Brecon Beacons National Park

Brecon Beacons Overview

  • Brecon Beacons Overview

  • Coverage: Across South & Mid–Wales
  • Size: 520sqm
  • Highest point: Pen y Fan 886m
  • Stargazing hotspot: Pen y Fan 886m
  • Best time for stargazing: September until March

The Brecon Beacons National Park was the first area in Wales to be awarded International Dark Sky status. Stretching from the English border to the wilds of Carmarthenshire and from the South Wales Valleys to the wilderness of Mid Wales, the beautiful and varied landscape has many opportunities to witness some of the darkest skies in the UK.

On a clear night, you can experiences the majesty of the Milky Way as it arches over the night sky and also see up to 3,000 – that’s 2,800 more than most areas of the UK!

Over the past three years of being awarded this prestigious designation, the Brecon Beacons have been working hard with businesses, local residents and visitors to reduce light pollution and make the skies even more special than before. With the reserve being so accessible, offering a fantastic range of landscapes, a rich cultural heritage and an amazing array of wildlife, the Brecon Beacons is a perfect place to escape from the day to day bustle of the world and experience true peace and tranquillity.

Best stargazing sites

Want to make the most of The Brecon Beacons’ amazing dark skies? Here are some of the best places to see the stars.

The car park area at Usk reservoir is a beautiful place to have a family picnic as well as an ideal place to enjoy outstanding dark skies. The large flat area allows set up of telescopes and the road access from Trecastle means it is easily accessible. This area enjoys a naked eye limiting magnitude of 6.4 and is protected from the light pollution of the South Wales valleys.
Parking: Up to 10 vehicles.
Nearest public phone: Pont ar Hyder (2 miles)
Facilities: None.
This reservoir is not as accessible as Usk, but a short drive down an access lane allows the set up of telescopes to enjoy stargazing down to a limiting magnitude of 6.37. There are also laybys along the A4607 which provide ideal places to enjoy the beauty of the dark skies.
Parking: Up to 6 vehicles.
Nearest public phone: Glyntawe (4 miles)
Facilities: None.
One of the most beautiful ruined buildings in the care of CADW, Llanthony Priory has pristine skies and is situated along the Offa’s Dyke Path just on the Welsh-English border, with skies that have a limiting magnitude of 6.35. The priory is set in one of the most charming areas to observe in Wales.
Parking: Up to 30 vehicles.
Nearest public phone: Main road, Llanthony (1/4 mile).
Facilities: Llanthony Priory Hotel (variable opening hours), Toilets.
The road over Gospel Pass from Llanthony to Hay-on-Wye brings you to the car park on Hay Bluff, a hill overlooking the Wye valley with great views over Powys and Shropshire to the distant north-west. The skies have a limiting magnitude of 6.34. The town of Hay is the largest centre of second hand bookshops outside of London, making this a good place to look for astronomy titles.
Parking: Up to 10 vehicles.
Nearest public phone: Hay on Wye or Capel y Ffin (4 miles)
Facilities: None.
The visitor centre is signposted at the village of Libanus on the main A470 road and is very accessible both day and night. Enjoying skies with a limiting magnitude of 6.37, the centre is one of the best and most accessible areas to set up telescopes and is within an hour’s drive of every one of the South Wales valleys. The centre is located on a working common though so we ask to you to please respect local residents and park within the centre carpark and only use our grounds at night to minimise disturbance to others.
Parking: Up to 60 vehicles.
Nearest public phone: Libanus (1 mile)
Facilities: Visitor Centre, Toilets and Tearooms.
The car park off the winding road between Llandeilo and Brynamman over the Black Mountain is a great location as there is good access from the Swansea Valley and plenty of room for telescopes. It also overlooks the darkness of Mid and West Wales with the skies here enjoying a limiting magnitude of 6.31.
Parking: Up to 10 vehicles.
Nearest public phone: Rhosaman (5 miles).
Facilities: None.
The wonderful castle at Carreg Cennen sitting on its huge limestone cliff offers a great day out with breathtaking views across the valley to the west and one of the darkest skies in the region at a limiting magnitude of 6.26. It is accessible from Llandeilo, Carmarthen and Ammanford and is within an hour’s drive of the South Wales valleys and the rural heartland of West Wales.
Parking: Up to 30 vehicles.
Nearest public phone: Trapp (1 mile).
Facilities: Visitor centre, toilets and castle.
Craig-y-Nos Castle is the former home of opera singer Adelina Patti, one of the greatest sopranos in history. The skies here have a limiting magnitude of 6.30 and are very accessible by road from Swansea and Brecon.
Parking: Up to 60 vehicles.
Nearest public phone: Glyntawe (1 mile).
Facilities: Café, Geopark Centre, Country Park.
The hill dominating the skyline from Abergavenny is accessible off the main A40 road. The limiting magnitude here is 6.10 and you enjoy a wide view over the south and west whilst avoiding much of the light pollution of the towns to the south.
Parking: Up to 25 vehicles.
Nearest public phone: Pysgodlyn Farm (1 ½ miles)
Very accessible from the South Wales valleys and the Midlands along the A40 road, Llangors Lake has a profusion of places to set up telescopes. It shares the location with an outdoor pursuits centre, which has some stray light but with a limiting magnitude of 6.24 hopefully they make little intrusion into this beauty spot.
Parking: Up to 60 vehicles.
Nearest public phone: On site.
Facilities: Café, Restaurant

Dark Skies Actvities

The amazing dark skies of the National Parks provide wonderful night sky viewing opportunities for stars, planets and the moon all year.

KAstrophotography

Put your coat on, grab your camera and dip into the exciting world of night-time photography.

TShooting Stars and Comets

On a clear night, gaze up at the sky for long enough and, you will see shooting stars and maybe even spot a comet.

sCamping Under the Stars

Find a campsite tucked away in the countryside far from the bright city lights, and embrace the wonder of the dark.

VTrail Running

With crisp night air and the peace of darkness, trail running at night is a whole new and exciting experience.

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