Brecon Beacons - "Take nothing but photographs. Kill nothing but time. Leave nothing but footprints"

The Brecon Beacons is situated in Wales and is one of Great Britain’s most beautiful national parks. It is situated near the town of Brecon, a market town on the River Usk, northwest of Cardiff and northeast of Swansea. Due to its large size, it is part of several counties - Carmarthenshire, Brecon, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The area is perfect for hiking for people of all ages and fitness. There are plenty of low-lying areas for those who wish a pleasant stroll, and there are also many summits that are classed as mountains, ensuring rewarding ascents for the more adventurous. The scenery is quite spectacular and there is a fair amount of wildlife for the interested and patient hiker.

Though there are some well-marked routes, it is important to bring a proper Ordinance Survey Map and a compass. As the weather can deteriorate, it is important to bring warm and rain-proof clothing, as well as emergency food. Always ensure that someone knows where you are going and when you are likely to be back. Do not rely on mobile phones as the topography can interfere with the signals.

There are a plethora of camping sites, as well as caravan parks, Bed and Breakfasts and even hotels. For most people, the area is far too remote to make a day trip, so it is best to stay at least one night, unless you are planning a very brief walk. Unless you have a pressing reason, it is best to spend at least a few days there to take in the different kind of sights and experiences on offer.

Facts & figures

Designated a national park: 1957
Area : 135,144 hectares
Average visitors per year: 7 million
Budget: £3,078,000
Staff: 92

Land occupation

Private: 69.6%
Forestry Commission: 8%
Ministry of Defence: 0.1%
Water Companies: 4%
National Trust: 3.5%
English Nature: 0.8%
Other: 14%

Land type

Open country: 58,451 hectares
Agricultural land: 53,651 hectares
Coniferous wood: 9,051 hectares
Broadleaved woodland: 5,565 hectares
Mixed woodland: 352 hectares
Inland water: 799 hectares
Urban area: 1,078 hectares
Derelict area: 323 hectares
Other: 5,792 hectares

Total: 135,062


The Countryside Commission, (1998)

Brecon Beacons National Park - "Take nothing but photographs. Kill nothing but time. Leave nothing but footprints"

See the Everything Quest U.S. National Parks and Monuments


National Parks were first created in Britain by the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act and now cover more than 10% of its land area. According to this act, National Parks have two purposes:

  • to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Parks; and
  • to promote opportunities for the public understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the Parks

    The Council for National Parks is a charity which tries to conserve the National Parks of England and Wales while allowing as many people as possible to get enjoyment out of them.

    The National Park

    The Brecon Beacons is a National Park in Brennockshire, south-east Wales which was created in 1957, the last of the original ten to be so designated. The National Park with the highest population, 32,000 people live in its 135,144 hectares while 7 million people visit the park each year. A landscape where people have lived and worked for over five thousand years, the Brecon Beacons is one of three National Parks in Wales, along with the Pembrokeshire Coast and Snowdonia.

    This area is best seen as a quartet of upland areas - the Brecon Beacons, the Black Mountains, the Black Mountain and Forest Fawr - surrounded by agricultural landscape. The Park itself is a beautiful area characterised by its breathtaking scenery, rare and beautiful wildlife and strong historical tradition. It is a landscape of contrasts, with open moorland next to mountains and valleys, waterfalls near undulating rivers and towns adjacent to farms. Farming is still an important source of income in this area and due to this the population is relatively settled, still observing many Welsh cultural traditions. This agricultural landscape is rich in wildlife with some plants and animals which flourish only in this area.

    The Brecon Beacons contain some of the most beautiful agricultural landscape in the United Kingdom, equalled only by the Yorkshire Dales. This area is also the location of the tallest mountain in southern Britain, Pen-Y-Fan. The park is run by the Brecon Beacon National Park Authority although, even though the area has been designated a National Park for almost fifty years, much of it is still under private ownership.

    Places to visit in the Brecon Beacons

    Pontsarn & the Taff Trail Long Distance Footpath
    Brecon & Monmouthshire Canal
    Henrhyd Waterfall, the highest in the Brecon Beacons
    Aberdulais Falls
    Llangorse Lake
    Craig Cerrig Gleisiad
    Mynydd Illtyd
    Pen Y Fan & Corn Du
    Storey Arms
    Ogof Ffynnon Ddu
    Waterfall Country
    Brecon Beacons Central Massif
    Porth Y Ogof

    Places to visit in the Black Mountain

    The Black Mountain
    The summits at Mynydd Ddu
    Llyn Y Fan Fach and Fawr
    Carmarthen Fans
    Usk River Valley
    Carreg Cennen
    Sarn Helen, Maen Madoc & Maen

    Places to visit in the Black Mountains and Forest Fawr

    Gospel Pass
    Llanthony Priory & Valley
    Black Mountains
    The Sugar Loaf
    The Skirrid / Holy Mountain
    Cwm Clydach Gorge
    Llangattock Escarpment
    The summits at Forest Fawr
    The summits of the Black Mountains
    The summits in the South Wales Valleys
    Offa's Dyke Long Distance Footpath
    Wye River Valley

    A truly spectactular area, the Brecon Beacons combine outstanding scenery with rare wildlife. Go there if you can, the Wye Valley is especially worth a visit and the area is great for walkers of all abilities due to its wide range of terrain and many well-marked trails.


    Places to visit taken from

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