The Brecon Beacon National Park is ideal terrain for lovers of the Great Outdoors; the stunning landscape is a thrilling fusion of dense forests, impressive waterfalls, stark mountain ranges and a beautiful collections of crags, caves and lakes. If you love mountaineering, hiking, caving, biking, walking, cycling, canoeing, boating, swimming, potholing, climbing, fishing, horse riding, whitewater rafting and more, then you will no doubt fall in love with this spectacular region.
From mountain biking to touring
Whether you fancy a gentle and scenic cycle ride along one of the pretty canal paths or cycle lanes or fancy something a bit more off road and exciting, then the Brecon Beacons National Park has something for every cyclist. There are a number of Sustrans routes that will take you on a picturesque journey on the flat. This is the ideal way to take in the beauty of the landscape and is perfect for families with young children. If you want something a bit more adrenaline pumping, then there are plenty of mountain bike routes that curve through the woods, streams and mountains. Some are gentle and manageable with gradual descents and at the other end of the scale you can opt for an exciting Red or Killer Black Trail made for the hardened mountain biker. There are plenty of places to hire bikes from, if you don’t have your own and there is also a bike bus that runs through the summer months, allowing you to reach the ultimate trail without having to exhaust yourself by cycling there first. As well as doing your research online, you can also buy a specialist Mountain Bike pack that will give you maps and details of 14 unique routes. It’s the perfect way to get a real feel for the diversity of this region, whether you choose to cycle every day and tackle the most adventurous routes or hire a bike for a few hours to gently saunter down a pretty flat lane. Either way you can guarantee a wonderful experience cycling around the Brecon Beacons.
Caving and potholing
If you love the thrill of caving and crave some variety in your rock formations, then you will adore the craggy depths of the Brecon Beacons. Four out of the five longest limestone cave systems in Britain can be found in the Brecon Beacons Geopark, making it an absolute must visit travel destination for any keen caver. There is something truly magical about exploring an underground world that has been quietly forming for thousands of years. The great part of it is that the Brecon Beacons area has ideal facilities for the most novice and inexperienced cavers right up to experienced potholers.
First time cavers can start with something like Dan-yr-Ogof or Porth-yr-Ogof which are open and allow you to see the beauty of the world underground without feeling claustrophobic or needing special equipment. If you want to try something a little more daring, you can book on a session with a qualified cave instructor who will guide you carefully through. This is a completely safe method of caving and will give you such a sense of achievement. The Association of Caving Instructors is a great resource if you fancy trying your hand at caving under the instruction of an experienced professional.
Most caves in the area require a guide or instructor to allow you access, however expert cavers can contact the Cambrian Caving Council to discover more about the few caves that are accessible without assistance.
Canoeing, kayaking and whitewater rafting
From the calm canals and tranquil lakes to the thrill of the river, there are some beautiful bodies of water in the Brecon Beacon National Park that are perfect for gentle rowing to the most extreme water adventures.
Beginners might like to take a slow paddle down The Monmouthshire and Brecon canal, whereas intrepid explorers might fancy whitewater rafting down the windy River Wye. You can even build your own raft and set it a float as a set activity. River sports are a great out-of-season activity, so if you are thinking of taking a cottage break between October and March, a day on the river might be in order. The area is especially stunning during the turning colours of Autumn and the floral abundance of Spring, so visiting out of peak season may prove to be very worthwhile and save you some money on your accommodation.
The Brecon Beacons Water Trail is available online or as a free leaflet from any National Park Visitor Centre. It gives you an illustrated map that covers some stunning waterways such as the canal, the River Usk, the Brynich Aqueduct and the dark depths of Ashford Tunnel (which you’ll need a torch to guide you through!). The Water Trail is suitable for beginners and families and is a really fun day out that will allow you to see a lot of this beautiful area from a totally different perspective.
Mountain Horse Riding
Horse riding is a lovely, relaxing holiday activity but there is something about mountain horse riding that makes it all the more appealing. There are a number of trekking centres in the Brecon Beacons that allow you to hire a horse, take a tour, pick up some tips and enjoy the stunning mountainous scenery. With something for all levels of rider, there are plenty of options available, from twenty minute rides for beginners to explorer rides that take on rugged terrain and allow you to experience panoramic views of the Black Mountains from horseback.
The Brecon Beacons offers some of Europe’s best horse riding with bridle tracks and trails that cover over 600 miles of stunning scenery. Why not book yourself an hour in the saddle or take your horse away with you to explore the many untouched areas by horses back (take a look at our cottages that offer on-site livery)?
Canyoning is one of the top activities for adrenaline junkies, combining rock-based activities with water-based action and the Brecon Beacon National Park is one of the best places in Britain to get involved. Rough Guides described canyoning in the Brecon Beacons as “up there with the best wet and wild experiences in the world.”
A team of very experienced guides will lead a group of you down a steep-sided gorge. The scenery is spectacular in the area and adds to the overall experience.You’ll make your way to the bottom of the gorge by climbing, swimming, scrambling, scurrying down rapids and even jumping down waterfalls of up to 30 feet! You’ll be equipped with buoyancy aids and helmets and the guide will be there at all times to assist and advise you. It’s a completely unique and thrilling way to experience the wonder of the Brecon Beacons in a truly up close and personal way.
So whether you fancy galloping through the mountains on horseback, jumping down waterfalls, gently rowing along the scenic canal, or a lesson in potholing, there is plenty on offer in the Brecon Beacons for the more active of us. Whether you are seeking an intense adrenaline rush, or simply love being outdoors, the Brecon Beacons National Park is one of Britain’s treasures and is certainly the place to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Wales.