A Storied History

The Brecon Beacons are a part of an ancient landscape, formed by the Ice Age, and reformed by over 8,000 years of human activity: stone circles, burial chambers, hill forts from the Iron Age, with Roman camps in the western part of the park. You can find one of the oldest churches in Britain, St. Catwg’s, Llangattock, was founded in the 6th century and has been rebuilt over the centuries. You can also find old castles from the Norman Conquest era, scattered throughout the hills.

The Brecon Beacons has a long history of military use. The Romans used this land as a cavalry base, and the British army also used this land for military activity, as far back as the 19th century.  

During the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th century, this area has supplied limestone, silica sand, and ironstone on the outer boundaries of the park. Canals transported limestone, coal, and iron.

Since its opening in 1957, the Brecon Beacons National Park has seen many efforts in conservation and restoration. The canals, once in disrepair, have been under restoration since the 1970s. You can find hundreds of boats between Brecon and Pontnewydd.

Today, instead of the previous mainstays of industrial and agricultural industries, the local economy is now based on tourism and services. The Brecon Beacons has a few historical sites, including:

  • The area around Blaenavon was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 because of its significance in iron and coal production in the 19th century.
  • Fforest Fawr was the first UNESCO European Geopark in Wales
  • The Brecon Beacons’ night sky was given special protection as the park was designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve.

To be a stellar Brecon Beacons visitor, you can sign the park’s charter and learn more about how to enjoy the park responsibly.