The Corn Du ridge is unusually straight and directly cuts the Beacons skyline; from a distance looking up it’s a very unique landscape with Pen y Fan peering from above. At dusk the mountain is black and its detailed shape exaggerated against the lighter sky, at winter the white snow reveals the mountain’s bones and on a summers day there’s an artistic contrast of green against blue.
Spend enough time watching the skyline as the seasons change and that alone will provide enough justification why the Brecon Beacons was selected as Wales’ Best Destination in the National Tourism Awards.
The Pen y Fan trek has become a pilgrimage for thousands of international visitors and Welsh people alike, an opportunity to climb southern Britain’s highest peak of 886 metres. However, Pen y Fan is literally the tip of the iceberg or rather the peak of the mountain when we come to understand the Brecon Beacons as a destination.
The National Park is over 500 square miles and proudly a living and working landscape. The west of the Park is a designated UNESCO Global Geopark called Fforest Fawr which relates to the geological importance of the land. Wilder, a little more barren but fiercely free, walking within the west one can feel the full effect of being in solitude with nature. The ridges of Fan Brycheiniog and Picws Du, generically known as the Carmarthen Fans offer iconic and world class views of the Llyn y Fan lakes.
The Black Mountains in the east of the Park carry a different aura and climbs to Hay Bluff, The Tumpa and along Offa’s Dyke provide clear views of the valleys within the landscape. Llanthony Priory like an historic jewel sits below the Offa’s Dyke National Trail and its momentous archways are a step into the past.
Dramatic, fascinating and charming the landscape and natural environment of the Brecon Beacons is the perfect antidote for stress. In a time where the world demands people to be over connected and over stimulated by technology, this is a destination where you can reconnect with what’s real and reap the physical and mental benefits.
A study carried out by Fields in Trust this week revealed that the Wellbeing Value associated with the frequent use of local parks and green spaces is worth £34.2 billion to the entire UK population. The same study estimated that green spaces save the NHS around £111 million per year based solely on a reduction in GP visits.
As the Brecon Beacons waves its flag as ‘Wales’ Best Destination’ it’s fundamental that society and our government leading us truly appreciate the benefits and opportunities made available to us through such green spaces. The NHS is a bottomless pit that deals with the aftermath of an unhealthy population. By improving access, further developing and expanding the function of green spaces we can constructively create a preventative measure for the overall health problem.
Wales’ Best Destination is a place for the people – make sure you use it and enjoy it (and don’t just visit Pen y Fan, there’s a lot more than just the peak!)