The name Crickhowell is taken from that of the nearby Iron age hill fort of Crug Hywel above the town, the Welsh language name being anglicised by map-makers and local English-speaking people. The town lies on the River Usk, on the southern edge of the Black Mountains and in the eastern part of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Significant parts of the surrounding countryside, over 20,000 acres (80 km²) form part of the Glanusk Park estate. The town has a population of around 2,800 people. Crickhowell offers visitors a feast of local shops and is the ideal base for exploring the Brecon Beacons National Park.
The Brecon Beacons
The park’s 520 square miles stretch as far west as Llandeilo, north of Swansea, and as far east as Llanthony on the English border. It features a range of landscapes, usually dramatic, with soaring mountains and ridge lines and swooping valleys, scooped out by massive glacial activity.
On the lower slopes agriculture is important, especially stock rearing. On upper slopes only the sheep and wild ponies are hardy enough to survive.
Rivers, lakes, woodlands, ancient fortresses and burial places complete the picture. This is one of the most beautiful regions of the British Isles, and one of the less well-known.
Part of the beauty of a National park is the way in which it changes its colours and moods through the four seasons. A winter visit can be as enjoyable as July when you have a warm Inn to come home to along with a hearty meal and a bottle of wine or several pints of bitter.
For outdoor pursuits fans, each season throws up interesting challenges which make the sport or pastime more demanding and rewarding. The Dragon Inn is open all year so make the most of it and stay with us whenever you can steal a few days away.
Alongside the Brecon Beacons’ natural resources you could list scores of man-made attractions such as the the charming and historic market towns of Brecon and Abergavenny and the world heritage centre at Blaenavon (featuring Big Pit – a journey down a real coal mine in a miners’ cage). Further South lies the city of Cardiff with its revitalised bay area, and the city of Newport with its historic gondola-style Transporter Bridge.
Other attractions include Langorse Lake, Talybont Reservoir, the Usk Valley, Usk town, the Monmouth & Brecon Canal, Monmouth and the Lower Wye Valley
Walking & Cycling
At 519 square miles, the Brecon Beacons National park has more than enough room for everybody. Unlike the Peak District, Lake District and Cornwall, it is easy to escape “the madding Crowd” to find solitude and great natural beauty.
Walks can begin from the Dragon Inn and these might include Table Mountain, Llangattock Mountain and the Monmouth and Brecon Canal. A short drive towards Brecon would put you at the starting point for an ascent of Pen-y-Fan. At 2,970 ft this is the highest peak in Southern Britain. The views and features are astonishing. Most walks are quite reasonable in terms of the effort required. We recommend the Black mountains Guiding (click link to the left) if you would like to be guided on walks or rides in the local area.
The Beacons and Black Mountains and generally grassy rolling hills rather than arid, rocky peaks. But be warned, mountain weather changes quickly and the Beacons are the SAS’s main training ground – so you can make it as difficult as you like.
Crickhowell Tennis club is located a very short distance, almost adjacent to the hotel. The tennis club offer courts for hire which can be booked direct with the club. The Tennis club also has a mini court for children to participate and develop their tennis skills.
GOLF AT THE DRAGON – PLAY THE HIGHEST COURSE IN THE UK
The Dragon Inn has teamed up with WEST MON GOLF CLUB to offer our visitors the experience of playing on the highest course in the UK. West Mon is an 18 hole, par 71, 6,118 yard course with spectacular views over the Brecon Beacons, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Powys and the Gwent Valleys, and is only a 20 min drive (9.4miles) from Crickhowell. Green Fees from £12. Contact West Mon Golf Club, Golf Road, Nantyglo, Brynmawr, Gwent NP23 4QT on 01495 310233, www.westmongolfclub.co.uk
Bike Hire & Packed Lunches
Bike hire can be arranged with a local hirer with advanced notice. Please contact us if you would like us to point you in the right direction.
Why not request a packed lunch and plan a day trip exploring the spectacular local countryside of the Brecon Beacons National Park. It’s not all up and downhill and there are some wonderful routes around Crickhowell including traffic free routes along the 35 miles of towpaths of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. To book, or request further information on cycle routes in the area please ask at reception.
Please look at the list of links to web sites, in particular the “Visit Crickhowell” website, where you will find details of all of the other local countryside activities and links to the industrial heritage of South Wales.