Brecon Beacons (Bâl Mawr, Black Mountains)

The path up to a popular summit in the Black Mountains has become badly eroded, damaging a precious habitat. We need your help to repair it – and help to train volunteers in vital path repair skills.

Rugged hills

The Black Mountains are a mountain range in the east of the Brecon Beacons National Park known for its flowing ridges, glacial valleys and rich history.

The summit of Bâl Mawr sits above the beautiful Llantony Abbey, and as such is a well-walked hill.  It is also a much-frequented route for walkers of the well-known Beacons Way.

The Black Mountains are also popular with Duke of Edinburgh Award participants who use the hills to learn and practice their skills. Bâl-Mawr attracts a large number of walkers every year, with its rounded summit offering panoramic views across the Brecon Beacons National Park, as well as into Powys and the English Midlands.


Llanthony Abbey with Black Mountains behind. Photo: Brecon Beacons NPA.

The problem

Monitoring of upland path conditions throughout the Brecon Beacons National Park reveals that this path has deteriorated markedly due to its popularity with walkers heading up from Llanthony Abbey and Bal Bach. The footpaths around the summit of Bâl Mawr are severely eroded and the combined impact of feet and weather is damaging the Site of Special Scientific Interest and protected wet heath habitat.

The solution

The park authority would like to halt further erosion, whilst still remaining sympathetic to the surrounding environment. This can be achieved by actually reducing the path’s width, implementing stone pitching on steeper sections, and laying gravel to create a clear footpath. If walkers are encouraged to stick to the marked path, further damage to the bog habitat in which it sits will be decreased or stopped altogether.


Volunteers hard at work for the MOM1 project. Photo: Brecon Beacons NPA.


The work will be carried out by the National Parks Upland Volunteers and part of the grant will be used to support these volunteers to carry out the work needed to repair the route. This in turn will improve the visitor experience by giving a clear path to follow to access the summit of Bâl Mawr.

Your pledge

The overall cost of the repairs will be high, and the project contains an exciting proposal to help train more volunteers in upland path repair – really valuable skills that are not easy to learn. All this can’t happen without the support of donors from all over – the Brecon Beacons are an incredible landscape and with your support we can help restore a part of it for the future.

Thanks to the generosity of thousands, the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million appeal has succeeded in raising enough money to completely fund work on nearly all 13 of the projects we set out to support – a fantastic result.

Repairs have already started on several of these paths (see the blog for the latest updates), and the rest will be completed over the summer of 2019 and into 2020.

This project, Bal Mawr, has already been fully funded. However, you are still very welcome to make a donation to Mend Our Mountains overall. Your money will go towards either supporting additional work on the projects listed on this website or helping to fund future Mend Our Mountains initiatives.

You can make a donation of any size – choose ‘Donate what you want’ – or select one of the other amounts.

All online donations are currently via PayPal – if you would prefer not to use this method or would like to make a large donation (£500~), please contact the team directly on All money raised goes via the BMC’s charity, the Access and Conservation Trust.

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About Us
Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million is a call to action to everyone who values the hills, mountains and landscapes of Britain. It aims to galvanise mass support for things we all use: the paths, bridleways and bridges which underpin our experiences in the great outdoors. Through a year-long appeal we aim to raise £1 million in total for a range of vital projects within the UK’s entire family of 15 National Parks. Navigate our website to find out more.
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