THE National Trust has begun work to expand its car park at the foot of Pen y Fan to 260 spaces and create a £7.50 all-day charge.
Footfall at the popular Welsh mountain has risen over the last two years, leaving the current 60-space car park overwhelmed. Police have often been forced to deal with parking and traffic problems along the nearby A470.
Work on the Pont ar Daf car park in the Brecon Beacons is due to be completed by winter, when the new charge will also be introduced. National Trust members will be able to park for free.
The Trust’s plan will also include electric vehicle charging points, disabled bays and, eventually, visitor facilities such as 24-hour toilets and baby changing rooms.
Last year, the 886m mountain had more than 350,000 visitors.
“These planned improvements have long been needed and will transform the visitor welcome at Pont ar Daf at the foot of this iconic mountain,” said Alan Kearsley-Evans, general manager of National Trust Cymru Brecon Beacons and Gower.
“Improving the car park is a key part of our work in looking after the Brecon Beacons, caring for the land around Pen y Fan and for the network of over 70km of footpaths so that thousands of people can continue to enjoy walking in this area.”
Huge footfall on Pen y Fan
Ramblers Cymru president Will Renwick said he hoped the car park improvements and £7.50 charge would help keep Pen y Fan well maintained.
“On the one hand, we don’t want to see any barriers which deter people from getting outside and enjoying nature, but then, on the other hand, we know that the huge footfall on Pen y Fan creates a significant amount of work to maintain and repair eroded paths, particularly to the summit from Pont ar Daf,” he told BBC Wales.
“We welcome safer parking options and improved facilities for walkers, but if there is a charge for parking, we’d want this to be reinvested into improving paths and access in the area.
“Ideally we would like to see improved and greener public transport links such as park and ride options to the site from Brecon and Merthyr. This would help alleviate parking issues, be better for the environment, and also bring economic benefits to these communities.”
Lhosa Daly, Interim Director, National Trust Cymru, said: “The Brecon Beacons are one of the most loved and visited countryside sites in Wales and we’re looking forward to work beginning on the new car park and visitor facilities at Pont ar Daf.
“We want to ensure everyone who comes here has a welcome fitting of this special place by providing a great start to a day out enjoying the nature and beauty found outdoors.”