The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority are about to realise a long time goal of building a Snowdon Cafe style summit visitor centre on the flat plateau peaked Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in Southern Britain. This follows the work of marking out a map of Wales, the size of the Principality Stadium, on one of the approach ridges to Pen y Fan in April 2017 (see full article published in The Brecon And Radnor Express below) and is the second stage in the Central Brecon Beacons Ten Year  Development Plan.



Following a successful funding bid with monies secured prior to Brexit from the European Union and also from The Arts Council For Wales, The National Trust, Forest Enterprise and the income the authority receives from both central and local government the planned seventy seat cafe and mountain interpretation centre is set to be a reality by 1st January 2022 with works to begin in the summer of 2020.


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The initial stages of the development will include the building of a 4×4 suitable hard surfaced trail from the re imagined Pont ar Daf Car Park to the summit and this will follow the line of ‘the motorway’, the main path to Pen y Fan. Once completed foundation pillars are to be set into the mountain top with the eco centre being set on these. The prefabricated centre will be made in Sweden and a specialist installer will accompany the structure and, they say, have it bolted together and in place within four days. 

The centre will be powered by a range of renewables, wind and solar in the main. A daily 4×4 shuttle bus will run in the morning and again in the evening taking and returning staff and resources to the cafe and removing rubbish from the site. This could be replaced by 2027, if stage three of the development plan can be successfully funded, by a funicular railway that would make use of water to assist the carriages ascent and descent. 

Tenders for managing the cafe, for cleaning and for other routine works will be advertised on the BBNP’s website at the beginning of 2021. 

Unusually, the BBNP have decided to permanently man the centre saying that this will have a positive impact on Mountain Rescue callouts to Pen y Fan and will also offer security for the building and its contents 24 hours a day. A ‘wardens’ job description and application form for this live in post will be available mid 2021. 

The news of this development has been received both negatively and positively. Mountaineers have voiced concerns that this cafe is a desecration of the wild environment and will encourage not discourage ill equipped and poorly experienced walkers onto the mountain at innapropriate times and in inappropriate conditions. 

A spokesperson for the BBNP said ‘Pen y Fan has been subject to development and man made change since the neolithic and so any concerns regarding the cafe, which is intended to open up access to all and especially to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access this iconic mountain, is disingenuous. 

What are your thoughts on this controversial Brecon Beacons development. Is it one cafe too far or just the rest stop that Pen y Fan needs? 

Giant Map Article From The Brecon And Radnor Express:

A giant map of Wales the size of the Principality Stadium is to be installed on the side of Pen y Fan today.

Hundreds of volunteers will move and dance across the map to create shapes on the map this afternoon.

The event is to launch the Get Creative Weekend and the mass participation event on Pen y Fan, which will be filmed by a drome, is organised by Brecon’s Theatr Brycheiniog, the BBC and the Arts Council of Wales working with the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The mountain is this morning half covered by cloud but organisers will be hoping they clear and the bright blue skies that have marked this week’s fine weather will return.

Over the past two days organisers have been installing a vivid outline of a map of Wales on the side of the mountain using temporary material which will be removed on Monday.

The outline will frame the images used in the piece as participants trickle down from the top of Wales; creating a heart shape which will begin to beat, this will then transform into a moving map of the A470, before ending in the creation of the words Get Creative and Cer I Greu.

The event is co-ordinated by choreographer Phil Williams. He said: “I’m excited to create Heart of Wales, bringing the communities of Wales together for a mass participation arts event on the side of Pen Y Fan. “Creating a large scale installation of bodies in motion, we will literally be moving the mountain in what promises to be a spectacular event.”

Get Creative is a campaign to celebrate and support the everyday creativity happening in homes and public spaces. Creative organisations across Wales are opening their doors with a series of free events to fire the imagination.


Walk leader @ Wales Outdoors, life model @ Cardiff Life Models and poet @ Self Published I opened the first mountain bike hire business in the Brecon Beacons National Park in 1995. Since then my business, Wales Outdoors, has grown and morphed and is now the most active and most popular guided walks and adventure travel provider in Wales. Andy has been a volunteer co-ordinator, guided walks programme organiser and part time central area warden for the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, chair of Brecon Beacons Tourism, a Duke of Edinburghs area co-ordinator, a Princes Trust social inclusion manager, the catalyst for the Brecon Beacons National Park Environment Charter and a key motivator for the inception of the outdoor activity peer group, SWOAPG. Join Me! for a walk or two :)