Poetry Stones and Bench
The A470, also referred to as The Cambrian Way – one of three driving routes collectively known as The Wales Way – is the spine which runs through the middle of Wales and which bisects the Brecon Beacons between Brecon and Cefn Coed y Cymer. It passes through some of the most dramatic and memorable scenery in the National Park.
Arguably nothing can beat sweeping along the long curves as you travel up or down Glyn Tarell. This valley, clothed in a patchwork of vegetation, is a reminder of the force of the glacier which carved it around 20,000 years ago. Today we can stand, or sit and stare at its beauty, as we take in the length of the valley from the source of the river, Afon Tarell just north of Storey Arms to where the river flows into the River Usk at Brecon. Equally stunning is to traverse the pass at Storey Arms and swoop up or down Cwm Taf Fawr, between the flanks of Fan Fawr and Pen y Fan, past the three still reservoirs of Beacons, Cantref and Llwyn-onn.
For some people this route is simply a journey but if you stop and explore, away from the honeypot site of Pont ar Daf car park and Pen y Fan you will be rewarded.
The Poetry Stones
Four poetry stones have been erected at locations along The Cambrian Way (A470) through the National Park. Poems, composed by Owen Sheers and Ifor ap Glyn celebrating the place where each stone resides, have been carved into chunks of Blue Pennant Sandstone. Why not check them out the next time you’re travelling through the National Park?
- Blue Pennant is the name given to the sandstone which tops the Coal Measures of South Wales, a thick sequence of rocks into which ‘The Valleys’ were carved over millions of years. The sombre blue-grey appearance of a fresh surface of this stone will weather in time to a rusty brown.
- Owen Sheers is a novelist, poet and playwright and Professor of Creativity at Swansea University.
- Ifor ap Glyn is the National Poet of Wales
The Stone Seat
- Artist David Mackie who designed the beautiful curved seat which takes in the view down Glyn Tarell from Craig y Fro layby is based in Cardiff.
- The strip of stones arranged in a herring-bone pattern which snakes along the back represents the glacier which carved the valley 20,000 years ago.
- The brown hairstreak butterfly and purple saxifrage, represented in the bronze inlays are both extremely rare in the UK but are to be found at nearby Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad National Nature Reserve.
- The seat was built by master stone-waller Alan Jones and son.
These stones and the bench are part of The Wales Way initiative and have been part funded by Visit Wales*.
Craig y Fro layby
- Craig y Fro is the long escarpment which runs behind the large layby with its fine viewpoint. If you had stood here thousands of years ago, you would have been encased in ice as this spot harboured one of the last small glaciers in these hills. The rounded ridge below the road is a ‘cirque moraine’ – rock recycled by the glacier from the cliff above.
Blaen Taf/Storey Arms
- Cadair Arthur which means Arthur’s chair is the old name for Pen y Fan. Who Arthur was we can only guess.
- The ouzel refers to the Ring Ouzel, a scarce species of blackbird with a smart white bib which frequents stony mountain slopes.
- Through the peepholes you can view Craig y Fro – please see Craig y Fro layby poetry stone.
- We refer to the pass as Blaen Taf – the head of the Taff Valley – since this was the name of the turnpike gate which once stood here. Many people also refer to the pass as Storey Arms since this is the name of the Outdoor Education Centre which stands here.
- Glan Crew, Crew Isaf, Aber Crew and Blaen Taf are the names of farmsteads which used stand where the reservoir now lies.
- The priest is an echo of a nearby stream ‘Nant yr Offeiriad’ or stream of the priest.
- Cantref is the name of the parish which extended from the northern side over the Beacons to this area. It is said that the vicar of the parish was paid an extra allowance to keep a horse since he had to travel so far.
- Ynysfelin was the name of the village which disappeared under the water when Llwyn-on Reservoir was created.
- The bridge over the river, Afon Taf, which also disappeared from view was also known as Pont y Glecs, which means gossiping bridge, since this is where local people used to meet to exchange news.
- The reservoir is now home to much wildlife including otter.
*This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government