You'd be forgiven for thinking that Caerphilly is all
about the castle.
To be fair, covering 120,000 m2 Caerphilly Castle does tend to
dominate the town. It was built by Norman invaders but it was
an attack during the 17th century that left the castle
with its most striking feature - a leaning tower, which at 10
degrees has more of a tilt than its more famous counterpart in
When you've finished exploring it there is a lot more to do in
this corner of Southern Wales. A journey of 8 miles and
almost 400 years brings you to Llancaiach Fawr Manor and the
year 1645. You'll meet the servants of the manor who are busy
looking after the house for the master, Colonel Pritchard.
They'll regale you with tales of what life is like for them
amidst the turmoil of the civil war which rages around them.
What you need with so much history in an area is a museum to bring
it all together. Well, luckily for Caerphilly there's the Winding House. As the
name suggests, the building housed the winding mechanism for the
local colliery (in fact you can still see the engine in action on
special days throughout the year). Today the museum is home
exhibitions and artefacts charting the area's past.
Back in the 21st century and over in the next
valley is Cwmcarn Forest's
Mynydd, quite possibly the biggest, hardest, most
technical downhill mountain biking track in the country. It
also has terrific views over South Wales, not that you'll be able
to take them in as you hurtle down the side of the mountain.
There are also a number of other tracks at the centre if you're not
quite up to the big one or if you're after something a little more
sedate you can enjoy the beautiful 7 mile long forest drive.
To find our more about Caerphilly, please visit the website
After my blog back in May about Glamping in Cwmcarn near
Caerphilly, it seems that the phenomenon is starting to catch
We all know the scenario - caravan holiday, cramped conditions,
lashing rain, howling wind and a trudge across a sodden field to
get to the showers and toilets.
But now you can forget all and stay in an authentic Romany
Caravan. A traditional Vardo, the caravan used to travel the
lanes of the Welsh countryside but has now found a permanent home
on a sheep farm near Bridgend.
You may still find conditions a bit cramped if you bring the
entire extended family, but it is ideal for a couple looking for a
romantic getaway as you snuggle in the caravan, watching the stars
and listening to the sounds of the countryside. Anyway the
rest of the family can stay in the nearby self catering house or
pitch a tent or two next door.
And no more trudging across soggy fields either as the caravan
comes complete with a cabin housing toilet, hot water, shower and
washing facilities. There is also a terrace and barbeque area
and an internet connection meaning you don't have to get away from
it all if you don't want to.
Caravan holidays will never seem the same again.
If you're interested in stayining the Romany Caravan then visit
their website for more details
(Thanks to Brent Davies for the image)
is, apparently, the way to go. No, I'd never heard of it
either but apparently it means glamorous camping. It's all
the rage amongst those who want experience the great outdoors
without the leaky tent and soggy sleeping bag.
And now you can glamp (is that a proper word?) right here in
Southern Wales. Cwmcarn Forest near Caerphilly is already
well known for the superb mountain
biking trails and spectacular views from the scenic
mountain drive but are now hitting the headlines with their brand
new camping pods.
These timber pods are ideal if you like the idea of camping but
also like life's little comforts. The pods come equipped with
a heater, a light and electric. They are ideal for a short
break without the hassle of packing away a wet tent.
Fancy trying them out? Take a look at their website and don't forget to tell us
how you got on.
Are you up for a challenge? Well in this neck of the
woods they don't come much bigger than the Mynydd
The Mynydd is a mountain biking track at Cwmcarn near
Caerphilly. To the un-initiated (i.e. me) it looks as if you
have to be mad to ride your bike down here. Taking the steep drops,
tight turns and huge jumps at break-neck speeds seems to be
impossible. Yet they do and that is why this is considered to be
one to the best tracks in the country by mountain biking
enthusiasts. It has been rated as a Black
track, which means it is officially classed as severe and
should only be tackled by experienced riders. You daren't take your
eyes off the track, which is a shame as the views from the top are
The Mountain Biking Wales website describes it
"a track which offers steep
technical sections, a very fast open section near the bottom,
jumps, drops, berms, infact probably one of the biggest berms
you'll ever see, as well as some doubles and even a massive gap
jump if you want to try it."
Don't believe me how hair raising it is, then take a look at