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
Here it is. The new Visit Wales TV advert.
Asking "Have you Packed for Wales", the advert features Caernarfon
Castle, the new Mountain Biking centre near Merthyr Tydfil and the
Wales Coast Path amongst other places.
The full advert and campaign will be launched this Saturday - St
In the meantime, take a look at the advert and let us know what
This time next week, thousands of people will start to
congregate at the top Caerphilly Mountain for what is rapidly
becoming one of Wales' biggest annual sporting events. For
the third year running the Tour of Britain rolls into town.
Starting in Machynlleth, stage 5 winds it way through the Elan
Valley and Brecon Beacons before arriving in Caerphilly where after
150 miles of racing the riders will face one final obstacle, the
infamous Caerphilly Mountain. Not content to make the riders
struggle up it once, the route takes the race around the outskirts
of the town and back to the foot for another go.
It will certainly prove to be a tough conclusion to the stage,
especially the second time around.
Some of the world best cyclists will be competing as they aim for
the race leaders Gold Jersey as well as making the final
preparations for the World Championships in Florence the following
Household names such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish will be
taking part as well as world class sprinter Alessandro Petacchi,
winner of the famous Liege-Bastogne-Liege race Dan Martin and the
young sensation from this year's Tour de France, the Columbian
climber Nairo Quintana.
To find out more about the race, visit the Tour of Britain website
Take a look at this video of Merthyr Tydfil. It might not
be the obvious choice when thinking of a holiday in Wales, but as
the video proves there's so much to do and some stunning
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