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National Parks

There are three National Parks in Wales covering an area of 4122 sq km. This represents approximately 20% of the land area of Wales. Snowdonia was designated in 1951 followed by Pembrokeshire Coast in 1952 and Brecon Beacons in 1957.

National Parks were created to protect the most beautiful and imposing landscapes in the UK. The statutory designation recognises the national importance of such landscapes and gives them a high degree of protection.

The special qualities of each park are different in terms of their landscape character, historical and cultural heritage.

National Parks are managed by a National Park Authority comprising of Members appointed by constituent local authorities (two-thirds) and Members appointed by the Welsh Assembly Government (one-third).

The revenue and capital budget of NPAs is made up of a National Park Grant from the Welsh Assembly Government and constituent authorities. Significant additional funding comes from special grants e.g. European structural funds and Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) support grants, and income from fees e.g. planning and car parking.

The NPAs in total employ 328 staff on a full time basis. The gross annual expenditure of all three Parks in 2006/07 was £23.23m.


Situated on the west coast of Britain covering 823 square miles of diverse landscapes, Snowdonia National Park is a living working area, home to over 26,000 people. As well as being the largest National Park in Wales, Snowdonia boasts the highest mountain in Wales, and the largest natural lake in Wales, as well as a wealth of picturesque villages like Betws y Coed and Beddgelert. Snowdonia is an area steeped in culture, and local history, where more than half its population speak Welsh.

This is Britain's only truly coastal National Park. It's a spectacular landscape of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, wooded estuaries and wild inland hills, and a place of sanctuary for wildlife. People belong here, too. They have shaped the landscape over the centuries, leaving their mark in tombs and castles, crosses and cottages, quarries and quays.
Today this is a living, working landscape where people and nature co-exist. The National Park Authority looks after it, helps the public to enjoy and understand it, and works with local communities towards a sustainable future.

This is a beautiful part of Wales, with traditional market towns, stunning landscape, canal paths, castles and plenty of family attractions. The scenery here is both beautiful and diverse - rolling countryside and valleys, wide open spaces to the wild beauty of the waterfalls and caves. Use the left hand navigation menu to explore the National Park.

The National Park Authority also runs an excellent programme of Guided Walks, Children's Activities and Family Events.



The Mabinogion is the title given to a collection of eleven prose stories collated from medieval Welsh manuscripts. The tales draw on pre-Christian Celtic mythology, international folktale motifs, and early medieval historical traditions. While some details may hark back to older Iron Age traditions, each of these tales is the product of a highly developed Welsh narrative tradition, both oral and written. Lady Charlotte Guest in the mid 19th century was the first to publish English translations of the collection, popularising the name "Mabinogion" at the same time.

The Stories

The collection consists of the vast majority of prose found in medieval Welsh manuscripts which is not translated from other languages. Notable exceptions are the Areithiau Pros. None of the titles are contemporary with the earliest extant versions of the stories, but are on the whole modern ascriptions. The eleven tales are not adjacent in either of the main early manuscript sources, the White Book of Rhydderch (c. 1375) and the Red Book of Hergest (c. 1400), and indeed Breuddwyd Rhonabwy is absent from the White Book.

Four Branches of the Mabinogi
The Four Branches of the Mabinogi (Pedair Cainc y Mabinogi) are the most mythological stories contained in the Mabinogion collection. Pryderi appears in all four, though not always as the central character.

Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed (Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed) tells of Pryderi's parents and his birth, loss and recovery.

Branwen Ferch Llŷr (Branwen, Daughter of Llŷr) is mostly about Branwen's marriage to the King of Ireland. Pryderi appears but does not play a major part.

Manawydan Fab Llŷr (Manawydan, son of Llŷr) has Pryderi return home with Manawydan, brother of Branwen, and the misfortunes that follow them there.

Math Fab Mathonwy (Math, son of Mathonwy) is mostly about Math and Gwydion, who come into conflict with Pryderi.

Native tales
Also included in Lady Guest's compilation are five stories from Welsh tradition and legend:

Breuddwyd Macsen Wledig (The Dream of Macsen Wledig)
Lludd a Llefelys (Lludd and Llefelys)
Culhwch ac Olwen (Culhwch and Olwen)
Breuddwyd Rhonabwy (The Dream of Rhonabwy)
Hanes Taliesin (The Tale of Taliesin)
The tales Culhwch and Olwen and The Dream of Rhonabwy have interested scholars because they preserve older traditions of King Arthur. The tale The Dream of Macsen Wledig is a romanticized story about the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus. The story of Taliesin is a later survival, not present in the Red or White Books, and is omitted from many of the more recent translations.

The three tales called The Three Romances (Y Tair Rhamant) are Welsh versions of Arthurian tales that also appear in the work of Chrétien de Troyes. Critics have debated whether the Welsh Romances are based on Chrétien's poems or if they derive from a shared original. Though it is arguable that the surviving Romances might derive, directly or indirectly, from Chrétien, it is probable he in turn based his tales on older, Celtic sources. The Welsh stories are not direct translations and include material not found in Chrétien's work.

Owain, neu Iarlles y Ffynnon (Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain)
Peredur fab Efrog (Peredur, son of Efrawg)
Geraint ac Enid (Geraint and Enid)


Snowdon is at the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. The area is steeped in history and benefits from some of the most beautiful views in all of Britain. Visit Snowdonia and experience the wealth of Attractions, Activities and Places to Stay in Snowdonia. Snowdon is the highest mountain in England and Wales 1085m or 3560 ft also known by its local Welsh Language name Yr Wyddfa (The Tomb). Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors visit the mountain to enjoy its unique presence and share the exhilaration of scaling its slopes by one of the Snowdon Paths described in this website. The mountain is not only tall, it has its own unique bio-diversity of plants and animals and much effort is made to maintain the fragile mountain ecology. Snowdon is a national symbol for the Welsh people, something they are rightly proud of and offers an icon of stability in our rapidly changing political and technological world. Information from: http://www.snowdon.com


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