Our self catering holiday cottages are situated two miles from the centre of Pontardawe, a pleasant, historic town that first came into existence as a settlement at the crossroads of two drovers’ tracks, one from Swansea to Brecon and the other from Neath to Llandeilo.
The most famous landmark in Pontardawe is the spire of St. Peter’s Church which stands 200 feet high and is visible from the fields behind our holiday cottages. The church was built in 1858-1860 in British Gothic style and paid for by William Parsons who said “he would build God’s house higher than the stacks of industry as to aspire men to look upward”. William Parsons was a pioneer of the iron and tinplate industry, whose works began in 1835 and were the start of the rise of Pontardawe.
Today, there is very little evidence of the town’s industrial past – nature has survived and regenerated to create a beautiful, even breath-taking holiday location. The town is closely surrounded by steeply sloping hills that are covered in thick woodland, commanding views of nearly the whole of the valley, as well as of the opposite side. Pretty gabled houses look down on to the valley bottom and the River Tawe (excellent fishing) tumbles over boulders on its way down to Swansea, the Gower peninsula and the open sea. The view back to Pontardawe and St. Peter’s Church reveals a backdrop of distant mountains and a hint of the glorious Brecon Beacons.
Pontardawe is a Welsh word and means “Bridge over the River Tawe”. The old stone bridge after which the town takes its name lies alongside the town’s most famed pub, The Pontardawe Inn (The Gwachel to locals). The bridge was built by William Edwards of Pontypridd, a famous bridge builder. He also built the bridge at Pontypridd, which was the longest single-span bridge in the world when it was constructed, and the bridge at Cenarth in west Wales. He was also responsible for the design of Morriston in the Swansea Valley for Morris, a local industrialist.
Pontardawe is famed for its three major annual cultural shows. The Swansea Valley Show focuses on the valley’s agricultural roots is a well attended farming and livestock event. The Cwmtawe Sevens Invitation Rugby Tournament is Wales’s top 7’s event and attracts rugby teams from all over the U.K. Gareth Edwards, thought by many to be the greatest rugby player of all time, Robert Jones and Arwel Thomas are all native of the Pontardawe area. The last event of the year and the most spectacular is the Pontardawe International Music Festival, which is held in August of each year. The festival, which began in 1977, boasts a vivid past, rich in history and incident. Dance troupes and singers come to Pontardawe from all over the world to take part in the music festival. Crowds line the streets for the highlight of the event when a torchlit procession parades through the streets, bringing the town alive with dance and song. The town has a rich history in the fields of poetry, prose and music. Amongst its most well known personalities are Mary Hopkin, singer, the late Rachel Thomas, actress, Dafydd Rowlands, poet and prose writer and the late David James Jones (Gwenallt), poet, to name but a few.
Pontardawe is a great base if you are planning a walking holiday in Wales. Picturesque walks along the Swansea Canal and riverside walks through ancient woodland in Cwmdu Glen all start in the town centre since both the river and the canal run through the heart of the town. If you fancy taking a car, there are some wonderful and little known drives on the surrounding hills where the scenery is spectacular. There are suggested routes in our self catering cottages.
The town is also a great destination for a Welsh golfing holiday. Pontardwe Golf Club is situated on a hill overlooking the town and boasts magnificent views of the Brecon Beacons and the Bristol Channel from the 16th hole. Visitors to our holiday cottages enjoy special rates – if you want to play golf during your stay let us know!
Other attractions include Pontardawe Swimming Pool and Pontardawe Leisure Centre, which occupies the valley floor where Gilbertson’s furnace and mill once produced iron, steel and tinplate. Herbert Street is home to the Pontardawe Arts Centre which is an art house cinema, concert venue and theatre rolled into one.
Pontardawe was twinned with the town of Locmine in Brittany in 1986. See www.pontardawe.org.uk for more information.
Holiday Cottages Pontardawe
If you are looking for a hotel, farm stay, bed and breakfast, holiday cottage or self catering accommodation in Alltwen, Rhos, Cilybebyll, Gellinudd, Forest Goch, Trebanos, Rhydyfro, Ynysmeudwy, Godrergraig, Ystalyfera, Cwmtwrch, Rhiwfawr, Cwmllynfell, Lower Brynamman, Tairgwaith or Gwaun Cae Gurwen then you have come to the right website. All these villages are easily accessible from our self catering cottages at Plas Farm near Pontardawe.