Brecon Beacons Aims to Rock the World with Its Geology
Byline: By SAM BURSON Western Mail
A welsh mountain range has become one of just 24 sites in Europe to achieve a prestigious geological accolade. Experts yesterday announced the Brecon Beacons was the first area in Wales allowed to describe itself as a Geopark.
The status means the park is now entitled to environmental protection from European body Unesco, which is behind the scheme.
And Unesco will be promoting the park on the basis of its geological heritage, both for education and scientific research.
The area, which will become known as the Fforest Fawr (Great Forest), incorporates some of Wales' most stunning natural and man-made attractions, including Carreg Cennen Castle, the Black Mountain, the Welsh National Showcaves, Pen y Fan mountain, Craig-y-Nos Country Park, Brecon Mountain Railway and the National Park's reservoirs.
It runs along the spine of the Brecon Beacons inside the area of the national park.
The national park authority has been working for two years to get its mountains into the exclusive European club.
Chief executive Christopher Gledhill was in Lesvos, Greece, to hear yesterday's announcement.
He said afterwards, 'This is fantastic news for the Brecon Beacons National Park and big news for Wales.'
He added, 'This amazing landscape has been officially recognised as one of the most impor- tant geological landscapes in Europe.'
Other European Geoparks include the Petrified Forest of Lesvos in Greece, the Scottish Highlands and Hateg Country Dinosaurs Geopark in Romania, where tourists can see real fossils.
The Brecon Beacons is the first National Park to apply for and achieve the award.
It will mean the development of new walking and cycling trails, the training of local people to act as guides, the setting up of education courses and information boards, and the development of modern museums and visitor centres.
A full-time Geopark warden has now been appointed to give information to visitors.
Also being introduced are way-markers, audio-walk trails and new footpaths.
A programme of guided walks led by national park wardens and geologists will be running by the spring, with other routes available on the national park's website. …