Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Brecon is a historic market town in mid Wales, with a population of roughly 8000 with around 6000 in the surrounding area. It is the traditional county town of Brecknockshire, although its role as a county town has diminished since the formation of Powys. It is said that the name 'Brecon' derives from the Welsh Prince, Brychan.
Brecon is the English name for the town, the Welsh name, Aberhonddu, deriving from the River Honddu, which empties into the River Usk near the town centre, a short distance away from the River Tarrell which enters the Usk a few hundred metres upstream. Before the building of the bridge over the Usk, Brecon was one of the few places where the river could be forded, also the confluence of the Honddu and the Usk made for a valuable defensive position for the Norman castle which overlooks the town, build by Bernard of Neufmarche in the late 11th century.
Less than a mile from the castle stands Brecon Cathedral, a fairly modest building compared to many cathedrals. The role of Cathedral is a fairly recent one, and was bestowed upon the church in 1923 with the formation of the diocese of Swansea and Brecon.
Today Brecon is a thriving community, and is popular as a holiday destination, being on the Northern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park, affording good views of the Brecon Beacons themselves, a range of hills, including Pen-y-Fan, the highest point in southern Britain at 886m. August sees an annual Brecon Jazz Festival held in the town centre, with several open air venues and indoor concerts held in several venues, including the town's market hall and the recently opened 400-seat Theatr Brycheiniog next to the redeveloped canal basin to the east of the town centre.
The east end of town also has two military establishments, Derring Lines is an army camp, and Brecon Barracks, close to the town centre. Eight miles to the west of Brecon is Sennybridge army camp, an important training facility for the British Army.
The west end of Brecon has a small industrial area, and recent years have seen the cattle market moved from the centre of the town to this area, with markets held several times a week.
Brecon has many primary schools, with a secondary school and further education college on the northern edge of the town. Due to Brecon being a rural area, bus trips of over an hour are not uncommon for pupils making their way to school. The town is also home to Christ College, a private boarding school.
Brecon no longer has a railway station, but was once linked to both Mid-Wales and South Wales by several lines, including that of the Brecon and Merthyr Railway
Points of interest:
- Brecon was the birthplace of Sarah Siddons.
- Brecon hosted the National Eisteddfod in 1889.
- Brecon is twinned with Saline, Michigan, USA.
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