Before you visit Brecon Beacons National Park, take a moment to learn about how the park began and how it became what we know it is today. Here are some facts about how Brecon Beacons National Park and its history.
- It was established in 1957. Brecon Beacons was the third Welsh national park, following Snowdonia, which was established in 1951 and Pembrokeshire Coast, which was established in 1952. Following the Second World War, the United Kingdom began developing national parks all across the country. Brecon Beacons was one of the first 10 established.
2. The idea behind making Brecon Beacons was to establish a place where the natural beauty could be safeguarded. If you have learned anything about World War II, you will know how much natural and medieval history was ruined throughout the war. Between bombings and armies pushing their way across the countryside all over Europe, there was a great deal of both nature and history that was destroyed forever. In response to that, the United Kingdom began a journey of preserving as much natural history as it possibly could, which is why there were national parks established.
3. The Welsh landscape itself was formed during the Ice Age, which is why there are such recognizable rock formations all across the countryside. There are even glacial lakes, including Llyn Cwm Llwch, which is known as the best-preserved glacial lake in South Wales.
4. There have been people in the area since the dawn of man, which prehistoric stone circles, burial chambers, as well as remnants of the Iron Ages and the Roman times. After the area was overrun with the Normans, the countryside was filled up with castles, of which few remain in modern times. The ruins of CarregCennen are the most intact and well-known from that era.
5. During the 18th century, the area began to be treated like a quarry, resulting in a huge change in the landscape, as the demand for limestone, silica, and ironstone became increasingly higher as Britain headed into the Industrial Revolution. There were also a number of railways that started popping up once the steam engine showed how incredibly useful that it could be.
6. It has been a military training ground on several occasions. There is evidence that the area was used by the Romans as a cavalry base, but then it was later a crucial training place for the British army. There have been rifle butts found recently that have been dated back to the 1800s. There was also the Cwm Gwdi training camp and live firing range, which actually only closed in 1984. There is still options to try shooting in the area, but it is no longer part of military action or training.
7. Even though the area was declare to be a national park in 1957, the land was not part of the National Trust until 1965, which let the government have access to creating more preservation action. The park was then able to be developed and used as a conservation area as well as a great spot for people to visit.
8.The Brecon Canal had been on a sharp decline since the 1800s, but in the 1970s, through preservation actions, the canal has more than 400 boats operating along the stretch of water between Brecon and Pontnewydd. The project is still underway, but it has vastly improved from where the project started forty years ago.
9. The tourism that has bloomed since the area became a national park has boosted the local economy and become the main industry there.
10. UNESCO decreed that Brecon Beacons become the first UNESCO European Geopark in Wales and made a proclamation that the area is an International Dark Sky Reserve, a special protection that eliminates travel in the night sky above the park.