Brecon Beacons, Mid Wales


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A land of open mountainsides and a lot of running water.    There are streams and waterfalls everywhere
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Round the edges of the Beacons drystone walls and fields underground caves cut by the water
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This is serious walking country even in summer it is strenuous to get to the tops and in winter awesome

The Brecon Beacons National Park encloses around 500 square miles of varies scenery, from the Black Mountain in the west to the Usk in the east. The Beacons themselves take their name from the fact that they were used for signal beacons. Pen y Fan is the highest point in the Brecon Beacons at 2906 feet, and can be reached in about an hour from the Storey Arms Youth Centre.

The motor car is generally excluded from the moors and mountains, which makes the area a mecca for walking, bird watching, and botanists

The views from the tops are awe inspiring, but the weather can be fickle, so be prepared - it is a lot more than a stroll in the hills!

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The gazetteer for the Brecon beacons follows, with more information about places in the area

Brecon A market town on the River Usk, that is the centre for exploring the Brecon Beacons. Brecon has an interesting part 13th century, fortified cathedral with a Norman font.

Full information on the National Park can be obtained from The Mountain Centre, 4 miles south west of the town. You can learn everything from walks to fishing, botany to geology here

Seven miles south of Brecon, on the A4059, the Storey Arms Youth centre is the start of a winding climb up to the top of Pen-y-Fan , which offers astounding panoramic views

Crickhowell A pleasant small town on the River Usk. The remnants of history have left it with castle ruins, Georgian houses, the gateway to a manor house that itself has disappeared, and a 14th century church

Cavers will know about the Agen Allwedd Caves, 2 miles south west of the town. They stretch underground for 14 miles

Dan-yr-Ogof One and a half miles of underground limestone caverns. Stalactites, stalagmites and underground lakes in abundance
Hay on Wye Self styled second-hand book capital of Britain. Cinemas, shops, houses, have all been turned into book shops.

Only the gateway of the Norman Castle survives, but the town is a very pleasant place to wander. Leading from the town are a number of walks along the ridge track of the Black Mountains, and to the tops of Pen y Beacon (2219 feet) and The Trumpa (2263 feet)

Llandovery A pleasant, busy little market town with a cobbled central square. A fishing centre as it is on the River Tywi
Pumpsaint Five saints were said to have been born here - "pump" is Welsh for five. The local church is dedicated to these saints.

A mile to the east is the Roman gold mine, owned by the National Trust

Trecastle A village with the ruins of a 12th century castle. From here you can visit the big Usk reservoir, and climb the Bannau Brycheiniog Mountain at 2630 feet. If you do not climb it, then there is a good mountain road running below the peak
Tretower The tower is a circular tower surrounded by a circular keep, built by the Normans to defend the Usk valley. It was last garrisoned in 1403 during Owen Glendower's uprising.

Also in the village is Tretower Court, a 14th century fortified manor house, complete with arrow slits and murder holes

Ystradfellte The Fforest Fawr, in which you find Ystradfellte, was once a royal hunting forest. The whole area is surrounded by rivers, waterfalls, underground caverns
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Land of  legends and mountains - Brecon Beacons, Mid Wales