There are not many places nowadays where you can be truly at peace with oneself. If you crave somewhere to unwind, somewhere to find your own thoughts, relax, escape the constant drone of traffic then Secret Wales and the Cambrian Mountains is our best kept secret.

In the Cambrian Mountains, it is still possible to experience harmony with nature and the natural elements, and to find solitude and “escape” in our crowded country:

“Quite simply, there is nothing in Wales to compare to the wilderness and sense of utter solitude that surrounds these vast empty moorlands.” 

Come to Penrhyn Barn and experience this for yourself.

Rhandirmwyn is a small village meaning valley of the minerals. It is nestled in the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains surrounded by stunning scenery. It is know locally as ‘Little Switzerland.’

There are numerous walks from the doorstep, explore the vast wilderness of the Mynydd Mallaen, trek up Crystal Mountain and search for your own ‘magic quartz,’ discover the ancient lead mines and end your walk with a hearty meal and a pint of real ale in the Royal Oak.

Cwm Rhaeadr is named after a spectacular waterfall that tumbles off the edge of the Mynydd Mallaen and is just up the road from Penrhyn. This area of forestry is the perfect place for quiet contemplation or for the more adventurous experienced cyclist you may chose to hurtle down the 6.7km mountain bike trail. Walkers to Cwm Rhaeadr have a choice of selected footpaths and trials to explore, the views are stunning and the wildlife abundant. From the elusive pine martin to the beautiful red kite, a range of delicate and beautiful wildflowers, mosses, ferns and fungi, there is much to see to see and enjoy for all who love the countryside.

Further up the valley a two mile trial at Dinas Nature Reserve follows a deep gorge along the river Tywi. This trail twists and winds it’s way over rocks and through ancient woodland of Oak and Alder. The RSPB manage the site and aim to maintain ideal conditions for red kites, pied flycatchers, wood warblers and redstarts. They also work to conserve the special wildlife of the reserve’s rivers and streams for species such as otters, dippers and common sandpipers.  Look out for red kites, buzzards peregrines and ravens over the crags and valley sides on the far side of the gorge.

If you follow the river further upstream for two miles you will come across Llyn Brianne reservoir. Llyn Brianne was completed in 1972 and supplies drinking water to a large part of south Wales.

The reservoir is up to 272 ft (83m) deep and holds more than 13 billion gallons (60 billion litres) of water. Although his is a man made reservoir the landscape is stunning. The reservoir has five fingers surrounded by open moorland of the Cambrian Mountains and forestry. There is a car park at the Dam with public toilets and visitors can explore the forestry tracks along the side of the reservoir and experience breathtaking views and wildlife including red squirrels, pine martins and otters. The mountain road around the reservoir twists and turns over the Cambrians onto Abergwesyn and Llanwrtyd Wells or over to Tregaron and the Ceredigion coast. This vast wilderness is strewn with ancient tracks and pathways where visitors can discover rivers and gorges, wild open hills, ancient monuments and chapels and peace and solitude. Check out www.cambrian-mountains.co.uk for details of the area and walks.

Crychan Forest and Myddfai’s Lyn-y-Fan Fach are also areas of outstanding beauty that should be explored, in fact there are so many beautiful, places around Penrhyn and Rhandirmwyn to inspire guests that they return time after time and become our friends.