caving system with waterfall. Head south for the
 Rhondda Heritage Park
, Trehafod, at the site of the Old Lewis Merthyr Colliery, where the whole family can experience the sights, sounds and smells of the pit. And if you fancy a chance to meet the last few working animals from the coal mines, check out
The Pit Pony Sanctuary
at nearby Penycoedcae.
Day 4
Begin your day in the western Valleys at
Bryngarw House and Country Park,
 Brynmenyn, which has some great family attractions including nature spots and a children’s adventure area. Be sure to check out nearby
Eco Dysgu
, Tondu, education centre which has woodland trails and gardens, a cafe and creative workshops, or
Wiggley's Fun Farm,
Tondu - an all-weather attraction with themed indoor and outdoor play areas, farm animals, pets corner, woodland walks and duck ponds. But for some real high-adrenalin family fun, a short zip along the M4 brings you to Margam Park and the heady heights of
Go Ape!
 high-wire adventure activity. Vertigo sufferers can also stay grounded and enjoy cycling, fishing, an adventure playground, geocaching and nature trails.
Clockwise from left to right:
Bryngarw House and Country Park. Family fun at Greenmeadow, Community Farm. BMX Track at Parc Bryn Bach.
Family Fun
Make 2013 the year of New Experiences
Forget stuffy, posh or untouchable -
 The Valleys
 is a place that’s real, relaxed, friendly and fun, which makes it the perfect stomping ground for families.
It is all to easy to fall into a rut – so make your trip to The Valleys this year the time when  you try something new – here are some of our best ideas!
Improve your cooking skills with a Cookery Masterclass
The Chef’s Room Fish and Cookery School in Blaenavon – winner of The Best Cookery School in Wales 2012, gives you the chance to learn how to make fresh pasta and potato gnocchi with Franco Taruschio OBE, along with other dishes from around the world.
Go canyoning in Waterfall Country
What is canyoning? It’s like white water rafting but without the raft – sliding down rapids and even jumping off waterfalls (with experienced supervision and safety equipment)! A real adrenaline rush when you go with one of The Valleys' activity operators.
The ultimate “Glamping” experience
A night under the stars, snuggled in amidst fluffy sheepskins in a luxury Cwm Tawel Yurt overlooking the Llynfi Valley, following a day coracle making and foraging for dinner – a luxurious way to get back to nature!
A High Tee!
With over 30 courses, golf in The Valleys offers many challenges – teeing off at the 14th (West Monmouthshire Club, Brynmawr) must be one of the best. At 1,518ft above sea level you get stunning views across The Valleys and into the Brecon Beacons, as well as a great round of golf!
Step into thin air from the Blorenge
This area, above Blaenavon World Heritage Site, is considered one of the best in the country. Take off for a tandem flight with a qualified instructor for a bird’s eye view of the Valleys – breathtaking!
Walk behind a waterfall
Like in a children’s story, the thunderous yet graceful waterfalls of The Valleys have paths that can take behind the curtains of water – a magical experience (just be careful of the slippery paths).
Whip some Wax!
Try your hand at a new craft – candle making at the 17th century Gelligroes Mill. Once your wax is whipped you can dip ‘n’ twist and even carve a unique candle to take home!
Enjoy a flutter
A day at the races, at the newest racecourse in the UK – Ffos Las Racecourse; a great excuse to dress up and enjoy a flutter or two on the races. Set in the Gwendraeth Valley, it’s hard to believe that the track was formerly Europe’s largest open cast mine.
Rock on!!!
Get away from climbing the career ladder – and climb some rocks at Rock UK Summit Centre, near Merthyr Tydfil. You’ll be absorbed by the challenge of finding the next hand hold!
Do and Dare!
The 500 acre Dare Valley Country Park is the perfect venue to have a go at those activities that have always been on your list to try – canoeing or kayaking, archery or orienteering, horse riding or mountain biking – a whole weekend of challenges!
left to right:
Cooking with Franco Taruschio OBE. Walking behind Sgwd yr Eira. © Crown copyright (2013) Visit Wales.

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