Waterfall Country

Waterfall Country is a very special place to visit with many things to see and do. This area is of international importance in terms of the wildlife it supports and it has been designated as a Special Area of Conservation  (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Click here to go to the main Waterfall Country page or read on for more information on the work we carry out in this special area.

As many as 175,000 tourists a year visit Waterfall Country and these numbers continue to increase annually. As a result of the increasing visitor pressure the footpaths in the area have suffered significant erosion in the past few years. This is of great concern to the National Park as the area is not only designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) but also as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) – which means the area is protected under EU law.

For the last four years the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Forestry Commission Wales and the Countryside Council for Wales have been working closely to try and undo the damage.

Together we have created the Waterfall Country Management Plan. This document summarises all the information, features and issues of the area. most importantly it contains a five year work plan detailing all the projects and ongoing tasks that are key to turning this area around.

Download a PDF of the management plan here.

The key project areas are as follows:

  • Car Parking: Solutions for car parking issues in the area and
    improvements to car park facilities.
  • Outdoor Activities: Projects covering the safety and sustainability of
    outdoor activities in the area.
  • SAC, SSSI, SAM and geological interests: Surveys,information gathering, monitoring and habitat management.
  • Visitor monitoring: Monitoring of visitor satisfaction and visitor
    numbers.
  • Community: Establishing regular contact with the local
    community and identifying and addressing their concerns.
  • Education: Incorporating information on the SAC and SSSI interest into educational material, guided walks and talks; working with the community to address issues cause by visitor pressure.
  • Other Projects: Staff training and the establishment of a core
    steering group.
  • Interpretation: Developing interpretation in line with accepted
    principles and standards of good practice as identified in the Waterfall
    Country Interpretation Plan and the National Park Interpretation Strategy.
  • Site maintenance: Litter picking, stray sheep, boundary fencing
    and footpath maintenance.
  • Safety and Security: Liaising with police on crime in the area
    and annual safety inspections.
  • Rights of Way (RoW) and Patrols: Identifying, prioritising and
    implementing RoW maintenance and improvements.
  • Funding: Annual review of resources available for key
    projects and ongoing tasks.

To date the Western Area Wardens team have made the following improvements to the area:

  • 40m of stone pitched path down to Sgwd Clun Gwyn in
    order to reduce the severe erosion on the cliffs surrounding the waterfall [2008]
  • 60m of duckboarding on the path between Sgwd Isaf
    Clun Gwyn and Sgwd y Pannwr [2008]
  • A new bridge on the Four Falls Trail to improve
    access and prevent damage to the river bank habitat [2008]
  • Drainage improvements – a must after two very wet
    summers [2008]
  • Surface improvements to the track into Gwaun Hepste
    car park [2008]
  • Re-surfacing of the track from Sgwd Clun Gwyn to
    the cross roads [2008]
  • Re-surfacing of the steps down to Sgwd y Pannwr
    [2008]
  • Vegetation clearance on over-grown footpaths [2008]
  • New waymark posts and fingerposts on the Four Falls
    Trail [2008]
  • Erosion control at Sgwd Clun-Gwyn falls [2009]
  • Revetment work on the path to Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn
    [2009]
  • Installation of new oak information panels [2009]
  • Surface improvements to the Gunpowder Works track
    [2009-2010]
  • Surface improvements to Sgwd yr Eira steps [2010]
  • Installation of more new fingerposts and waymark
    posts [2010]
  • New water crossing on the Elidir Trail [2010-2011]