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What to See and Do in Brecon Beacon National Park

Brecon Beacons National Park Waterfalls.

For nearly 8,000 years, people have lived and worked in the Brecon Beacons. With communities evolving as quickly as they do, the marks on the landscape are always changing. There are monuments, churches, castles and canals to be enjoyed, but most of all there is the Brecon Beacons National Park.

As a national park, visitors are treated to stunning natural attractions including pristine, fresh lakes and lush green landscapes. The view is framed by dramatic mountains, and every sense is heightened and indulged. There is so much more to the national park than nature, though, and you would be surprised at just how much goes on in this treasure chest of beauty.

Brecon Beacons National Park is one of only three national parks in Wales, but it’s not without its size - 500 square miles, to be exact. It stretches right from Llandeilo in the west and the Black Mountains, situated in the east. With a ton of things to do, you’ll need a pen and paper handy for this list; it’s enormous.

Dance it out at a festival

Every year, there are festivals that litter the Brecon Beacons national park, from music and entertainment festivals that allow you to let your hair down, to walking, food, drink and arts festivals. A few examples include:

Go wandering by the waterfalls

When you’re in such a beautiful part of the country, you need to immerse yourself in everything that nature has to offer you. Buried deep in the southern slopes of the Forest Fawr massif, just west of Merthyr Tydfil, Waterfall Country is one of the places that should be on your natural bucket list. With steep gorges lined with tall, thick trees and a rolling rush of water, it’s the place to be to relax. Don’t forget to stop by Sgwd-y-Eira, the Snow Waterfall, which is located on the River Hepste. There’s a natural path that leads you right behind the water, offering you another perspective in the park.

Make like a fish....

Some people aren’t all that bothered by rushing rapids and waterfalls, and that’s okay! There’s always the rough, but some like to take the smooth that goes with it. The nearest and best swimming spot is at the Warren which is slightly upstream of Hay on Wye! Further good news is that Brecon Beacons National Park also offers the calm and steady in the form of a canal, which was once an important transport route. Right now, it’s used as a place that is serene: perfect for an afternoon stroll and a ride on a boat. Towns and villages are bordering the canal so you can visit some of the surrounding quaint areas.

Look up, too.

There is so much to see in the national park itself, but sometimes, you’ve got to stop and lay down on the clearing. It can get extremely dark in Brecon Beacons National Park due to the total lack of light pollution. It gets so dark that it’s been recognised as one of only 11 International Dark Sky Reserves in the world. This makes it’s the perfect place to escape into the universe. You can lie back, sink into the Milky Way and see whether you can spot a shooting star or two. Don’t forget a flask of something hot and a few warm blankets.

Turn back time on a vintage train ride

Brecon Beacons National Park has some natural beauties that you can marvel in, but there are also some exciting activities to get involved in. You can go on a journey with the Brecon Mountain Railway, which goes into the Brecon Beacons National Park, through Pontsticill and along the entire length of the Taf Fechan Reservoir. You’ll wind your way around the Reservoir before the ascent to Torpantau, high in the Brecon Beacons and up to the summit. If you love the history, you’ll enjoy visiting the workshop where the steam locomotives and carriages are repaired.

Get a little adventurous

You know already that Brecon Beacons National Park is filled with lush greenery and nature as far as the eye can see. What you don’t know is that you could get a great look at it from the skies with an adrenaline-inducing chance to paraglide or hang glide. You can train at recognised schools and choose a great spot to land - are you feeling adventurous today?

Go birdwatching

The wildlife is another of the sights to see in the Brecon Beacons National Park, and bird watchers will love the area especially. You can see red kites, tawny owls, red grouse and endangered species like lapwings, little-ringed plovers, reed warblers and even nightjars. Birds can be seen throughout the entire park, so wrap up warm and go watch!

Climbing rush!

Adventure can be found in the water, in the sky and on the sides of the cliffs of the Brecon Beacons. The best spots are located along the limestone belt, which is right on the southern side of the National Park. The Brecon Beacons has indoor rock climbing facilities for those who aren’t quite ready to be on the outdoor cliffs, but the outdoors has much more adventure to it. If you’re feeling daring, you could take up an entirely new challenge with the Fan Dance, consisting of a 24km SAS Selection test march over Pen Y Fan, or the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canalathon. This is a 35-mile team endurance challenge, so rope in your friends and have some fun.

Go Caving

If you love to be in enclosed spaces, you’ll love caving and gorge walking in the Brecon Beacons National Park. There are some of the most important cave systems in Europe. You can scramble over rocks and boulders, climb the waterfalls and experience the rapids.

There are so many more things that you could get involved within the Brecon Beacons National Park, but these few show that there is a vast range of things that you can do and find adventure in every nook and cranny you could explore.

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