The National Parks in Wales

The National Parks in Wales

The National Parks in Wales were first created in 1951 with the creation of Snowdonia, then in 1952 with the Prembrokeshire Coast, and finally in 1957 the Brecon Beacons were awarded similar status. The timing coincided with the country establishing a more adventurous tourist industry that was now exploring foreign fields, and there was a desire from the government to showcase the natural landscapes that the country possessed.

Snowdonia National Park covers an area of 823 square miles and is located in the North West of Wales. Its highest point is Mount Snowdon itself which stands at a height of 3560 feet, making it the highest point in England and Wales. The park is visited each year by more than 3.5 million visitors and actually has 26,000 people living in the park full time. The area of the park includes more than the Snowdon Massif and includes spreading south into Meirionnydd.

Spectacular views from the Snowdon Mountain Railway

Many people who visit the park wish to see the natural wilderness by hiking around the areas. The Park has produced extensive paths and trails so visitors can safely tour the region. The authorities have also made the summit of Snowdon accessible by the Snowdon Mountain Railway, which takes visitors all of the way to the summit. The numerous lakes in the park host many different water activities including sailing, canoeing and white-water rafting. Fishing is also popular in the highland lake areas with great varieties of fish including pike, trout and even salmon.

The Pembrokeshire National Park covers an area of 243 square miles. It covers the coastal area of South Pembrokeshire plus some inland forests and the surrounding Islands. The area is circumnavigated by the Pembrokeshire Coast Path which was created in 1970 and covers 186 miles. It is part of the Wales Coast Path that covers the other areas of the country. It give walkers a magnificent view of the coastline although it is not a gentle stroll with 35,000 feet of ascent and descent over its route.

The park has some of the finest beaches in Wales many of which have been awarded different clean water awards, plus 39 of its beaches being recommended by the Marine Conservation Society. Many people who visit the area come to see the regions natural flora and fauna. Many of the areas in the park have been untouched by man so they are home to rare ecosystems. Within these are numerous varieties of plant and animal life. The beaches are favorite spots for surfers especially as many of them are fully exposed to the waves of the Atlantic.

Walkers on the Beacons Way path

The Brecon Beacons National Park is the country’s newest park being established in 1957. It stretches from Llandeilo in the west to Hay-on-Wye in the north to Pontypool in the south east which covers an area of 519 square miles. The area is dominated by moorland grazed by Welsh mountain ponies and Welsh mountain sheep. In between the moorland are forest filled valleys with the odd occurrence of pasture.

The region is dominated by rather unpleasant weather and has proved to be an ideal training area for some of Britain’s elite armed forces. Visitors who come into the park are often taking part in outward bound and survival courses. Rock climbing, abseiling and caving are all popular in the dry areas. While the numerous lakes and streams are home to sailing, canoeing and windsurfing.

The Park is home to an abundance of wildlife that are native to this type of environment. This includes a number of birds of Prey that are allowed to hunt and breed in this remote region, without human interference. Red kites, peregrine falcons, ravens and even merlin survive in the park.

In 2005 the Beacons Way path was opened giving the opportunity to hikers to be able to walk its 100 miles from east to west. The park is home to many people who camp out while experiencing the wilderness on offer.