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The Brecon Beacons the Army, S. A. S. and Military Training 

The Web Brecon Beacons

Brief History:

During the Napoleonic wars French military prisoners were detained in the town of Brecon.  Certain sections of the town's medieval walls still exist including one section at the rear of the old national park authorities offices.  This section is known as Captains Walk and is believed to be an area where  French prisoners were taken for exercise. You can still walk part of the route at the rear of Glamorgan Street.

Brecon is an important military centre.  The barracks in Brecon is the home of the Army's Welsh headquarters. In 1969 two of  the regiments of Wales, the South Wales Borderers and the Welch regiment were amalgamated to form The Royal Regiment of Wales. They are based at Brecon originally the base of the South Wales Borderers.

The South Wales Borderers which had a long association with Brecon had a distinguished military history and participated in the American War of Independence, the Sikh Wars, and the campaigns of the Duke of Marlborough. The regiment is probably best remembered for its involvement in the Anglo-Zulu War and in particular the stand at Rorke's Drift. This was memorably featured in the famous film starring Michael Caine entitled "Zulu". The South Wales Borderers Museum is open to the public and located in the barracks in Brecon. The museum  contains a variety of interesting exhibits from different period in the regiments history. The South Wales Borderers Museum, The Barracks, Brecon, Powys, LD3 7EB. swb@rrw.org.uk

Military Training:

The Brecon Beacons is an important location for military training. Also located in the Brecon Beacons locality is the 29,000 acre training and field firing area on the edge of Sennybridge.  in addition there are modern barracks just outside Crickhowell at Cwrt Y Gollen which were opened in 1963. Presently training and assessment for Cadet Adventurous Training takes place at Cwrt Y Gollen.

Up until 1981 there was a small arms practice firing range located in the heart of the central beacons just north of Pen Y Fan at Cwm Gwdi. The Brecon Beacons itself is used extensively by the infantry and other military units for training purposes.

Army training and associated activities are carried out in a sensitive manner which is particularly mindful of conservation considerations in a national park.

Two new nature walks one of which is designed to cater for the disabled were officially opened recently on the Sennybridge Training Area. Of the new disabled walks one is located on the Epynt Training Area and Starts at the Disgwylfa Conservation Centre on the B4519 halfway between Brecon and Builth Wells. This path is accessible to a wheelchair users and includes access to picnic areas with fully accessible tables and seats. Information boards are located at various points along the route. The army has also launched its Integrated and Management Plan which has been produced by the Ministry of Defence in association with the Training Area Conservation Group, Powys County Council and the Countryside Council for Wales. Of the aim of this new management is to maximise the military training potential of the area in a way that is consistent economic and environmentally acceptable and incorporates a number of active conservation measures.

S.A.S. - Special Air Service:

The Special Air Services (S. A. S.) are a world class, world wide renowned fighting unit which are based near Hereford. They are reputed to train on the Brecon Beacons. In particular the exceptionally strenuous assessment for selection into the S. A. S. are in part carried out in this National Park. 

Ghurkha Rifles:

It is common when walking through the streets of Brecon to encounter neatly dressed, often in a smart grey suit, well turned out and invariably polite members of the Ghurkha regiment from Nepal.  A Company of the Ghurkha rifles has been stationed at Dering lines on the outskirts of Brecon since 1973.  They are renowned for their loyalty and bravery as soldiers in the British Army. This was acknowledged by the town of Brecon when it granted the Ghurkha company the honorary freedom of Brecon.


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Mountain Hut Productions 2002   All rights reserved. Revised: 10 March 2014This non profit making website is independent
(of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority) & supports National Park aims regarding recreation, conservation & the local economy. 

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