Powys Digital History Project  
  Gateway to the Brecon Beacons
The Upper Swansea Valley serves as a southern gateway to the Brecon Beacons National Park, and it includes the 19th century mansion of Craig-y-Nos Castle and its Country Park near the former iron-making town of Ystradgynlais.  
The head waters
of the Tawe in
December 1998.
The high ridge in the
centre distance is
The valley is cut off from the rest of Breconshire by the great mass of Black Mountain and Fforest Fawr to the north, with just this narrow pass (left) allowing access. Although a part of Breconshire, this remoteness has meant that perhaps the valley communities have more naturally been open to influences from the south.
  Looking north from the Glamorgan border this photograph shows the unfinished Ynyscedwyn Ironworks and the modern spread of Ystradgynlais with Black Mountain on the far horizon. 

 Photograph from the collection of the late John Morris