The goings on in and around Bridgend

Archive for tag: Pontypridd

The Three Valleys (part 1!)

Nantymoel, originally uploaded by fatdeeman.

I've worked in Bridgend for the best part of two years now and one of the best surprises for me was the Three Valleys that sit north of the M4 and which I had never visited before (I tell a lie, I once went to the Old Parish in Maesteg to watch a game of rugby when I was 14!).  These valleys are certainly off the beaten track, yet just a stone's throw from the M4 so really easy to get to. What makes them special is that they are relatively unknown, full of character, humour and very Welsh in their own way.  Scenically they are both dramatic and gentle in parts, and also great for walking without the being too extreme (‘walking for softies’ if you like!).  The Ogmore Valley or Ogmore Vale was the first place I visited in Bridgend, and loved it.  The drive up to the top through Nantymoel taking you into the Rhondda Valley via what is known locally as 'the Bwlch' is spectacularly memorable for all the right reasons.  There’s a great little farm shop up there just before the climb starts to the top of the mountain, a nice place to replenish with a cake or two!   So, if you are staying locally in South Wales,  the 3 Valleys is a must really, and this drive in particular I highly recommend.  You could combine the journey with a visit over the top of the mountain to the Grogg Shop in Pontypridd for instance.... see our previous post!

Groggs born in Pontypridd

Believe it or not, but these little gems are indeed iconic in Wales.  Known as Groggs,  they are as well known in rugby circles as the stars themselves.  If you want to try to understand the psyche behind the Welsh obsession with the oval ball, then there's of course the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to visit, but essential and a bit off the beaten track is the Grogg Shop in Pontypridd, where these little beauties are made. It's not all about rugby and sport though, as there are now Groggs of film stars, miners and even sheep but for the full collection and the history of these unique creatures in Wales, you have to pop into the shop. Guaranteed to be a cultural experience with a difference! If you're staying near us in Porthcawl or Bridgend, then there's a lovely journey over the top of the valleys to Pontypridd, will take about 30minutes or so.