Last Updated on 21st December 2017 by Sophie Nadeau
When planning our road trip through Southern England and Wales a couple of weeks ago, there was one place I absolutely wanted to visit: the Brecon Beacons. But with the winter days being as short as they are, a trip to the National Park was looking more and more unlikely… Unless we actually stayed overnight in the hills themselves. And so, a short while later, I found myself booking a reservation to a place you could only reach by car, Pengenffordd.
The charm of this remote hamlet lies in the juxtaposition between its convenient placement on the main road (Pengenffordd lies right on the main road) and its remoteness from everywhere else (the nearest stores can be found at Talgarth some three miles away). Charming and away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life (there’s not even any phone signal) head here to experience nature, see the Brecon Beacons and get away from it all…
Dragon’s Back Pub, Highest pub in the Brecon Beacons
Although the sweet little pub of the Dragon’s Back is only open for food and drinks on a Friday and Saturday night, it draws people from far and wide thanks to its wide range of overnight accommodation (bunkhouses, camping, ensuite B&B) and typically British country pub meals.
The inn itself claims the title of ‘highest pub in the Brecon Beacons,’ meaning that it gets all the snow in the winter months, and remains cool enough to be perfect for walking in the summer months. Founded over three hundred years ago, the pub was originally called ‘the Castle Inn’ after the nearby ruins of Castell Dinas. And at over 1000 feet above sea level, it’s not called ‘the Dragon’s Back’ after the mountain ridge behind Castell Dinas.
Castle Cottage Guesthouse in Pengenffordd
I am so glad that we booked to stay in Castle Cottage as it was cosy, clean, comfortable and incredibly warm (and no I wasn’t compensated to say this in any way- we just really enjoyed our stay!). There was even the use of the hot tub to the back of the property included with the booking of our room!
We awoke the next day to a light dusting of snow, making our first time in the Brecon Beacons that much more magical. For those looking for a little bit more of an unusual experience on a trip to Pengenffordd, owners Tin and Rosie also rent out their ‘Hobbit House’ in the back garden.
Castell Dinas, Highest castle ruins in England and Wales
Around an hour’s walk from the settlement of Pengenffordd, you’ll come across the highest castle ruins in England and Wales. For those who have visited Wales before (and indeed those who are currently in the planning stages of making a visit- in which case check out my three-day guide to England and Wales), will know just how many castles the country has!
Three miles south of Talgarth, its strategic point and high elevation made it an important castle from the 1st Century BCE right up until the 13th Century. Castell Dinas in Welsh, the site was once home to an Iron Age Hillfort. Centuries later, this was replaced with a Norman Castle. At some point during the 15th-Century, the castle was destroyed during a rebellion. Today, little remains of either castle, though the views from the top of the mountain remains impressive, nevertheless.