Wales has three of Britain's National Parks, the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and the Snowdonia National Park each with its own special features and distinctive character.
The National Park was established in 1957, the last of the three Welsh parks. It runs from Hay-on-Wye in the east to Llandeilo in the west. There are the Black Mountains (in the east of the park, on the border with England) and the Black Mountain (in the west), just to be confusing. The area to the west of the Brecon Beacons range is known as the Fforest Fawr (Great Forest), in 2005 The Brecon Beacons National Park became part of a prestigious worldwide network of Geoparks and received recognition by UNESCO to become the first Geopark in Wales and the first National Park in the whole of the UK to be designated.
The Beacons themselves take their name from the fact that they were used for signal beacons. Dotted around the Brecon Beacons are small market towns and villages full of character and that offer a wide range of self catering holiday accommodation.
There are many excellent pubs and restaurants that serve a wide variety of food, utilising the superb local produce. The centre for exploring the Brecon Beacons is the market town of Brecon located on the River Usk; it has a wealth of history with a fortified Cathedral with a Norman font.
Popular activities in the park include walking, if you are feeling energetic then why not ramble the 100-mile route, called the "Beacons Way". The walk takes you over the Carmarthen Fans, the Central Beacons and Pen-y-Fan, and the soft scenic slopes of the Black Mountains.
The Taff Trail is a multi-purpose route for cyclists and walkers and runs through the South Wales valleys and the Brecon Beacons. Those that enjoy cycling can go the many mountain bike centres called hubs, each of which are graded to help you select the right route for you.
Horse lovers will enjoy the spectacular scenery and wealth of wildlife it really does make some of the best riding in Europe and there are many stables in the area that offer short and long hacks.
There are great sailing opportunities in spectacular settings at Llangorse Lake and Pontsticill Reservoir. Boat Hire facilities are available at Llangorse Lake. This is also perfect fishing country, with good sport for both fly and general coarse fishermen. The rivers Wye and Usk provide top Salmon and Trout fishing, while coarse fishing is available on Llangorse Lake, numerous reservoirs and also the Brecon and Monmouthshire Canal.
Other popular activities include caving. There are many outdoor centres which offer caving courses suitable for the beginner and the more experienced caver. What ever you decide there are so many things to do and see you will never be bored, so visit the Brecon Beacons it is closer than you think. You can reach the Park in an hour from Cardiff and less than three hours from Birmingham and London.