The town of Brecon lies close to the northern boundary of the
Brecon Beacons National Park. The town lies in a valley on the confluence of the River Usk and the Honddu, and is almost completely surrounded by a dramatic mountains and hills. Its strategic location on two rivers has
given Brecon an importance throughout history as a bridging point and a
place where numerous routes converge. The remains of the medieval castle and the cathedral still sit on the pronounced ridge north of where the rivers meet. The town centre itself is still visibly influenced by the layout of the 13th century town, and sections of the old town walls still survive in places. Brecon has a number of special qualities that are at the heart of its designation as a Conservation Area, these include:
- Its spectacular setting, with the high peaks of the Brecon Beacons as a backdrop to the town and the fertile river valleys in which the town sits.
- Publicly accessible green spaces, including along the Usk, along the Canal and the Cathedral precinct.
- A virtual intact medieval town plan linked to surviving medieval features such as the castle and the cathedral.
- Over 460 Listed Buildings, seven Grade I and 25 at Grade II*, including medieval churches, a medieval castle, parts of the
medieval town defences, large and imposing 17th and 18th
century town houses, examples of early 19th century planned terraces , Nonconformist chapels, 19th century commercial buildings, and specialised buildings such as the military barracks, the Market Hall and the former Shire Hall.
- Distinctive local building materials such as Old Red sandstone give a hard, rocky character to many of the buildings, in contrast to the smooth, classical style of the towns 18th and 19th century buildings.
- Attractive details and street furniture including iron railings and gates, brackets and street lamps, street signs and 19th century post boxes.
Nestled beneath the dramatic summit of Mynydd Troed and the Black Mountains, is the small market town of Talgarth. The town has a definite feel of the 19th century, when it was at the peak of its prosperity, with fine 19th century public buildings, shops and houses. However, Talgarth’s earlier origins as an agricultural centre and bridging point across the River Ennig are reflected in the historic church and its surrounding area with its pattern of semi-rural lanes, stone walls, farm buildings and mature trees, and in the older buildings in the town centre dating back to the 17th century and even to medieval times. Talgarth has many of special qualities that are at the heart of its designation as a Conservation Area, these include:
- A beautiful setting nestled beneath the western slopes of the Black Mountains.
- High archaeological potential for surviving remains from the early medieval period through to the 19th century.
- An intact town plan dating back to the medieval period when the town focused on the Church and the river crossing.
- 22 Listed Buildings, 2 of which are Grade II*.
- Many buildings of local importance, many with surviving original details that contribute to the distinctive local character, including three 19th century chapels, former railway station, surviving 19th century timber shop fronts, the former magistrates court and the former Mid Wales Hospital buildings and landscape grounds.
- Local buildings methods and materials including Old Red Sandstone, locally made bricks and lime based renders.