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The upland community of Cwmdu & District lies at the western edge of the Black Mountains and comprises four villages with a total population of 918.
Bwlch, meaning a “mountain pass” in Welsh, sits in the saddle between Buckland Hill and Cefn Moel in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park and is a great starting point for walks in the hills. In the 18th and 19th centuries Bwlch became part of the turnpike route from London to Carmarthen and Fishguard and was a popular stopping point for stagecoaches. The shop was originally a tollhouse and there were toll gates on the main road and the road to Llangorse. The busy A40 follows the line of the Roman road and there was a Roman Fort at Pen y Gaer, a mile away to the east.
Cwmdu, meaning “Black Valley” in Welsh, lies in the Rhiangoll valley at the foot of the Black Mountains. In the early 19th century Cwmdu was home to one of the foremost scholars of Celtic history, music and literature. The Reverend Thomas Price, (Rector 1825-1848), is buried at St Michael’s Church. He established the first school in Felindre, Cwmdu in which the pupils could be educated in Welsh whilst ensuring they learned English. The remains of Roman camps are located at the Gaers and a stone with a Roman inscription was built into a buttress of the church by Thomas Price.
Tretower has the historic Court and Castle, cared for by CADW, which was built by a Norman, Lord Picard around 900 years ago. The Court, a fortified Manor House was once the home of Henry Vaughan. St John’s Church was restored in 1877 by Sir Joseph Bailey, Lord Glanusk who also built the parish hall. Tretower, like the other villages in the community is surrounded by the spectacular scenery that is all part of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Cathedine is the smallest of the community villages and is situated on the road from Bwlch to Llangorse. There are Norman Castle remains at Blaenllynfi and Prehistoric burial cairns on Cefn Moel,