Welcome to Wales, the land of the male voice choir, leeks and a terrific language. This country may be small, but it’s full of modern cities and historical towns and villages, just like Hirwaun. Hirwaun, meaning long meadow in Welsh, is located at the northwest end of the Cynon Valley in the Rhondda, on the edge of the beautiful and rugged Brecon Beacons National Park.
Picture courtesy of Derek Cummings, Geograph.org
During the Industrial Revolution, the town was home to the Hirwaun Ironworks, and just like the other towns and villages which surrounded it, the men and women of Hirwaun worked in difficult conditions for their wages. Wages were paid not in pounds sterling, but in the Hirwaun Guinea which stopped employees travelling to Cardiff, or spending their money outside the village. But don’t worry, you won’t have that problem today, sterling is accepted everywhere.
When you stay in Hirwaun Car Hire is essential to explore Hirwaun Common to the west, or the magnificent Brecon Beacons National Park to the north. From the air or on the ground, these are places where you can truly be on your own and not see another soul. The British army’s Special Forces, the SAS, come to the Beacons to train so it should give you an idea of the difficult conditions that can be experienced here. There could be rain, fog and high winds, but there could also be warm breezes and sunshine, and just like in this video, you can get to see some magnificent views. One thing you should know, ‘yomp’ means a bit of a trek.
Author: Kevin Hall+