In the mid eighties, my parents moved to a little Welsh village called Coelbren in Powys, South Wales and took my brother and I with them. We all moved into a little early twentieth century miners cottage. The area at the time relied on coal mining for jobs and this was when Margaret Thatcher’s government was closing mines and there were strikes throughout the country.
I can’t say I enjoyed my time there. The locals were unsure of the new English visitors, I was a young teenager with nothing to do and the local school about 5 miles away left a lot to be desired. After a couple of years there, realising there were no job prospects for my dad or myself, we moved back to Ascot in England.
I have some lasting memories of our short time there. The sheep that roamed the local hillsides used to roll over the cattle grid as a way to get across them, much to the amusement of my dog who wanted to chase and eat them. Smart sheep!
Each day in school playground, the teachers used to let the schoolchildren rush towards the double decker buses as they came into the school playground to pick up them up. There wasn’t much control and one day I watched on young boy do this and he slipped and the bus ran over him. Everyone shouted at the driver to stop and he did. He then became confused at what he had done and reversed, over the young lad again. It took several months for him to recover the use of his legs which were both crushed.
What I remembered most was the local scenery which was fantastic. The weather was typical Welsh (rains all the time and winters could be harsh) but the local Brecon Beacons, caves and Henrhyd Waterfalls are stunning and we still enjoy going to them today.
At the far end of the village is the Henrhyd Waterfalls. You can park a car in the small car park at the top of the falls and walk down a narrow path to the bottom where you can view the waterfalls and even walk underneath them in a cave that has been carved out behind the waterfalls. On a hot summer day this is a great way to cool down as the mist from the falls keeps you cool. The path can be slippery so watch out when you walk along the footpath. The rocks also tend to be quite slippery but it’s well worth the effort.
A few miles down the road are the Dan-yr-Ogof National Showcaves. These are spectacular at any time of the year. There is also a campsite there so we often camp there for a couple of days whilst sightseeing the local area.