In the Welsh valleys, the Merthyr Tydfil county area is found at the southern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, surrounded by beautiful mountains, green rolling hills, woods, rivers and lakes just waiting to be explored and enjoyed.
Particularly scenic areas include Garwnant forest, Taf Fechan woodland reserve and Pontsticill Reservoir. The Brecon mountain railway is a heritage line running around the reservoir and a great way to experience the wonderful surroundings. The more energetic can cycle the Taff Trail south through the valley.>
It hasn't always been this way in this county. The landscape has seen a dramatic recovery since the days of the 18th and 19th century industrial revolution when the area was home to the largest iron works in the world. The rich industrial heritage of Merthyr Tydfil can be seen today in surviving buildings such as the Ynysfach Engine House - and Cyfarthfa Castle, the grand mansion where the ironmasters lived. It was also scene of the worlds first ever steam railway journey, and Richard Trevithick's achievement in 1804 is celebrated today in a historic walking trail.
Industry was always mixed with poor conditions and tragedy for the local working population. In 1966 a terrible accident shocked the nation when coal waste slid into the village of Aberfan leading to the loss of 144 lives, mainly children, Today a memorial stands on the site, and looks over a quieter and much changed landscape.