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Brecon Beacons, Wales

The Brecon Beacons National Park was established in 1957, the third of the three Welsh parks after Snowdonia in 1951 and the Pembrokeshire Coast in 1952. It stretches from Llandeilo in the west to Hay-on-Wye in the east, covering 519 square miles (1344 km², 332 100 acres) and encompassing four main regions – the Black Mountain in the west, Fforest Fawr (Great Forest) and the Brecon Beacons in the centre, and the confusingly named Black Mountains in the east. The western half gained European and Global status in 2005as Fforest Fawr Geopark. This includes the Black Mountain, the historic extent of Fforest Fawr, and much of the Brecon Beacons and surrounding lowlands. Most of the National Park is bare, grassy moorland grazed by Welsh mountain ponies and Welsh mountain sheep, with scattered forestry plantations, and pasture in the valleys. It is known for its remote reservoirs, waterfalls including the 27-metre Henrhyd Waterfall and the falls at Ystradfellte, and its caves, such as Ogof Ffynnon Ddu. The Brecon Beacons Mountain Centre was opened in 1966 to help visitors understand and enjoy the area.

Activities in the Park include walking, cycling, mountain biking, horse riding, as well as sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and fishing, rock climbing, hang-gliding, caravaning, camping and caving. A long-distance cycling route, the Taff Trail, passes over the Beacons on its way from Brecon to Cardiff, and in 2005 the first walk to span the entire length of the Brecon Beacons National Park was opened. The 100-mile (160 km) route, called the Beacons Way, runs from the foot of Ysgyryd Fawr east of Abergavenny and ends in the village of Bethlehem in Carmarthenshire. Due to its remoteness and harsh weather, the Park is used for military training. The Special Air Service (SAS) holds demanding selection training exercises here such as an exercise called the Fan dance. The infantry regiments of the British Army train at Sennybridge, where NCO selection also takes place.

Official Website : www.breconbeacons.org

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Castles

Castles were first built in England during the Norman Conquest in the 11th century as fortifications. There are many hundreds of castles throughout England some in good repair whilst others have all but completely disappeared other than a few stones to mark the spot.

Castles

Lakes

England has many lakes spread out over the whole of the country but the most famous must be the Lake District which draws around 16 million visitors each year to admire the beauty of the countryside around the lakesides. Lake Windermere is England’s largest lake.

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National Parks

The National Parks of England are quite diverse but all have in common one thing and that is their beauty. From the windswept reaches of Dartmoor and Exmoor to the mountains and lakes of the Lake District or the ancient, peaceful tranquility of the New Forest all are worthy of a visit.

National Parks

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