Craig-y-Nos Country Park
Situated in a dramatic and romantic location in the secluded upper Swansea Valley, Craig-y-nos Country Park is a 40-acre Victorian garden with shady woodlands, meadows, ponds, lazy lawns and rushing rivers.
The historic grounds of Craig-y-nos Castle, once home to the internationally famous opera singer Adelina Patti, are spread on the banks of the River Tawe.
Now a Registered Historic Park and Garden managed by the Brecon Beacons National Park, this is a place where natural and manmade features mingle to great effect. The river meanders through the park, but just as at home here is the designed landscape of tall trees, lush meadows, woodland plantations, fishpond, lakes, lawns and woodland walks.
The site has a long history. There are Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman remains in the surrounding hills, and it is believed that the current castle sits on the same site once occupied in the early medieval period by the castle of the local Welsh Prince. The castle and the country park that occupy the site today date back to the Victorian and post-Victorian eras.
In its heyday, Craig-y-nos had all the features that any fashionable Victorian parkland needed: walled kitchen gardens, glasshouses, rock gardens, a croquet lawn, a rose garden, ornamental and exotic trees including walnut, acacia, mulberry and eucalyptus, as well as oaks and beech.
As you stroll around, imagine that you are following the footsteps of Adelina Patti (pictured right) as she walked around her sumptuous landscaped garden. A wander around the fishpond might lead to a walk to a stand of Scots pine; according to local stories Patti used to walk among these trees to inhale their scent to assist in clearing her voice before a performance.
The park today is served by many gentle, easy-to-follow paths and a visitor centre and tea room with benches and picnic areas, making it an ideal place to spend an afternoon.
Events such as mushroom forays and bat searches take place at the Country Park during the year. See Events for details.
Visiting Craig-y-nos Country Park
This family-friendly park is open every day of the year except Christmas Day. Admission is free. You are welcome to bring your dog but please keep it on a lead. Dogs are not permitted in the hay meadow while sheep are grazing in the winter months.
How to get there
The car park entrance is on the A4067 from Swansea, past Abercrave and Pen-y-cae. Turn right just after Craig-y-Nos castle. From Brecon, drive west along the A40 to Sennybridge and turn left along the A4067 (towards Swansea). The Country Park is after the Dan-yr-Ogof National Showcaves Centre on the left hand side. Postcode for sat nav: SA9 1GL. Bus service from Brecon and Swansea.
Nearest towns and villages
OS grid reference
Explorer Map OL12 or Landranger Map 160 - SN840155
Daily, 24 hours a day. The park is never locked except on Christmas Day.
Craig-y-Nos Country Park, Pen-y-Cae, Swansea Valley, SA9 1GL, tel For more information: 01874 624437
Visitor centre, craft shop, meeting room, Changing Seasons Tea Rooms and Restaurant (daily from 10am, Fri & Sat evenings by advance booking, 01639 731498). Permits for fishing in the river can be purchased at the visitor centre.
Ample pay and display parking, tarmac surface. Season tickets for the car park are available from the Craig-y-Nos Country Park Visitor Centre and the National Park Visitor Centre. In 2013 the price is £27 per calendar year, or £36 for both Craig-y-Nos and the National Park Visitor Centre.
At the car park, next to the visitor centre and close to the fishpond, with disabled access and baby changing facilities.
Disabled parking spaces near the visitor centre. A wheelchair is available at the visitor centre for use on site. Most of the paths in the Country Park are on level or gently sloping ground and are wheelchair accessible. Some have hard surfaces. Paths to the woodland, meadows, lakes and picnic areas are mainly surfaced. The routes over the meadow area can be soft underfoot. A tactile map and information board is at the start of the main paths.