Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Inns and Public Houses of Ystradgynlais


It was reported in the Ystradgynlais Licensing Sessions of Feb 18th 1922, that "There are 26 fully licensed houses, and one beer house in the division. There are three registered clubs, one grocers' license, and six billiard licenses." Our list here may not completely tally with the geographical area of the division, especially as regards the shifting county border of Gurnos, and where the border lay in Upper Cwmtwrch.


The pubs listed under Ystradgynlais include those in the town itself, and along the canal including Ynys Isaf and Ynys Uchaf.

The White Lion
The White Lion in Ynys Uchaf was constructed along the banks of the Swansea Canal which reached Abercrave in 1798. The inn was certainly in operation well before the 1840s. It is now a private house, though a mould of the lion remains on its exterior.


The Butchers Arms
The Butch, as it was known, is now a private house located at the corner of Heol Giedd and Pelican Street.


The Gough Arms
This pub is now the Cafe Chameleon [at the Gough Arms] and is open Tuesday to Saturday for meals, drinks, and entertainment.

The Jeffreys Arms
The Jeff, as it was known, closed in the August 2014. It was on the main Brecon Road into the town, and the road in front of it was known colloquially as "the Jeff hill".


The Masons Arms
Now a supported-living residential centre, The Masons used to stand on the main road along the side of the canal, but redevelopment of the roads now has the building up what is a cul-de-sac alongside the by-pass.


The Penybont Inn
Recently refurbished as the Penybont Sports Bar and Lounge, the Peny (as it is affectionately known) remains a flourishing concern in the town. It is well-known for being the lodging place of the famous artist Josef Herman for some of the period 1944-1955 when he resided in the town.

The Railway Inn
Constructed adjacent to Ystradgynlais railway station, this pub is now a private house located in Gorsafl, up the top of Station Road, leading towards the cycle path to Cae Hopkin which runs along the old railway line. It closed around 1975.


The Star
This pub was on what is now Rhestr Fawr, the road opposite the Ynyscedwyn Arms, but was then known as Gough Buildings. It has subsequently been demolished, and its site is now the open grassy area where the Daniel Protheroe memorial is.


The Travellers Rest
This pub was at the top of Ystradgynlais before you entered the moor leading to Crynant, and left Breconshire. It is now a private house, having closed around 1972.

The Ynyscedwyn Arms
Generally referred to as a hotel in old sources, and known locally as "the Sced", this pub sits on what used to be "the square" and one of the old hearts of the town of Ystradgynlais.


The Miners Arms
This pub is now a private house on Rhestr Fawr, the road opposite the Ynyscedwyn Arms, and which used to be referred to as "Gough Buildings".


The Colliers Arms This pub was located on Pelican Street, and is now a private house.

The Ship Inn
The Ship Inn was sideways on to the canal, opposite Metz Cottages between Cwmgiedd and Ynys Isaf. It closed in about 1953, and only a few stone elements remain today, alongside the bypass which replaced the canal in the early 1970s.


The Pelican Inn
The Pelican Inn was on Pelican Street, Ystradgynlais.



The pubs listed under Abercrave include those at Caerbont, Caerlan, and along the route to Abercrave.

The Abercrave Inn
Known as the Red Lion for all of the 19th century and the first few years of the 20th, the inn has been open since at the least 1840s, and the landlord held the lease from Howel Gwyn, a local major landlord. Still thriving today, the Abercrave Inn has a reputation for good food, and accommodation.


The Copper Beech
Still open today for food and drink, The Copper Beech is that rarity, a pub that used to be something else in the past.


The Castle Hotel
Going strong by the 1850s, the Castle Hotel in Caerlan was constructed on what was then the main road into Ystradgynlais, but is now a quiet back lane. It survived the introduction of the by-pass in 1974, and closed in 1989-1990.

The Lamb and Flag
Across the river from the Rheolau Arms, the Lamb and Flag is first referenced in a book of 1804, but was certainly going well in the later 18th century. It was still open during World War Two, but has long now been a private house.


The Rheolau Arms
This inn has been in operation since at least the 1860s, and remains open today as a pub, and for Sunday meals.



The pubs listed under Cwmtwrch include Gurnos, Lower and Upper Cwmtwrch

The Berrington Arms
This pub burned down in 1992, after having already closed as a pub by the late 1980s, and by the time of the fire had recently closed as a club called Taffy's Tash.


The Crown
Once again bearing the name The Crown, this pub reopened during had previously borne the name 'Y Ffynon', before that in recent years also going by the name 'The Mole'.


The New Inn
The New Inn closed around 2008, and has since been converted into a private house.

The New Tredegar
Located just along from Ebenezer Chapel, this pub remains open for food and drink.


The Old Tredegar
Located adjacent to Cwmtwrch Welfare Hall, and known as 'Y Sticle', this pub is no longer open for business, but is used for accommodation by a training or adventure group.


Tafarn Twrch
Originally called the Castle Inn, as a coaching inn, then the Castle Hotel in later years, this pub is now the Tafarn Twrch, and is located near the roundabout to Rhifawr in Lower Cwmtwrch. It is open for business.

The Aubrey Arms
For many recent years known as The All Blacks, this pub is now once again named The Aubrey and has been rebranded as a Steakhouse.


The George IV
In recent years this pub has been Lowthers restaurant, and more recently The George.


The Lamb Inn
This pub in Upper Cwmtwrch is now the clubhouse for Cwmtwrch Rugby Football Club.

The Ivy Bush
The Ivy Bush was located in Upper Cwmtwrch, located on the left-hand side when coming from Lower Cwmtwrch, just before where the road now splits in two.


The Golden Lion
This pub was located in Lower Cwmtwrch, where Golden Lion Terrace is, near the bridge to Rhiwfawr. On the photograph, it is the two houses on the right with the fancy brickwork.



The pubs of the further end of the Upper Swansea Valley include Ynyswen, Penycae, Penwyllt, Craig-y-Nos, and Callwen

The Gwyn Arms
The Gwyn Arms was named for the local landlowner in the 19th century, Howel Gwyn, who would also give his name to Gwyn Hall, Neath, and who is remembered on a statue in Victoria Gardens. The Gwyn Arms remains open today, for both food and drink.


The Penycae Inn
Built in the early 19th century, the Penycae Inn is still going strong today, with a focus on quality food, as well as a small zoo at the back, and something of an art gallery inside.


The name is analogous to 'The Stone Inn', and there has been a pub where it stands since at least the early 1800s. It flourished initially as a drovers' stop, before they would drive their animals up the old road to Trecastle. The Tafarn remains in use as a pub and restaurant, and is currently open for business.

The Penwyllt Inn
Probably constructed in the late 1860s when the railway came to Penwyllt, it was certainly up and running by 1871. The inn, known locally as "the Stump", closed in 1949. It is located beyond Penywyllt railway station and is owned and used by South Wales Caving Club.


The Ancient Briton
Opened prior to the 1850s, the Ancient Briton used to have a little wall outside the front, setting it back from the road, but road widening removed this. The pub is still going strong today and is well-known for its real ales, as well as offering a good selection of food.



The pubs listed under Coelbren include Cae Hopkin and Coelbren

The Prices' Arms
The Prices Arms was constructed alongside the railway, with Coelbren Station being directly adjacent to it, and was certainly up and running by the 1870s. It remains open today for food and drink.


Some of the details about pubs in the Swansea Valley and Coelbren were sourced from 'The Village Pub' by William T. Davies,a detailed history of brewing in the Neath and Swansea valleys and the history and heritage of the local pubs of the area. All proceeds from sale of this book go towards Ystradgynlais Community Hospital. Published by Dinewfr Press, copies of the book can be ordered either by telephoning them on 01269-850576 or emailing the author direct on WilliamTD@yahoo.co.uk.

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Penybont Sports Bar and Lounge