Flying high from Talgarth
Gaze at gliders, climb to the country’s highest castle.
From Talgarth this moderate to hard route climbs up past the local gliding club on the shoulder of the Black Mountains to Castell Dinas, an inspiring viewpoint crowned with remnants of Celtic and medieval fortifications.
Need to know
Length: 7 miles (11km)
Time: Around 3½ hours
Start and finish: Main car park in Talgarth
OS map ref: SO 153337
OS map: Explorer OL13 (1:25 000 series)
Facilities: Tourist information, toilets, shops and places to eat in Talgarth
Along the way
Small, peaceful and friendly, Talgarth is a Walkers are Welcome town. It’s in the perfect spot for exploring the central Brecon Beacons and – even closer to home – the Black Mountains rising directly beyond the rooftops. St Gwendoline’s Church has a memorial to Hywel Harris, a remarkable man who led the Methodist Revival in Wales in 1735. The old watermill in the centre of town has been beautifully converted as part of a very successful community project that includes a bakery and café (mill tours are available). A popular walking festival takes place here each spring.
Black Mountains Gliding Club
The Black Mountains, with their ridges and escarpments, regularly create perfect conditions for gliding. The club, founded by two local farmers over 30 years ago, is today a premier gliding site with some of the longest average flight times in the UK. It’s a friendly welcoming place – you’re invited to come along and watch, enjoy refreshments in the clubhouse and, best of all, take a trial lesson in a two-seater. Join the red kites and buzzards soaring in the thermals for a bird’s-eye view of the mountains.
If ever a place was destined to be a stronghold it’s this one. A looming guardian at the head of the Rhiangoll valley, ready to protect a strategic gap in the mountains, it’s easy to see why our Celtic ancestors built a hillfort here during the Iron Age. They weren’t the only ones to appreciate Castell Dinas’s ready-made defensive assets. The site was added to by Roman, 5th-century and medieval castle builders though, strange to report, it’s the Iron Age ditches and ramparts that have best stood the test of time (and weather), not the later medieval masonry. Go here and pick through ancient fortifications for a gripping sense of the past then enjoy awesome views in all directions. At 450m it’s reputedly the highest castle in the UK.