Black Mountains: Rhos Fach Common and Crickhowell Castle
Drive up to Rhos Fach Common tucked under Y Das Mountain– where you can start the day with a walk enjoying some fantastic Black Mountain scenery.
Leave your car at the parking spot here and walk back down the hill to Llanelieu Church dedicated to St Ellyw. Now deconsecrated this grade 1 listed building of 13th Century origin is set within a raised oval, walled churchyard indicative of its Celtic origins. It is now maintained by the Friends of Friendless Churches.
Just outside the upper gate of the churchyard to the south is the locally notorious Inside Tretower Court ‘Whipping tree’ an ancient yew tree alongside the road leading back up to rhos Fach Common. Look out for the holes where the hands of miscreants were restrained for punishment!
If the weather is kind you could enjoy a picnic lunch or return to Talgarth to lunch at one of the pubs or cafes. After lunch head towards Crickhowell. The Motte and Bailey Castle was established in the Norman conquest of Brycheniog whilst the adjacent restored courtyard house has its origins in the fourteenth century. The Vaughans who lived there were a rich influential Welsh family who created a court to impress. However when they left in the 18th century the lambs and geese moved in! Now fully restored CADW have created a suite of rooms as they may have been in 1470 when Tretower was part of high society – experience 15th Century living at its best.
10.30 - 12.30 Enjoy a pleasant walk on Rhos Fach Common and visit to Llanelieu Church - see if you can find the Whipping Tree.
12.30 - 13.30 Enjoy a picnic or lunch at one of Talgarth's pubs or cafes.
14.00 - 16.00 Arrive at Tretower Court and castle and spend the afternoon exploring the recently restored Court and impressive medieval castle.
Where is it?
Rhosfach Common and Llanelieu Church (so 18503418) are found by leaving Talgarth town centre on the Bank road that passes the tower hotel. Bear left when the road splits. On reaching the T-junction with the church in front of you, turn right and drive up to Rhos Fach common where you will find plenty of parking. The road is narrow with passing places.
Tretower Court and Castle NP8 1RD www.cadw.wales.gov.uk tel: 01874 730279 open 7 days a week from April 1st to October 31st 10am-5pm.
1st Nov- 31st Mar Mon - Thurs Closed, Fri/Sat open 10am-4pm, Sun 11am-4pm. Sign posted in Tretower village off the A479, 10 miles south east of Talgarth. Access to the castle is through a field with a wicker gate. There are information panels. Benches are provided. The car park which is immediately opposite the monument is laid to grass. The toilets on site include a radar key toilet.
There is a ramp but the toilets are reached by going through the house and over grass. The custodian may be able to arrange alternative access. The ground floor of Tretower Court, garden and grounds have level access. The paths outside are firm although mainly laid to grass, the courtyard is cobbled.
Entrance for adults is £3.60 and £2.60 at the reduced rate. Disabled visitors may access the site free of charge. There is a gift shop on site. There is a cafe in Cwmdu on the A479 on the return to Talgarth. There are no facilities at Llanelieu church, the key to the church should be collected from and returned to the white framed conservatory (through white gate) at the Pottery end of Llanelieu Court. The walk from the common and in the churchyard is sloping and may not be level underfoot.
By Train the nearest station is Abergavenny – Talgarth is 18 miles from Abergavenny on foot: Llanelieu is not on any transport routes – but a round walk to the church is detailed in the Brecon Beacons ‘Walks around Talgarth’ booklet and is six miles.
By bus: Talgarth is well serviced by buses in all directions, from Hereford, Builth Wells, Abergavenny and Brecon.
Look at www.traveline-cymru.org.uk for the latest travel information and timetables. For the Hereford to Brecon (via Talgarth) bus timetable, search for service T14.
Tretower Court and Castle is on route X43 from Abergavenny to Brecon (nearest bus stop: Gliffaes turn).
By bike: National route 8 passes within 5 miles of Tretower.