From the hills to the waterfalls, from the rivers to the caves, from the ferns to the mosses, every single part of the Brecon Beacons is unique and exists to form a whole that provides a safe haven to many. To me, the Brecon Beacons have become a home.
Tony Karoly, National Parks: New Perspective bursary
The Brecon Beacons National Park was established in 1957, the last of the three Welsh parks designated after Snowdonia in 1951 and the Pembrokeshire Coast in 1952. It stretches from Llandeilo in the west to Hay-on-Wye in the northeast and Pontypool in the southeast, covering 519 square miles.
The entire national park achieved the status of being an International Dark Sky Reserve in February 2013.
Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales, situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park. At 886 metres (2,907 ft) above sea-level, it is also the highest British peak south of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia. The twin summits of Pen y Fan and Corn Du at 873 m (2,864 ft) were formerly referred to as Cadair Arthur or ‘Arthur’s Seat’.
Ystradfellte is popular tourist for its hillwalking, waterfalls and caves along the nearby rivers. The surrounding area is renowned for its caves and karst scenery, making caving a popular activity. The area is seen as part of Waterfall Country. A popular attraction near the village is the Waterfalls Walk along the Afon Mellte past two main falls on the river, Sgwd Clun-gwyn and Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn, to Sgwd yr Eira on the Afon Hepste, where the footpath passes behind the waterfall.
The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal is a small network of canals in South Wales. For most of its navigable 35-mile (56 km) length it runs through the Brecon Beacons National Park, and its rural character and tranquillity belies its original purpose as an industrial corridor for coal and iron, which were brought to the canal by a network of tramways and/or railroads, many of which were built and owned by the canal company.
The “Mon and Brec” was originally two independent canals, both of which were abandoned in 1962, but the Brecknock and Abergavenny route and a small section of the Monmouthshire route have been reopened since 1970. Much of the rest of the original Monmouthshire Canal is the subject of a restoration plan, which includes the construction of a new marina at the Newport end of the canal.