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Brecon Beacons Canal, Canal and River Trust

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Providing Interactive Benches along Monmouthshire and Brecon Beacons Canal

Famed for its spectacular mountain range, beautiful waterfalls and rolling green countryside, Brecon Beacons National Park boasts some of the country’s most diverse and breathtaking landscapes. Fondly known as the Mon & Brec, the 35 mile canal runs through the spectacular Brecon Beacons National Park and offers glorious views of the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains. The Canal & River Trust and the National Park Authority were looking to commemorate the canal’s 200th birthday; their objective was to create a lasting legacy that would be both useful and informative. They wished to provide regular resting points for visitors along the towpath and inform them of their location in relation to the rest of the canal. It is hoped that visitors will be encouraged to travel further when they know the distance to the next destination.

This project used FSC Oak (from sustainable sources) to create bespoke benches. The benches incorporate a map of the length of the canal with key destinations in both Welsh and English. The benches are located at busy destinations and have been placed so they do not intrude upon the landscape; they offer places to rest so weary travellers can sit and enjoy the tranquility of this beautiful canal. A map was engraved on each bench to provide the public with some basic bearings which featured a clear and simple walking scale where each dot along the canal represented one mile. This allows visitors to pinpoint their location and see how many miles they have explored.

To enhance the visitor’s overall experience we made the seats as unique, exciting and engaging as possible; each bench had its own story to tell and featured engaging illustrations relating to nearby points of interest.

Every bench has the potential to guide, inspire and educate visitors; now children and adults alike can enjoy interacting with our interpretive benches.

Sarah Brice, Project Manager at Canal & River Trust, was pleased with the end results, she said: “Fitzpatrick Woolmer provided a very good, personal service. We hope the interpretation benches will encourage people to explore more of the canal and the nearby villages.”

Several more interpretive benches are set to be installed along the canal to form a lengthy trail, perfect for keen walkers and countryside enthusiasts.