The best views in the Valleys

South Wales is not short of good views. Some, like the best in the Brecon Beacons and the Carmarthen Fans, take some getting to but others are easily accessible on foot or even by car. The most beautiful aren’t always marked on maps and some are well-kept local secrets. Here’s the inside scoop on a few top picks:

-Twmbarlwm. The hill above Risca isn’t the biggest in the area about 420m but it offers one of the best views short of Snowdonia. It’s a true 360 degree panorama and everywhere you look there is something to look at, from the Severn Bridges and the Usk as it flows through Newport across to Cardiff, Flat Holm and Steep Holm out in the Bristol Channel, around to the green and rolling hills behind. There is even something to look at up close- the remains of an old hill fort right on the crown of the hill. It’s a very short walk to the summit from the car park and the whole area is popular with mountain bikers. Cwmcarn Forest Drive runs along the side of the hill.

-Craig y Llyn. Drive North from Treherbert along the A4061 and you’ll come out on top of a towering, sharp ridge with a stunning outlook over to the Brecon Beacons in the North. The lake that gives the place its name lies far down below. The views can be enjoyed from one of the lookout carparks, on foot or by bike along the Skyline Trail. This is one spot where cloudy weather doesn’t necessarily mean a disappointment either. The height and exposure mean dramatic skies at any time of year.

-Three Cliffs Bay. One of the Gower’s prettiest spots, this view will be familiar to almost anyone who has browsed a rack of local postcards. From the cliffs above the bay, the distinctive arches stand out against the sea while the river meanders by. The one thing to remember here is the tide, which has a huge range and can come in very quickly. Visit at low tide if you want to take a walk across the sand but always keep one eye on the sea!

-Pontsticill Reservoir. It may be hard for visitors to pronounce but Pontsticill, together with neighbouring Talybont reservoir, makes up one of South Wales’s finest beauty spots. The drive takes you through magnificent Brecon Beacons scenery, which is reflected in the water on still days. The shores are much loved by birdwatchers and good for fishing too. Short walks wander through the woods, down to the magnificent dam wall, or up to any number of waterfalls.