Brecon Beacons Walking Tourism Strategy
Although the Brecon Beacons National Park has some of the finest walking in an upland setting in southern Britain, the National Park Authority has been aware that by far the majority of walkers have been day visitors who have made a limited economic contribution to the upkeep of the Park. Other factors of concern included management responsibility for an extensive rights of way network; the ability of sensitive environments to cope with increased impacts from walking; and the need to provide visitors with an enjoyable walking experience.
Our work in 2004 was based on a survey of tourism enterprises which explored their current involvement with, and future interest in, the walking tourism product; analysis of walking opportunities; market assessment; interviews with key officers of the NPA and other walking resource and tourism providers; and a workshop bringing together all of these interests to explore opportunities.
In parallel with this, a detailed GIS exercise was carried out by spatial data specialists, exeGeIS. The resulting Brecon Beacons Walking Tourism Strategy seeks to establish a way of developing walking tourism as a means of achieving sustainable rural development in Brecon Beacons National Park, based around nine objectives and the identification of target market segments.
The NPA are encouraged to shift the focus of their interest from more strenuous and challenging walking towards a selection of walking opportunities that better matched the year round needs of a wider range of visitors, including less committed walkers. A series of GIS map layers were produced that enabled an integrated investigation of features such as the RoW network, environmental designations, public transport routes, accommodation location etc.
The work resulted in the production of a detailed report (click here to download report). One of the first steps taken by the NPA was the publication of twelve low-level Wildlife Walks designed for families to enjoy around some of the National Park's most hidden gems.