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.
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.
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.
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.
Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid(s) or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.
Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.