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Brecon Beacons

Brecknockshire, South Wales

Location Guide

The Brecon Beacons National Park is one of Wales's most spectacular wilderness landscapes covering an area of over 500 square miles. Boasting the biggest mountains in southern Britain, they are a wild and unspoilt landscape and great for walking and nature spotting. It takes in a wide variety of scenery from lakes and woodlands to moorland and mountains.

The Brecon Beacons is great for ramblers of all ages and abilities with walks for the casual stroller and the hardened hiker.

Fantastic scenery

The Brecon Beacons has been strikingly sculpted by glacial action from the last Ice Age, resulting in impressive features like corries, which are huge hollows in the hillside. Steep escarpments, rocky summits, limestone pavement, heather moorland and vast underground cave systems can all be found in the Park's upland areas.

The area's rocky cliffs are fantastic places for plants with 500 species including Arctic Alpines on higher ground and the delicate, purple Saxifrage.  The park's lowlands are characterised by grasslands, hay meadows, woodlands, and some important wetlands such as Llangorse Lake.

A Bird watchers' paradise

Look out for the wonderful upland birds that make their home here from Peregrines and Buzzards to the agile Merlin and scarce species such as the Wheatear and Whinchat.

Spring is a good time to visit when there are dozens of different types of birds to be seen.

The Red Grouse is only found on upland moorlands like the Brecon Beacons, hiding in the low and dense cover to avoid predators. In the Spring crowing males defy each other with loud crowing challenges from prominent perches in a display of one-upmanship.

Another bird which has made its home here is the Ring Ouzel, an upland blackbird which loves steep, boulder-strewn slopes and bare mountain sides.  With its black body and white chest its mostly easily spotted from its monotone 'too-too-too' singing. There are 20 pairs in the Brecon Beacons.

Also look out for Ravens, Kestrels, Sparrow Hawks, and Red Kites.

A good place to go bird watching is the Craig Cerrig Glesiad National Nature Reserve, located in an area called the Crags of the Blue Stones, noted for its harsh Winter climate.

The Ponies

Welsh Mountain Ponies are one of the local residents in Brecon Beacons. This semi-wild breed goes back 3,000 years to before Roman times. There are about 500 ponies in total, which are used for riding, breeding, farming and pulling carts. Sadly the number of ponies is less than it once was due to the decline of traditional hill farming.

A good place to see these ponies is the Black Mountain or Mynydd du, a real 'wild west' area of the national park, a wilderness rich in myths and legends.

The ponies are one of the reasons that there are so many rare flowers, because they eat the other vegetation, allowing beautiful flowers such as the Meadow Saffron to survive.

Winter Visits

It is an area which can be visited anytime of the year, although during winter months some areas will be more restricted. However on a drive through you can get to see the many waterfalls which cascade off the high rock faces down into gully's. Some of these if it's really cold can give you icicle formations with coloured rock fall backdrops. Of course if you are able to visit when snow is on the ground then the scene is altogether more striking and a challenge with all that white, but beautifully stunning.

Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales

Grid Reference: SN993255
(Mountain Centre at Libanus)
Ceremonial County: Brecknockshire

Map Link: VIEW MAP

Aerial photo:

Getting there: There are several routes into the National Park including the A470 from Merthyr Tydfil, the A40 from Abergavenny, and the A465 from Neath. The Mountain Centre is located five miles south west of Brecon at Libanus, and some 15 miles north of Merthyr Tydfil.

Access: Variable depending on exact location within the National Park - check information line.
Website: www.breconbeacons.org
Other Useful Websites: www.brecon-beacons.com/mountain-centre.htm
Email: enquiries@breconbeacons.org
Address: Plas y Flfynnon, Cambrian Way, Brecon.
Postcode: LD3 7HP Telephone: 01874 624437 and
01874 623366 - Mountain Centre, Libanus
Opening Times: All year round

Charges: Free public access. Admission is free to Libanus Mountain Centre but there is a small car parking charge.

Parking: Various car parks and pull in parking areas around.
Things To Do, See and Photograph: National Park and related activities. Rambling, bird watching and outdoor activities such as climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, caving and horse riding. Waterfalls, reservoirs and lakes, mountain scenes.
What to take: Binoculars for bird watching. Walking boots/shoes for rambling plus weather protective clothing.
Nature watching: Ponies, birds, plant life, sheep
Best Times to Visit: All year round. Different seasons giving different views and opportunities. Spring for birds and plant life in flower. Winter for snow covered mountains. Year round for walking.
Nearby Locations:
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By: Tracey Park Section: National Parks Key:
Page Ref: brecon_beacons Topic: Routes    Last Updated: 07/2009


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