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Archive for tag: Six Bells

Guarding the Valleys

GuardianWe got the chance to visit the Guardian Mining Memorial this week.

Towering above the village of Six Bells, in the heart of the Valleys, the Guardian stands as a monument to the mining industry that once dominated this landscape and commemorates the lives lost in the 1960 Six Bells Colliery disaster.

Despite visiting several times in the past, the monument never fails to impress.  And this time we were lucky to get a guided tour of local expert Meg Gurney.

She has a wealth of knowledge on the Guardian - the process of building it, the history of the Six Bells site and the mining industry locally.  She also told us some poignant stories of those who perished in the disaster and those who had lucky escapes.  Hearing these stories added so much more to the visit.

If you're visiting, be sure to call in to Tŷ Ebbw Fach. The former coaching inn has been transformed into an information centre about Guardian, whilst also providing light snacks and refreshments in its excellent coffee shop.

For more information on the Guardian or Tŷ Ebbw Fach click on the links below.
Tŷ Ebbw Fach

Hidden Gems: Guardian

GuardianYou'll know all about our castles, museums and other well-known attractions by now.  But aside from all those, there are a plethora of hidden gems lurking throughout the region, each with their own story and ability to make any trip to Wales a memorable one.

The Guardian Memorial

It's been compared to the Angel of the North, and it's easy to see why.

Towering above the village of Six Bells, in the heart of the Valleys, the Guardian stands as a monument to the mining industry that once dominated this landscape.

It stands on the site of the former Six Bells Colliery, not that you'll know it, given how you are now surrounded by meadows and wildlife.  The inscriptions on the base of the statue commemorates the lives lost at the 1960 Six Bells disaster.

Nearby, Ty Ebbw Fach houses a small exhibition on the statue as well as a café, making it an ideal places for a refreshment stop.

For more information, please visit the website

Gwent Gems

GuardianBlaenau Gwent…or head of the Gwent valleys if you want to know what it means.  Being at the top of these valleys, it comes as no surprise that the area has a number of lofty claims to fame.

It has the highest town in Wales - Brynmawr, standing at 380 metres above sea level.  It is also home to the highest golf course in Wales, with the West Mon course standing at 457 metres.  It also has one of the tallest sculptures in Wales - Six Bell's Guardian memorial towering 20 metres over the village below.

As well as all these giant geographical landmarks, it also an area that celebrates political giants.  Tredegar was the home town to Aneurin Bevan, founder of the NHS.  In fact, the place where he first cut his teeth in politics, Bedwellty House is now open to the public.  Together with the surrounding parkland, it is now one of the most popular attractions in the area.

Other attractions in the area include the Festival Park shopping village and Parc Bryn Bach, a acres of green space, morrland and lake - ideal for all sort of outdoor pursuits.

Click the links to take a look at what else Blaenau Gwent and the surrounding Valleys can offer.

Whistle Stop Tour of Southern Wales

Six Bells Mining MemorialI had a great couple of days out of the office showing a group from UK Inbound around our area.

UK Inbound is a trade association that represents Tour Operators from around the world who bring travellers into the UK.  And 15 of those operators pitched up in Cardiff on Thursday to see what Southern Wales could offer them.

Arriving in Cardiff Central train station the group made the short journey out to Llanerch Vineyard on the outskirts of the city where they enjoyed a cookery demonstration from chef Angela Grey in the vineyard's cookery school.  Next it was into the restaurant for lunch and a welcome from owner Ryan Davies who gave the group a taste Llanerch's very own wine.

Following Llanerch Vineyard the group made the quick hop to the UK's favourite Tourist Attraction, the St Fagans National History Musuem.  They were intrigued by the buildings which make up the museum's exhibits, particularly the Workingmen's Institute, church and the row of ironworkers' cottages from Merthyr Tydfil.

Caerphilly CastleThe following day saw the group visit Caerphilly Castle, one of the biggest in Europe, before winding their way through the Southern Wales Valleys to the town of Tredegar and the newly restored Bedwellty House.  From there it was a short journey to the village of Six Bells and the impressive sight of the Guardian Mining Memorial.  Next stop was the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre for lunch and a quick tour to find out why the area has been named as a World Heritage Site.

Then it was time for many people's highlight of the day, a tour of the Penderyn Distillery, the only whisky distillery in Wales.  The group had a guided tour of the site where they learned all about the process of making Welsh wysgi before finding themselves in the bar where they could sample some of the finished product.

The group then headed back to Cardiff for their last night in Wales.  We only had a couple of days to show them what we can offer.  We really could have done with a couple of weeks instead.

You can see more images from the trip on our flickr page