Things to do in Ebbw Vale, South Wales
Ebbw Vale is full of surprises, the road sweeps along the valley with fabulous rolling mountains covered in heather and liberally decorated with tiny waterfalls and rocky outcrops. Look carefully and you will see railway arches perched precariously high up the mountainsides. Although a wide road the main road is far from busy with its grass edged carriageways leading swiftly through the heart of the hills.
As you come towards the town you can easily miss the High Street with its array of shops and cheerful townsfolk. The road takes you past before you know it, you may have to turn back and find your way in. As you drive through the oldest parts of town the blackened buildings give the feeling that the industrial revolution is still in full swing and the coal carts are just around the corner. The tall brick walls and small terraced houses line the road high tight on either side. Suddenly you reach the colourful and very modern glass canopy that shelters the row of shops leading to the main shopping street where Ebbw Vale becomes a different world.
Ebbw Vale's High Street has been newly paved with beautiful stone slabs and shiny new balustrades guard it's edges. The slightly shabby shops are slowly being transformed and refurbished to meet the new look of the centre of town.
At the towns heart there are huge polished steel spheres that glitter in the sun and the most extraordinary sight meets your eyes. The Town Clock. Not the usual traditional Victorian pastiche but a magnificent cantilevered arch rises from the pavement with the effect of a shooting star. Two faces tell you the time; you can relax at it's base sitting on the stone bench with words spoken by the local people of Ebbw Vale carved into it's surface. It's main arc rises with more words lifting upwards towards the hills in the distance. Some locals call it the Daffodil and others tell you it is inspired by the Town's name, Ebbw Vale (Glyn Ebbwy) which means Valley of the Wild Horse. Some of the older folk remember the horses roaming the hills and invading their gardens.
For walking or mountain biking this area of beautiful Wales is unrivalled and there are many routes that can be explored up the hills and through the wooded slopes. Hotels are cheap and excellent, with a good choice of modern or historic depending on your mood. The roads are accessible without having ruined the rural feel of the area as a whole.
The sheer variety of experience here is extraordinary. From industrial to rural and then to utterly and uncompromisingly modern this town has everything the explorer might need for an adventure second to none.
Description by Mrs Wallace