History of The Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons offer us a landscape that has evolved.....

The landscape of the Brecon Beacons National Park is largely the product of human intervention stretching back over many thousands of years.


Around 5500BC in Middle Stone-Age times, hunter-gatherers cut down scrub and burned the aftermath in an attempt to create small grassland areas to encourage the grazing animals which they hunted.
In the New Stone-Age farming was introduced to the area and, by the close of the Bronze-Age, significant forest clearances had occurred. During the Iron-Age,

Y Gaer.jpg

Celtic peoples settled in the area bringing increased sophistication to farming methods. They erected hill-forts of which impressive banks and ditches remain today. The Roman occupation left a legacy of an improved communications infrastructure and 12th century Norman patterns of land-use are still evident today.

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The Middle Ages saw the consolidation of the Norman manorial system, but there were cataclysmic episodes such as the Black Death and the Glyndwr Revolt.

Carreg Cennen Castle.jpg

From the end of the fifteenth century onwards industries such as ironmaking, charcoal, limestone extraction and coal mining began to be established in the area. There is a rich industrial archaeology to be found to the south and east of the Park. Some hillsides, such as those above the Clydach Gorge and on the Cribarth Mountain, have been altered considerably by industrial development which continued into the twentieth century.

Clydach Ironworks Ruin.jpg

More recently, urban expansion, road building, construction of canals and reservoirs, erection of power lines, large conifer plantations and changes to agricultural practices have all contributed to the ever changing environment of the National Park.

Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.jpg

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