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South Wales AONBs and National Parks in Brecon Beacons, Gower and Wye Valley

Written by The Wales Cottage Holidays Team on

Wales Holidays cottage visitors are probably aware of Wales’s three extensive National Parks but did you also know that, whether in respect of its beauty, geological importance or wildlife, getting on for a third of our land and waters are designated special sites. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are sites protected by law because of their special landscape qualities; in terms of landscape and scenery they are deemed equal to the National Parks.

Wales has five AONBs, including Gower near Swansea and the Wye Valley in south-east Wales. National Parks protect the quality of the landscape and promote outdoor recreation. If you’re staying in the Heart of Wales, visit the Brecon Beacons National Park. And further west, Britain’s only coastal National Park is in Pembrokeshire (the third National Park is, of course, Snowdonia).

Heritage Coast is a stretch of outstanding unspoilt coastline, usually cared for by local authorities; there are 14 of these in Wales, including the Glamorgan Heritage coast west of Cardiff.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (of which there are over 1000 in Wales) are backed by law and form the bedrock of wildlife and habitat protection. A small number of these SSSIs are also Ramsar Sites, Wetlands of International Importance. There are 25 Geoparks in Europe, being conserved for their geological importance. Fforest Fawr Geopark takes up the western half of the Brecon Beacons, which extend to Llandeilo and Llandovery and comprise some 300 square miles.

The Wales Cottage Holidays Team

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