Stargazing in the Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons, home of The Bear at Crickhowell, is in an exclusive club as one of the few International Dark Skies Reserves in the world.

It means you can walk a few hundred metres from The Bear and, on a clear night, see the stars clearly. If you are visiting from a larger town of city, it is a sight to behold.

Read this article if you want to find out more and see some stunning starscapes. But before you do, book your room at The Bear on our contact page.

Winter Walking in the Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains look simply stunning when we get a bit of sunshine. That’s Pen Y Fan all dressed in white in the distance. Come and see for yourself and visit The Bear at Crickhowell – named Best Walkers’ Pub in Wales by The Great Outdoors Magazine. We won the Silver Award for the whole of the UK, so there’s plenty to shout about for this hotel in National Park.

A view of the Brecon Beacons showing a snow-capped Pen Y Fan in the distance
Pen Y Fan as seen from Sugarloaf Mountain, which stands behind The Bear.

There are hundreds of miles of footpaths in the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains. You can see both sets of mountains from The Bear, and Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in southern Britain is a short drive away.

A view of The Bear Hotel in Crickhowell surrounded by mountains.
You can see both the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons from The Bear.

For the less able-bodied, there are level walks along the towpath of the Monmouth and Brecon Canal, just a mile from The Bear.

The Monmouth and Brecon Canal offers level walks with spectacular views.
The Mon and Brec Canal offers level walks and still some spectacular views.

When the walking is done, come back to The Bear where you will find real fires, real ales and a really friendly welcome. We have hard floors, so you don’t need to worry about walking boots, though please wash them in a puddle beforehand. And we are very dog-friendly at The Bear, so you can bring your four-legged friend as well.

A dog sitting on top of a rock with views of the Brecon Beacons Behind.
There are walks for dogs of all abilities near The Bear.

Dogs can stay in 30 of our rooms and are welcome in the Bar. If you need any information about the walking around The Bear, please visit the Crickhowell Resource and Information Centre, just up the road. The Crickhowell Walking Festival runs through the first week of March every year. This year, it runs from the 7th-15th and has guided walks for all grades. If you want to book a room or a meal at The Bear, please ring reception on 01873 810 408 or click on the link below to visit our contact page https://www.bearhotel.co.uk/contact/

Pictures by Tim Jones of Crickhowell-based As You See It Media

WALKERS PUB OF THE YEAR – SILVER AWARD

We are thrilled to announce that The Bear has won the Silver Award in the UK-wide The Great Outdoors Walkers Pub of The Year category. And it’s a double celebration for Crickhowell, because Crickhowell Adventure just two doors away got the Independent Retailer Bronze Award. Happy New Year and thank you to everyone who voted for us.

Good Dogs Welcome!

We love dogs at The Bear, but we are also well aware of the need for responsible dog ownership in the Brecon Beacons. Here’s a helpful article written by one of the National Park’s Ambassadors.

Real Ales at The Bear

On the guest pump, Gower Gold from the South Wales Coast. The brewers say: “t has refreshing citrus flavours and the lovely aroma of the cascade hops. Brewed since December 2011, this beer has become an all-round firm favourite. Gower Gold clocks in at 4.5% abv and is available all year round.” We say “delicious”. #gowergold #realale #thirstquenching

SPRING LAMB SPECIAL AT THE BEAR

Spring Lamb is a traditional dish for Easter – but chances are, you won’t have tasted anything like the lamb coming to the Specials Menu at The Bear at Crickhowell.

Our Head Chef, Padrig Jones, loves finding the very best, locally sourced, Welsh ingredients for seasonal specials and he’s been out on the farm to source Pedigree Black Welsh Mountain Lamb for Easter.

They are one of Wales’ oldest rare breeds and are bred by John and Hillary Garn from prize-winning stock at Upper House Farm near Monmouth, about 20 miles from The Bear.

Padrig went to visit the farm to check the condition of the lambs and how they have been bred.  He said: “It’s incredibly important to me to know where the food I am serving comes from.  These lambs have not been reared intensively.  They have been grazing on meadows, eating the herbs and flowers in the borders which will add to the flavour and they have been outside, so they have been able to exercise. The meat will be a bit leaner than other lamb but still very tender because the muscles have been working.”

“I have tasted lamb in different countries around the World.  I have had lamb from the Pyrenees, which is absolutely incredible, but Welsh lamb is fabulous.  And people want to try local produce when they visit The Bear and you don’t get much more local than this.”

The flock at Upper House Farm are bred primarily for showing.  The prize winners are kept or sold to other farmers to preserve the breed, and the rest are sold for meat.   

But you won’t find this lamb on a butcher’s counter.  Hillary said: “The meat is slightly darker than the lamb you see in supermarkets and therefore what consumers are used to.  But it has a much better flavour, so we sell direct to hotels and restaurants who know how best to prepare the dishes.  The chef’s love it and they say their costumers do, too.”

The lamb will be butchered to order by Richards Butchers, just across the road from The Bear and will be available during the Easter Holidays.

“It will be prepared simply, but beautifully,” Padrig said, “this flavour needs to speak for itself and I want to do justice to the lambs that John and Hillary lovingly breed.”

Valentine’s Menu

If great food is the way to your Valentine’s Heart, then head for The Bear! Our Valentine’s Specials Menu is full of the food of love – sharing dishes, foods to give him or her ‘that loving feeling’. The Menu is available from Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th of February. Call 01873810408
#valentines #crickhowell #foodoflove CRiC The Great Inns of Britain Welsh Rarebits Collection