Brecon Beacons National Park celebrates its 58th Birthday

Happy Birthday to the Brecon Beacons National Park, 58 today and looking amazing!

There is so much to do and see in our National Park, have a read of our top 10 suggestions of what you can do – perfect way to enjoy the glorious weather and beautiful scenery this weekend in celebration.

1. Take a walk

A walk in the Brecon Beacons comes complete with perfect picnic spots, awe-inspiring views, fascinating historic sites and grand geological features. We’ve collected a few experiences you shouldn’t miss on your own journey through the National Park. Click here for a taster of what you can expect.

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

2. Discover our Dark Skies

Come for the day, but stay for the night. Our National Park is an International Dark Sky Reserve, the only one in Wales.  On a clear night in the Brecon Beacons, you can see the Milky Way, major constellations, bright nebulas and even meteor showers. It’s enough to make anyone starry eyed.

Keen to experience our magical dark skies? Here are ten superb places to try.

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

3. Experience Canoeing or Kayaking

The Brecon Beacons National Park offers an awesome range of options for paddlesports, from the tranquillity of canals and reservoirs to extreme kayaking over jaw-dropping waterfalls. Get ready to design your own adventure!

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

Come to the Brecon Beacons National Park and you can have fun paddling a kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard, raft or even a coracle. With waters graded from from Grade 1 (easy) up to Grade 6 (extremely hard), we really do have something for everyone.

Find the Brecon Beacons operators here 

4. Try Caving and potholing

The Brecon Beacons National Park is one of the most exciting and varied caving areas in Britain. Our Geopark includes four of the five longest limestone cave systems in Britain. Why not explore this fascinating underworld?

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

Our caves and caverns have been quietly forming for thousands of years, underground and out of sight. Visitors from all over the world come to the southwest section of the Brecon Beacons National Park to explore these amazing spaces and feel the thrill of discovery. For some, it’s their first ever caving trip, while others have many years of experience.

Fancy a go? Find the Brecon Beacons operators here

5. Go on a family fun bike ride

There are six recommended moderate, traffic-free cycle touring routes in the Brecon Beacons National Park. They’re perfect for a half day or full day cycle ride and a great way for you and your family or friends to get out into our beautiful countryside.

©Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

©Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

Didn’t bring your bike? No worries, we have plenty of cycle hire operators and bike businesses that will deliver bikes to you or collect you and the bike once you have gone as far as you want.  For all our cycling routes go here 

6.Visit some of our attractions

There are masses of things for visitors to do in and around the Brecon Beacons.  From exploring castles, to discovering Wales’s rich mining heritage or spending a day at a farm center. Find out more  here 

© Brecon Beacon National Park Authority

© Brecon Beacon National Park Authority

7. Visit one of our many Waterfalls

©  Brecon Beacons National Park

© Brecon Beacons National Park

What could be more charming than the sound of a waterfall tumbling into a clear woodland pool? The geological make-up of the Brecon Beacons National Park makes it an excellent place for waterfalls. Our cascades are a delight to walkers, photographers, botanists and wildlife-watchers alike. find out more here 

8. Have a go at Pony trekking

Our riding and trekking centres look after riders of all abilities. If you’ve never been riding before, the Brecon Beacons is a great place to start. Experienced riders love the Beacons too. Our Park is blessed with beautiful terrain to challenge and inspire.

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

9. Join us for one of our Festivals

Our annual festivals celebrate our very best walking, food, drink, arts, music and entertainment the National Park has to offer. We like nothing better than a good get-together, and all are welcome. Come and join us! Find out whats happening here

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

10. Spend some time in one of our Market Towns

With characterful market towns while, further inside our Park, the River Usk, the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal and the shores of Llangorse Lake are dotted with pleasant country villages and sleepy hamlets.

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

Together, our towns and villages reflect our history and heritage as a mining, quarrying and farming region and our role as custodians of a beautiful region of hills, valleys, lakes and waterways.

Some are notable historic centres with classic Welsh architecture, interesting museums and ancient churches.

In our main towns, Abergavenny, Brecon, Crickhowell, Hay-on-Wye, Llandovery and Talgarth, there’s always something going on.  View them here.

We hope you enjoy your time with us.  Check out our website for all information for your visit to the Brecon Beacons.

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Hay Dark Sky Festival happening this weekend

Looking for ideas for this weekend in the Brecon Beacons National Park?

How about taking in some dark sky sights at Hay on Wye’s second dark sky festival this weekend – 17th – 19th April 2015.

Dark Skies Festival

© Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages

Over the weekend,  there will be UK observers offering a range of activities from safe Solar Observing, a Planetarium experience, to displays and night time observing in the company of experts.

What better way to enjoy our dark skies and learn about them at the same time.

Observe the Night Sky around Hay

© Hay On Wye Dark Skies Festival

For a full line up and more information head to the website here :-www.darkskiesfestival.org/programme-2015

To find out more about the Brecon Beacons dark skies have a look on our website or read our top 10 places to go stargazing

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Top 3 places for waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons

Of all the many places to see waterfalls in our Park, here are three of the best – we hope you enjoy!

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

1. Waterfall Country: living landscapes 

Waterfall Country is one of the most beautiful and popular parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Fforest Fawr Geopark, it  lies within the triangle formed by the villages of Hirwaun, Ystradfellte, and Pontneddfechan. With steep, tree-lined gorges and an abundance of tumbling water. You’ll find a series of waterfalls to explore, the most famous waterfall is Sgwd-yr-Eira, ‘the Snow Waterfall’, on the River Hepste, where a natural path leads right behind the curtain of water.

©  Brecon Beacons National Park

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

The main entry point to the region is the village of Pontneddfechan, where you’ll find the Waterfalls Centre, staff can provide you with information on the area, its waterfalls and its walking trails.  A series of walking trails in Waterfall country can also be found here

2. Blaen-y-Glyn: lively waters

Much of the water that fills Talybont Reservoir begins its journey high up in the mountains at the head of the Talybont Valley in the eastern Beacons. At Blaen-y-Glyn, the infant River Caerfanell, the Nant Bwrefwr and other streams tumble down from the hills over tremendous clusters of picturesque waterfalls.

There are pleasant walks to these falls from the Natural Resource Wales car parks at Upper Blaen-y-Glyn (grid reference SO056176) and Lower Blaen-y-Glyn (SO064169).

3. Henrhyd Falls: the highest waterfall in the Brecon Beacons National Park

With a drop of 27m, Sgwd Henrhyd, on the River Nant Llech north-west of Glyn-Neath, is the highest waterfall in the National Park.

© Brecon Beacons Tourism

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

A walking trail leads to the waterfall from the National Trust car park (grid reference SN853121) near Coelbren, off the A4221 a mile south-east of Abercrave. You follow a steep path down into the mystical wooded valley, with occasional glimpses of the falls through the trees. A wooden bridge takes you across the stream which you then follow up to the pool at the base of Henrhyd Falls.

For further information on all the waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons please have a look at our website here or purchase the waterfalls guide here 

A reminder to everyone to wear the appropriate walking footwear and be safe when visiting these area’s.  Also please help us to preserve our waterfalls by taking care, sticking to the paths and following the Countryside Code.

Have a read of one of our previous blogs We love Waterfalls, streams and Rivers too.

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BBC1 Secret Britain uncovers the Water World of the Brecon Beacons

BBC One’s Secret Britain – Waterworld of Wales

In this new series, Ellie Harrison and Adam Henson explore the hidden corners of the UK, hunting for secret places in the landscape, inspired by suggestions from Countryfile viewers.  The first episode sees Ellie and Adam visit the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales to explore our waterfalls, lakes and rivers.   If you missed it, you can watch it here 

p02ltsf6

© BBC One Secret Britain

Inspired to visit the area? Here are just some of the stunning places they visited:

Waterfalls

Click on image for a larger view

© Brecknock Wildlife Trust

Pwll Yr Wrach. A popular Brecknock Wildlife Trust reserve, known locally as the ‘Witches Pool’ this amazing spot of myth and legend is located near Talgarth.  The woodland is particularly beautiful in early spring and near the eastern end of the reserve the river plunges over a spectacular waterfall into a dark pool below, where legend has it that those accused of witchcraft in medieval times were put to the water test to determine their guilt or innocence.

You can download a leaflet here

Sgwd yr Eira 

Sgwd yr Eira (Nick Turner)

© Sgwd yr Eira Nick Turner

Majestic Sgwd yr Eira waterfall which translates as ‘fall of snow’ can be found in  “Waterfall Country”  along with several other dramatic waterfalls.    It’s one of only two waterfalls in the UK (both located in the Brecon Beacons) that you can walk behind. Have a look the walking trails to the waterfalls which can be found here

Lakes 

Llangorse Lake

© Brecon Beacons National Park

Llangorse lake is the largest natural lake in South Wales and is a fine spot for sailing, wildlife-watching and waterside strolls with shimmering views. There’s local history to explore, too at the Crannog near the northwest shore. Over 1000 years ago, this was the homestead of a local king. Find out more here

Rivers

Ogof Ffynnon Ddu Cave

© Brecon Beacons National Park

At 308m, Ogof Ffynnon Ddu in the Upper Swansea Valley is Britain’s deepest cave.

If you would like to explore the cave then get in touch with one of the activity providers here

In search of the fabled dragon’s Breath

Usk Vapour ©

Usk Vapour © Black Mountain Photograhpy http://www.blackmountainsphotography.co.uk

If the conditions are perfect the mystical dragon’s breath forms over the River Usk at dawn lying in wait for the warmth of the morning sun to free it from its slumber. You can read more about it here

Maen Llia

Standing just 60m off the minor road between the Senni valley and Ystradfellte, this impressive stone is relatively easy to visit.

© Brecon Beacons National Park

Made from a massive sandstone block which stands 3.7m high, the task of moving and erecting it must have been a huge engineering challenge, especially as it is likely that up to a third of the whole stone is below ground.

On a clear day it can be seen from quite some distance down the Llia valley suggesting that it may have been important as a territorial marker. Standing at an altitude of 573m it is also thought to be the highest standing stone in South Wales.  Legend has it that whenever a cock crows, the stone moves off to drink in the River Nedd. According to another story, the stone visits the River Mellte on Midsummer morning.

There are over 30 standing stones in our National Park. Some of them are many centuries old and wreathed in myth.

Whitney Bridge

Whitney Bridge (a working Toll Bridge) is Grade II listed ancient structure with a social and historical interest. The original toll bridge was enabled in 1774 as a more convenient crossing to the River Wye, other than by ferry.  Still a working toll bridge today, visitors are charged 80p which goes to the maintenance of the bridge.

© Whitney Bridge

 Fishing

Anglers on the banks of the river Usk in teh Brecon Beacons National Park

© Brecon Beacons National Park

The Brecon Beacons offers excellent coarse fishing or game fishing in rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs. We also have a great selection of country hotels that offer a special welcome to outdoor sportsmen. The Gliffaes Hotel is located on the River Usk, near Crickhowell has a long tradition of looking after fishermen with fishing records going back to the 1930s available for guests to read. The hotel has over 1.5 miles of fishing on the Usk, split into 5 beats, which are open to both residents and non-residents alike.  They also offer fly fishing holidays and courses for the beginner and the expert.  To find out more go to our website

Check out our website to plan your trip to the Brecon Beacons.  We hope to see you soon!

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Talgarth Walking Festival returns for its third year.

The ancient market town of Talgarth is an ideal base for visitors wishing to explore the Brecon Beacons National Park on foot, particularly as it forms the “Gateway to the Black Mountains”.  Visitors are offered a taste of our town and the wonderful walking opportunities we have on our doorstep. We hope that you thoroughly enjoy your experience with us and return to our town in the near future.

Talgarth’s third Walking Festival will be held 1st – 4th May 2015 – tickets on sales now. 

talgarth walking festival

© Talgarth Walking Festival

The festival programme has a variety of walks and events for all ages, from full day walks to town walks lasting a little over an hour.

Here are our top picks, but check out the full programme which can be downloaded here 

Friday 1st May  

19:00 Talk by James Cresswell on his life at the Poles

Local polar expedition guide James Cresswell has over 50 trips to his credit in Antarctica, Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Svalbard, Russian Arctic, and the Geographic North Pole. Share his photos and stories of polar bears, penguins, giant seas, towering icebergs, incredible rock formations, helicopters, ice-breakers and a changing climate. Hear about some of the famous people he has taken on his trips. The talk will be held at Gwernyfed Rugby Club, followed by the reception with light refreshments, supplied by the Strand Cafe.

Saturday 2nd May

Pengenffordd to Hay with Havard Prosser 09:00 – 17:00

The walk ascends the Dragon’s Back and then heads toward Y Das at the top of the
Northern Escarpment of the Black Mountains. We cross Rhos Dirion and Twmpa to
reach Hay Bluff, where the route turns north to cross the common and fields to Hay.

The Witches Pool Challenge Jan & Rob Hughes

Enter a team of up to 4 people to do a circular walk with a quiz to complete along the
way. Sausage and Mash on your return at Tower Hotel – included in the price. Trophy
for the winning team. Book in advance or on the day. If short of team members, come
along and form a team on the day. *Lunch included on your return.

© Talgarth Walking Festival

© Talgarth Walking Festival

Sunday 3rd May

Crickhowell to Talgarth Matt Morris 09:00 – 17.00

This strenuous walk starts at Crickhowell and follows the westerly ridge of the Black Mountains. The route provides spectacular viewpoints of the Brecon Beacons, Sugar
Loaf and the ridges and plateau of the Black Mountains. We start by climbing to
Crug Hywel overlooking the Usk valley. We will head for the limestone top of Pen
Cerrig-calch, to follow the ridge to Pen Allt-mawr and beyond. We descend
gradually to cross the Y Crib ridge, making our way through the lanes and tracks to
Talgarth via part of Pwll-y-Wrach Nature Reserve.

A Mountain, a Ridge and a Chapel Rob Hughes 09.30 – 15.30 

After ascending Y Das (ascent of 370m) we walk along the ridge to the top of Twmpa
(ascent of 70m) with lovely views along the way. Down to open common land and on
to Pen-yr-Heol Chapel. From here the footpath leads through fields to Rhos Fawr
Common, which we cross and return to Rhos Fach.

penny_parker talgarth walking fest

© Talgarth Walking Festival

Bwlch to Talgarth Havard Prosser 10.00 – 16.00 

The route heads north east along the ridge to Mynydd Llangorse with good views of
the Beacons and Llangorse Lake. We descend to Cockit Hill, and depending on our
energy levels we either climb Mynydd Troed or traverse around it, and then descend
to Talgarth through the fields and lanes.

There is also a short programme of evening events, including a talk on polar travels, the locally based film “On the Black Hill”, a RSPB talk on local natural history and a quiz.

Melin Talgarth Mill will be the Festival Hub, providing a meeting and information point for the duration of the weekend.   It will be the place to check out late
availability on walks, meet off duty walk leaders, and catch up with friends old and new.

Looking to stay?  Details about the range of accommodation in and around Talgarth are available from the website

To book  Go to  www.talgarthwalkingfestival.org

The Brecon Beacons is full of wonderful walks to find out more go to here 

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10 Ideas for family fun in the Brecon Beacons

With Easter holidays approaching, the Brecon Beacons is the best ever playground. There are masses of things for active families to do. Of course, there’s no need to pack every day with expensive activities – simple things like picnics and Pooh sticks can be just as much fun. In fact, many of our favourite ideas are absolutely free.

Have a look at our top 10 ideas for family fun in the Brecon Beacons: 

1. Be king of the castle at Carreg Cennen

Let your dirty rascals scramble about on Carmarthenshire’s most striking ruins. They’ll feel on top of the world. To find out more, visit our page on Carreg Cennen Castle.

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

2. Paddle down the River Wye

Go canoeing or kayaking on the river with an experienced operator such as Wye Valley Canoes , then tuck into a scrumptious local lunch on the riverbank at The River Café, Glasbury-on-Wye. To find out more, visit our page on canoeing and kayaking.

© The River Cafe

3. Play I Spy in Brecon, Abergavenny or Talgarth

Turn a shopping trip into a fun morning out by playing games which keep the kids’ eyes wide open. If one of our local farmers’ markets is in full swing, there will be lots of goodies to taste. To find out more, visit our page on farmers’ markets.

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

4. Go pony trekking

Whether your kids are seasoned riders or absolute beginners, the qualified instructors at our riding centres will keep them safe. Kids as little as four years old can have a go. To find out more, visit our page on horse riding and pony trekking.

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

5. Climb a hill, go on a bug hunt and fly a kite

Climb a huge hill, looking out for butterflies, bees and other insects on the way. Sugar Loaf is a good one, with Mynydd Llanwenarth car park the best starting point. The ascent is easy at first, but little legs might want to skip the steep bit near the summit. Take a kite – on windy days, Sugar Loaf is a great flying spot. To find out more, visit our pages on walking.

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

6. Visit an adventure farm

Whatever the weather Cantref – is a fantastic family day out. There are dozens of activities to enjoy at this award-winning Adventure Farm. For starters, take your pick from bottle feeding pigs, rampaging through a play zone, handling hamsters, pony rides, pet racing, adventures through swamps and a badger-themed quest. There are indoor and outdoor areas, as well as tractor rides. Find out more about Cantref Adventure Farm.

© Cantref Adventure Farm

7. Know your stalactites from your stalagmites

At the National Showcaves for Wales, safely built paths allow you to explore fabulous natural limestone caverns, complete with human skeletons. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s also one of the world’s largest dinosaur parks, a shire horse centre, a playbarn and more. To find out more, visit our page on Dan-yr-Ogof National Showcaves Centre for Wales.

© Dan Yr Ogof

© Dan Yr Ogof

8. Get muddy, climb to the tree tops and zip through the air

The Llangorse Multi Activity Centre has tons of fun challenges for kids, teenagers and adults alike, such as climbing walls, rope bridges, zip lines and a wet and muddy Dingle Scramble. Phew! To find out more, visit our Llangorse Multi Activity Centre page.

9. Stare at the stars

If there’s a clear, moonless night during your visit, you’re in luck. The stars will put on a show. Get hold of a book, a chart or a stargazing map, and see if you can spot some of the constellations. To find out more, visit our page on stargazing.

10. Get closer to our wildlife

The Brecon Beacons is full of places where you and the family can enjoy the wonders of nature. The Red Kite Feeding Station, at Llanddeusant in the remote western area of the Brecon Beacons National Park, attracts over 50 red kites and buzzards every day in a spectacular aerial display.

To see our top 10 places to enjoy wildlife here for a selection of brilliant spots that are easy to get to.

© Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

Have a look at our website for all the other things you can do in the Brecon Beacons.  We hope you enjoy your stay.

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Top 5 Family Easter Egg Hunts Events

Here is our top 5 Easter Egg Hunt events happening over the weekend in the Brecon Beacons:

National Botanic Garden of Wales

It’s going to be a beast of an Easter at the National Botanic Garden of Wales this year with meerkats, birds of prey and the world-famous Quack Pack to the fore.

@ National Botanical Gardens of Wales

There’s also an Easter Egg Hunt and an Easter Bonnet Parade to look forward too as well as music, magic, balloon modelling and much more besides.

The something-for-all-the-family fun begins on Good Friday and continues all weekend.  have a look at there website for more information

Brecon Mountain Railway

Come and join us for an Easter Bunny Steam Train ride and Egg Hunt at Brecon Mountain Railway

Meet the Easter Bunny © Brecon Mountain Railwa

Includes a present for every child and there is a prize for finding the Golden Egg
Friday 3rd April, Saturday 4th April, Sunday 5th April and Monday 6th April

Trains depart from our main station at 10.30am, 12.15pm, 2.00pm & 3.45pm. more info on there website

Dinefwr Park and Castle

Visit Dinefwr Park and Castle between Good Friday and Easter Monday to take part in an exciting Easter egg hunt across the parklands, where families are invited to work together in search for chocolatey rewards. more info on there website 

Children tucking into Easter Eggs © John Millar

Cantref Adventure Farm

Easter Bank Holiday Weekend Treasure Hunt.  Cantref’s Easter Egg Hunt will be taking place everyday between 3rd,4th,5th & 6th of April 2015 and is included in the farm park entry price.

Come on children, get your thinking caps on and hunt around the farm, why not say hello to the new minature animals we have here, they would love to meet you! (They might even a have a clue!!) If you can make up the sercet password come back to reception with your form filled in and then you can claim your prize! Go to website for more info.

Everyone loves feeding the lambs and at Cantref you can cuddle up to the lamb and feed it all by yourself – a perfect photo opportunity for Mum and Dad!

@ Cantref Adventure Farm

And that’s not all! Our Animal Encounters Tractor and Trailer rides will be returning.

Big Pit – National Coal Museum

Follow our FREE Mini Miners Easter Egg trail around the Big Pit. What will you find out about the museum? At the end swap your completed trail for an Easter treat. more information on the website

© Visit Wales

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