The County Borough has a wealth of heritage, but at the same time is host to some of the most dramatic scenery in Wales with nearly one third of the Authority lying within the famous Brecon Beacons National Park.
Merthyr is also easy to get to, at the cross-roads of the A465 (Heads of the Valeys road) and A470 (from Cardiff to Brecon), it is only 20 minutes off the M4 and is just 22 miles from Cardiff, Wales' capital city. It is an ideal base for exploring Swansea, the Mumbles, Mid Wales and the Black Mountains, all of which are comfortably within an hour's drive time. Due to its strategic location and excellent train, bus and road links, the town is a hive of activity, with quality retail outlets, top class accomodation and leisure facilities and friendly people, all contributing to the "Merthyr Experience".
So whether you are here on holiday, business or just want to visit the Merthyr Tydfil Valleys to ride in spectacular countryside I am sure this site will help you. For a quick tour of circular rides click on the link below.
The Towns Beginnings
Merthyr Tydfil lies at the top of the Taff Valley, 25 miles North of the Bristol Channel and at the foot of the Brecon Beacons Mountains. Because of Merthyr Tydfils important position within South East Wales, the area has been settled since prehistory. The remains of these early hilltop homes can be found around the Borough.
During the Iron Age, South East Wales was inhabited by the Silurians, a tribe who vigourously fought to keep their land as the Roman Army advanced into Wales. A small fortification was built by the Roman Army in the Penydarren are of Merthyr Tydfil. The site is now covered by the towns football ground.
In about 480 AD, Wales was once more under threat as pagan hoards pressed Westwards accross Britian. During this period, Brychan, Chieftan of Brycheniniog, was travelling through the area with his family. During a battle they were attacked and killed. Brychans daughter, Tydfil, is said to have died as she prayed for help. Tydfil was later canonised and a church built on the spot where she is thought to have been killed.
In the Medieval period conflict again occured again in the area as the Norman Lords Of Glamorgan and Brecon fought for control over this strategic point. In 1286 Gilbert De Clare began to build a Castle overlooking the area of Morlais. However the Castle was never completed. Edward 1 tired over the two Lords squabbling and sent both of them to the Tower Of London. Little remains of the Castle, except for an underground vaulted chamber.
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