My Personal View: From a Fforest Fawr Geopark Development Officer

This week’s personal view comes from Alan Bowring who is the Development Officer for Fforest Fawr Geopark.

“My patch therefore is the west of the national park – I’m officially a promoter of that tract of country but my love of this landscape extends to the national park as a whole – in fact I live in the east so that’s my playground.

1.    Where I live could be described in one word as energising. (Just one word is tricky!) This landscape, no these landscapes, have a dramatic power to inspire, whether you are moved to creative writing , to exploration or to spiritual renewal.

2.    I would take a first-timer to the Brecon Beacons to explore its cratered limestone landscapes which are so unexpected and its surprising industrial heritage and the extraordinary legacies of the ice age. To get the most out of it, that visitor may need a guide –  a personal one is to be preferred to a written one – but either way, just hearing a fraction of the stories which these hills hold should hook them.

Pen Allt-mawr

3.    My favourite view of the Brecon Beacons is from atop Pen Allt-mawr in the Black Mountains. Here above the world, ridges of delight abound. There are many other spots – to choose one is to choose between one great recipe and another – just make sure you come back to sample the others at a later date.

4.     If you’re on a budget the best advice for the Brecon Beacons is to make for the Waterfalls Centre at Pontneddfechan and find out how many of nature’s wonders are there to be explored and enjoyed for free. Use Beacons Bus to do it if you can.

5. I would describe the people of the Brecon Beacons as welcoming. There is a quiet pride in people, and rightly so.

6. If you have half a day out, I would suggest you visit Cwm Tawe – the upper Swansea Valley – the strapline sums it up by saying that beauty and aventure meet there. It’s true, they do!

7. The best way to see the Brecon Beacons is by GoogleEarth. Do that – be inspired and intrigued then get out and ground-truth what you’ve spotted from the air.

8. To escape, I go to  . . . well I can’t really tell you because I go there to escape! However I will say that you don’t have to go far off the beaten track to immerse yourself in the wild beauty that many of us seek in these hills 

Evening light on the Black Mountain by Alan Bowring ©

9. The best season to travel to the Brecon Beacons is Autumn because the lighting on the orange and brown hues of the bracken covered hillsides brings out the magic of the place. Even if the weather is turning cooler, these colours give a warm feel to the place.

10.  I would like to stay at … (hotel & B&B) if I came to visit because….. I’d better not single any one establishment out but there are many where I know that those who run it will offer a genuine welcome.

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