My places in Wales – Huw Edwards

I love the very rural and rather barren area around Bethania in Ceredigion. It’s sparsely populated. It has some of the nicest countryside in Wales. This is where the Edwards family comes from, where they were farmers before lots of them emigrated to the States in the mid 19th century. One brother stayed, which is why I feel such strong links with Ceredigion.

A taste of rural Wales

One of the reasons I love the area is because actually it hasn’t changed a lot over the last 300 years. If you want a taste of rural life in the early 19th century, you can visit Bethania, Penuwch and Bwlch Llan especially. There are really evocative examples of early 19th century chapel architecture because the Methodist revival started in this area. It’s a great area for visitors to get a real strong sense of Welsh culture.

Harbour Master hotel in Aberaeron

Harbour Master Hotel, Aberaeron, Ceredigion by Ian H's
When I’m visiting the area I’ll often eat at The Harbourmaster in Aberaeron, which is a lovely seaside town I have a very strong affinity with. I particularly love visiting in the spring when you get the feeling you’ve got the place all to yourself. I’ve also eaten and stayed at The Feathers Royal, which is nice too.

Calon Lân yn llawn daioni

My mother comes from the South Wales Valleys and I’m bound to recommend an area that has been completely transformed in the last 20 years. Parc Calon Lân is part of the regeneration of the Garw Valley, featuring nature walks, cycling trails - everything you’d want in terms of outdoor activities. It’s situated in a former mining village called Blaengarw. It’s called Parc Calon Lân because the poet Daniel James, was a miner at Blaengarw where he wrote the words to the famous Welsh hymn, Calon Lân.

Blaengarw is the uppermost village in the river valley (Cwm Garw) of the River Garw, in the county borough of Bridgend, Wales.

Blaengarw, South Wales Valleys

 by Paula J James
This is where my mother was brought up and where my grandmother lived for most of her life. I have a very strong recollection of Blaengarw as a mining village - rather grey, rather wet, rather gloomy, with the miners walking to and from their shifts.

Today, Blaengarw is literally a different world.  It is green, the slagheaps and the mines are gone…

If you want a taste of a former industrial area that is offering something surprising and new Blaengarw and Cwmgarw are great examples of that regeneration. You’re less than an hour from Cardiff or Swansea, so it couldn’t be easier to get to.

You can genuinely feel you’re miles away from anywhere.

One of my favourite places to visit in North Wales is Criccieth and nearby Llanystumdwy. I fell in love the area while making a documentary about the only Welsh Prime Minister in history, David Lloyd George. Lloyd George was a Criccieth man. It’s a fantastic coastal town, with a wonderful castle overlooking Tremadog Bay.

On a sunny day you could be in the Mediterranean.

The Lloyd George museum is in Llanystumdwy. It’s quite extensive and there’s a wonderful range of displays in there, from Lloyd George’s medals and trophies, to more personal items and photographs.

Lloyd George: the Welsh success story

This is a direct link with the biggest Welsh success story in terms of politics. You can visit the tiny house where he was brought up, which again brings home the great drama and this amazing achievement of this man who rose to power from an incredibly modest background. 

Portmeirion Piazza, Snowdonia

Portmeirion Piazza, Minffordd, Snowdonia by Eiona R
I can remember we had a lovely meal on the square in Criccieth, in a place called Tir A Mor. Portmeirion is not very far away and that’s a place that should be on everyone’s list to visit and to stay.