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Welcome to the Year of Outdoors

Welcome to the Year of Outdoors

2020 is Visit Wales, Year of Outdoors and here in the Brecon Beacons National Park we have endless outdoor places for you to enjoy.  Alan Bowring (Fforest Fawr Geopark) has put together fifty-two things that you can experience in the outdoors of the National Park this year.

Whether you do just one of these things, some or all of them in 2020, enjoy them and savour them.  And as you go, please treat these hills, their creatures and the Park’s communities with respect.

Keep us updated on your adventures by tagging @visitbreconbeacons on Facebook and Instagram.

  1. Marvel at the intricacies of Cribarth’s ridge, the hill that rises steeply above Craig-y-nos Country Park.
  2. Follow a stream to its source – plenty to choose from around Waun Fach for example.
  3. Watch the sun rise from high on one of our big hills. That first light on the eastern horizon imbues the hills with magic. Try Fan Gyhirych.
  4. Watch the sun set from high on one of our big hills. Choose your evening, know your path, be prepared for the descent in the dark! Pen y Fan perhaps?
  5. Trace out the four sides of the Roman marching camp at Y Pigwn. Repeat the exercise for the second camp! Can you spot the claviculae?

Stunning scenes of Red Kites and Llyn Y Fan Fach

  1. Sit quietly on the Black Mountain and watch for Red Kites circulating overhead. Watch them feed at Llanddeusant feeding station.
  2. Trace out the ramparts of South Wales’ largest hillfort at Garn Goch.
  3. Enjoy an ice-cream or tea and a Welsh cake at the top of the Rhigos hairpins and pin a name to all of the National Park’s peaks and valleys on the northern skyline.

  1. Legend has it that Maen Llia goes down to the stream to drink at summer solstice in June. Be there to watch what actually happens.
  2. Sign up to listen to a local author at the Hay Literary Festival in May. Make it your business to get to know the place about which they’ve written with passion.
  3. Join one of Crickhowell Walking Festival’s early March forays into the hills. Wrap up warm, just in case!
  4. Wander the streets of Abergavenny during the town’s annual Food Festival in September. Notice how many views down those streets end with a characterful hillscape.
  5. Enjoy a cruise along the Mon & Brec Canal from Brecon or hire a boat and navigate it yourself!
  6. Cycle the Govilon Line up the Clydach gorge from Llanfoist.

  1. Spend time watching wildfowl on Llangorse Lake from the bird hide at Llangasty.
  2. Sample the whisky on a tour of Penderyn Distillery then follow the Penderyn Line south to the edge of the park.
  3. Drive – or cycle – the highest tarmacked road in Wales as you cross the Gospel Pass in the Black Mountains.
  4. Peer into the gloom of Porth yr Ogof or head inside with one of the Park’s many outdoor activity providers.
  5. Paddle your canoe down the River Wye from Glasbury to Hay.
  6. Stand as straight as the walls in Cwmyoy Church. Then go on to explore the maze of paths that thread the unstable slopes on which it is built.
  7. Enjoy the panorama from Sugar Loaf’s summit. There are many routes of ascent – choose a path you’ve not trodden before.
  8. Gaze down on Abergavenny from the lip of Cwm Craf on Blorenge.

  1. Follow the Offa’s Dyke Path along the Hatterrall ridge of the Black Mountains, the border between England and Wales.
  2. Marvel at Brecon Cathedral from within and without & enjoy the spring woodlands of Priory Groves beneath it. The autumn colours are especially good!
  3. Go trekking on horseback on the bridleways threading the commons of our eastern hills.
  4. Come across Pwll y Wrach where the Enig tumbles from a cliff into a wild pool.

  1. Peer up into the Dark Skies at Llanthony Priory. It’s one of the top stargazing spots in the Brecon Beacons International Dark Sky Reserve.
  2. Stare out at the sea of blue as the bluebells come into bloom in Coed Cefn Woodland each spring.
  3. Follow one of our old tramroads and put yourself in the place of the workers of two centuries ago. What was their experience of it?
  4. Skirrid: our easternmost hill gives unrivalled views over lowland Monmouthshire but you’ll have to work for them. Or, to know it better, circumnavigate the hill at its base.
  5. Chartists’ Cave has fired the imaginations of visitors over the ages. Before the Chartist movement it was simply Ogof Fawr, the ‘big cave’.
  6. Wander the Canada Tips, a key element of the World Heritage Site. Do so under snow and the place is transformed.
  7. Try not to think of Tolkien as you wonder at the contorted trunks of beech trees lining hollow ways around the Punchbowl.
  8. Spend time soaking up the atmosphere beside the huge Bronze Age burial cairns of Tair Carn Uchaf.
  9. Walk on a Carboniferous sea-floor at Herbert’s Quarry – how things have changed in 330 million years!
  10. Visit the most remote spot in Wales. You’ll have walked at least 5.4km from your car to get to this lonely part of the Twrch valley, even if you emulate the crow’s flight plan.
  11. Find the aircraft wreck west of Carreg Goch. Take time to think of the young airmen whose lives were cut short at this spot many years ago.
  12. Penwyllt: try to make sense of the myriad lines in this landscape; layer upon layer of detail makes for more stories per square mile than almost anywhere else in the National Park.

  1. Look up at the broken battlements of Carreg Cennen Castle and peer through the arrow-slits at the Black Mountain. Is it ‘the most romantic ruin in Wales’ as has been claimed?
  2. Visit the Central Beacons but avoid the popular routes- try the track up Cwm Crew. And keep an eye out for the sleeping dragon!
  3. Climb up to the trig point atop Pen Allt-mawr when a cloud inversion is cloaking the valleys.
  4. Find a viewpoint on the southern margins of Mynydd Epynt and take in the entire span of the National Park’s uplands from Hay Bluff in the east to Carreg yr Ogof over 30 miles to its west. Somewhere like Battle Hill perhaps.
  5. Trace out the lines of one of the many ‘rhiw paths’ which decorate the steep slopes of the Black Mountains. Some are well-trodden, others all-but-forgotten now.
  6. Watch for the ring ouzels at play within the rocky bowl of Craig Cerrig-gleisiad. The range of the mountain blackbird has shrunk in recent times but they can still be spotted.
  7. There are twelve reservoirs in the National Park, navigate the circumference of one. You can cycle or walk around Usk Reservoir, the largest.
  8. Lose yourself within the ridges and hollows beneath Cwar y Gigfran. This is one of the Park’s most dramatic landslips.
  9. Transport your mind back four millennia and try to get inside the heads of your Bronze Age ancestors who constructed the ring cairns on Cefn Car.
  10. Catch the wisp of cloud hanging mysteriously above the narrowest confines of the Clydach gorge – is this Puck, after whom Cwm Pwca is named, and who caught the eye of Shakespeare? Or is it just the vapour thrown into the air by the falls roaring beneath Devil’s Bridge?
  11. Discover the flooded shakeholes of Mynydd Llangynidr. Re-visit them six months on – are they still as wet and full of water?
  12. Follow the tramroad into Craig-y-cilau and soak up the atmosphere in this grandest of amphitheatres. You may well have it to yourself.
  13. Remind yourself that the Park’s lesser peaks offer some of the best views – check that out on Tor y Foel.
  14. Travel by steam! Take the steam train along the Brecon Mountain Railway to Torpantau.






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