Brecon Beacons National Park
The Brecon Beacons National Park is a jewel in the crown of the UK's protected landscapes. It boasts some of the most most spectacular upland formations in southern Britain, yet still remains one of the UK's best kept secrets. The Park takes its name from the shapely peaks at its centre with Pen-y-Fan rising to 886m. Old Red Sandstone forms a backbone of high ground across the Park cut by broad and fertile Usk Valley. Confusingly there are Black Mountains in the east and Black Mountain west of the Fforest Fawr, once a royal hunting ground. Along the southern edge of the park narrow bands of carboniferous limestone and millstone grit produce dramatically different scenery with remarkable cave systems and fine waterfalls.
The Brecon Beacons National Park Visitor's Centre is located on Mynydd Illtyd Common, 1100ft (330)m above sea level, high above the village of Libanus on the southerly outkirts of Brecon. It offers unrivalled views of Pen-y-Fan and the highest Beacons, and also gives visitors an excellent insight into the flora and fauna of the region. For further information visit http://www.breconbeacons.org/
The chief river is the Usk, rising below Bannau Sir Gaer and flowing eastwards across the mountain chain. Many of the main rivers of South Wales rise in the Park while the north-east is drained by the Wye and the west by the Twyi. There is a wide variety of river scenery and wildlife includes salmon and trout, kingfishers and otters. Several valleys contain reservoirs which supply the population of South Wales surrounded by large commercial conifer forests. The most familiar animals are the sheep and ponies from adjacent farms which spend most of the year on the hills.
Under the Act of Parliament of 1949, the ten finest large areas of England and Wales have been given special status as National Parks to "conserve their natural beauty for the enjoyment of future generations. The Brecon Beacons was the last to be established in 1957. National Park designation does not alter ownership of the land, in fact much of the Park is owned and cared for by farmers who live and work there. Some land belongs to private estate and bodies such as Welsh Water, the Forestry Commission, National Trust and the National Park Authority.
For further information visit http://www.visitbreconbeacons.com/