Protected landscapes and habitats in the Brecon Beacons National Park

The Brecon Beacons is celebrated for its beautiful landscapes. Our National Park contains a Geopark, National Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Special Areas of Conservation.

The Brecon Beacons has been a national park since 1957. Its features provide a direct link to nature and to our ancestors, who helped to shape the landscape we see today. To find out more about the significance of our national park status, visit About the Brecon Beacons.

Within our Park, there are several smaller areas which benefit from additional protection because of their special physical features, geology or wildlife.

Geopark

A geopark is an area with geological heritage of international significance. Part of the purpose of a geopark is to promote awareness of key issues facing society in the context of the dynamic planet we all live on, such as climate change, sustainable use of natural resources, whether they are mined, quarried or harnessed from the surrounding environment, and the potential of green tourism.

Fforest Fawr (www.fforestfawrgeopark.org.uk), a swathe of uplands in the west of our National Park, is Wales' first European Geopark.

National Nature Reserves

NNRs are key places for wildlife and natural features. In Wales, they are managed wholly or partly by Natural Resources Wales (www.naturalresourceswales.gov.uk).

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

SSSIs are conservation sites designated under UK law for their remarkable flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features. Biological SSSIs represent the best examples of habitats within a region, a key population of a rare species or an unusual or otherwise important area for wildlife. Earth science SSSIs represent either geological formations typical to the region that are exposed, or some key geological feature of interest. They can be in public, private or charitable ownership.

Special Areas of Conservation

Under European law, the SAC designation provides an extra level of protection for SSSIs which include particularly important habitats and species. All SACs belong to a network of protected sites across Europe called Natura 2000 sites.

Historic Landscapes of Outstanding and Special Historic Interest

Within our Park, Cadw has identified eight landscapes of cultural and historical importance which require careful management. They include the Black Mountain and Mynydd Myddfai, the Middle Wye Valley, East Fforest Fawr and Mynydd-y-Glog and the Middle Usk Valley.