Common land has been used for centuries by villagers all around Wales from raising sheep, cattle and pigs, to collecting firewood, turf and peat. Here in the Brecon Beacons, we look after a huge area of upland common and work closely with the local farmers who rely on it.
This isolated yet beautiful upland farm sits at the top of the Nedd valley and has been home to the same family for six generations. But the history of this wonderful place stretches back much further than you might imagine and is full of surprises, both historical and geological.
Henrhyd Falls is a spectacular waterfall - the highest in southern Britain at 27m (90ft). The falls were created thousands of years ago. As well as having a fascinating geological history, they are also intertwined with the history of those who have worked and visited the area.
The age of the army
The central Brecon Beacons has been an important place for the military for more than 100 years. Rifle butts found in Cwm Llwch provide evidence of militia training in the area as far back as the late 19th century.
Until 1984 Cwm Gwdi was a live firing range and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) still controlled the site until we bought it in 1996 and removed the Nissan huts originally erected in the 1960s. Today the Beacons are used by the MoD as the selection ground for the SAS.
A glacial landscape
The dramatic landscape of the Brecon Beacons was formed over hundreds of millions of years and the iconic northern scarp was deeply incised by glaciers during this time. Llyn Cwm Llwch is the best preserved glacial lake in South Wales and is a Geological Conservation Review Site; there are also some well-preserved glacial screes and moraines. There are a number of old quarry sites along the northern flanks of the Beacons with well-preserved remains of fossil ferns.