Brecon Beacons gain International Dark Sky Reserve status

The Brecon Beacons National Park in south Wales, UK, has had the title, International Dark Sky Reserve, bestowed upon it.

Thanks to its lack of light pollution and its resultant suitability for showcasing the wonders of the night sky, the Welsh national park joins its neighbour from across the Bristol Channel, Exmoor National Park, in proudly bearing the accolade. There are only 5 sites around the world that have gained the status, and the three outside of the UK are Aoraki Mackenzie in New Zealand, Namibia Rand Nature Reserve in the southern African state of Namibia, and Mont Megantic in Quebec, eastern Canada.

It is recognition that the Brecon Beacons Park Society and National Park Authority have been working towards for two years, helped by support from a number of other organisations, including Dark Sky Wales, the Brecon Beacons Trust, the University of Glamorgan, and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales.

Martin Taylor-Morgan of the anti-light pollution organisation, the International Dark Sky Association, was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘We are gradually losing the night to light pollution, which is eroding the view of the night sky. Fewer and fewer people are able to see the Milky Way from their back gardens. This is not just an aesthetic loss. It is a loss of part of our culture. Whilst no one wants all the lights to be switched off, we can improve the lighting we use in towns and cities. However, the best views of the night sky come from places such as the Brecon Beacons, [where people] have dedicated themselves to protecting and restoring the night sky for all to enjoy.’

Despite already being a popular destination for hikers and those who appreciate scenery on a grand scale, the Brecon Beacons National Park is likely to see an increased number of visitors this summer, following the announcement of its inclusion as one of the world’s official Dark Sky locations. Established in 1957, it is one of Wales’ three National Parks, the other two being Snowdonia National Park and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Brecon Beacon Electric Buggies serve Eco-warriors with a need for speed

The Brecon Beacons, a national park in Wales, has launched an electric buggy service to transport visitors.

The park has become the first in the UK to allow tourists to travel using a fleet of eco-friendly electric buggies. The low-energy vehicles may be used to explore the national park and visit various places of interest. Six vehicles have been provided for the eco-friendly traveller, all supplied by Renault.

The Renault Twizy can touch speeds of 50mph, and travel 50 miles before stopping to be recharged. The park has provided a network of 26 points to charge the vehicles in between transits. Located at pubs, cafes and visitor attractions, the charging points will allow travellers to recharge their vehicle while they explore the nearby amenities.

Tourists wishing to use the buggies will need to rent them from participating hotels and self-catering accommodation providers at a rate of GBP45 a day. Husband-and-wife team, Alison Kidd and Peter Williams, who also run a travel network, spearheaded the not-for-profit initiative. They said that the buggies would help to increase tourism while making travel in the park sustainable.

Dr Kidd, co-director of the Eco Travel Network, said, ‘It puts the Brecon Beacons on an international map. This is a different way to travel around that is fun, and happens to be green. We have something original to offer to make this an eco-tourism destination. If people want a fun and different way of exploring this beautiful area that’s actually fun and green, then come and try it. It makes the journey – instead of being boring, the journey itself is an experience. We are trying to make being green fun, and the nice thing about the Twizys is that it’s fun to do, but it’s actually quite green.’

After piloting the project last year, the couple launched the scheme this year with GBP25,000 in funding from the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund. They direct the Eco Travel Network, along with Ian Foster, owner of the Westview Guesthouse, near Hay-on-Wye.

The team is also planning to encourage the local population to use the buggies in autumn to make travelling more sustainable.

VisitBritain pull multi-million campaign after ‘Brecon Beacon’ typo

The national tourism agency VisitBritain may be advised to double-check the spelling of promoted destinations, the next time they roll out a multi-million pound advertising campaign.

An eagle-eyed commuter in New York spotted the misspelling of Wales’ ‘Brecon Beacons’, instead the beauty spot had been spelt: ‘Breacon Beacons’.

The embarrassing glitch occurred on the latest campaign advertising ‘Great’ Britain – which aims to remind tourists around the world what is great about Britain, including this years major events: the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee.

A member of the public uploaded the mistake onto the Internet, after it was spotted on a New York subway.

Mark Di-Toro from VisitBritain said: “This stems from an earlier version of the Brecon Beacons creative.

“The mistake was picked up before the launch of the campaign in London and was subsequently amended”.

However some of the images, which weren’t amended, were used by their advertising agency in America.

He added: “It’s a regrettable mistake which will not be repeated, but we have so much more to come from our £125 million advertising programme, which will act to inspire the world to visit Britain”.

VisitBritain’s marketing campaign will cost around £125 million in total, and will run over the next four years. £25 million has been spent on the current ‘Great’ poster campaign globally.

The adverts have been created to increase the current figure of tourists who visit Britain each year, bringing in an extra 4.2 million people.

Elizabeth Daniels, the managing director of Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages revealed her delight after finding out VisitBritain had chosen to market the area.

However she said: “It is an enormous shame that potential travellers from New York will be googling Breacon by mistake”.

Although advertisers have been let off gently this time, as search engines correct the misspelling of ‘Breacon Beacons’.

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh