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Short Walks Around the Brecon Beacons
[ISBN 978 1 908748 362]
20 walks/40 pages
The Brecon Beacons National Park stretches from the English border to the Tywi valley in Carmarthenshire, a distance of nearly 50 miles, covering an area of 520 square miles. This swathe of southern Wales is divided into four distinct areas of high ground by the rivers Usk, Taf and Tawe. These rivers, here in their enthusiastic infancy, descend to meet the salt water of the Bristol Channel by the three great cities of the south, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea respectively.
Strictly speaking the term ‘Brecon Beacons’ applies to the central area of the Park, just south of Brecon. In particular, to the three or four highest peaks, crowned by Pen y Fan. At 886 metres its distinctive cap is the highest land in southern Britain and only just fails to break through the magic 3000 feet mark. These sandstone peaks are buttressed by a series of high ridges nurturing the infant waters of the Taf to the south and tributaries of the Usk to the north. The phrase ‘Central Beacons’ is sometimes used to distinguish this area from the entire National Park that extends much further.
However, there are two further mountain blocks westwards from here. These are more remote and relatively undiscovered. To the west is Fforest Fawr, a wild expanse of upland that stretches from the A470 to the pass between the headwaters of the Tawe and Usk.
Beyond this, to the far west, the Black Mountain covers a vast expanse of remote and lonely moorland beyond the sources of the Tawe and Usk. It rises to a remarkable serrated edge that stretches for over five miles, known as the ‘Carmarthen Fan’.
This new edition of this guidebook covers these central and western areas of the National Park. Another Kittiwake guide, ‘Walking in the Black Mountains’, covers the eastern mountain range. These summits and high moorland cocoon a sequence of wooded valleys as far as the final ridge on the English border.
This is a wonderful area to walk, with a huge variety of scenery and much of interest. Enjoy it!
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