Walking on the Brecon Beacons
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45 circular day walks are described in this guidebook to the Brecon Beacons National Park. From west to east, Mynydd Du, Fforest Fawr, the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains these mountain and valley routes offer many options, highlighting the natural features. The walks described explore dramatic waterfalls, wooded gorges and upland valleys.
- all year round walking if properly equipped; high summits and ridge walks best in winter; wooded valleys best in springtime or autumn when flowers are out or leaves are turning
- Llandovery, Brecon, Crickhowell, Abergavenny and Hay-on-Wye
- walking suitable for all abilities and weather conditions; low level valley routes; high peaks and ridges; waterfall walks
- Must See
- Mynydd Du, Fforest Fawr, Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains
Guidebook to 45 lesser known circular walks in Brecon Beacons National Park, perfect for those wishing to discover the diversity of the region, away from the crowds. The routes, which range from 3.3km (2 miles) to 21.6km (13.4 miles), cover four geographic areas: Mynydd Du (The Black Mountain), Fforest Fawr, Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains (Y Mynyddoedd Duon), offering a variety of stunning mountain and valley walking.
Designed to be akin to ‘a park ranger in your pocket’, route descriptions (together with 1:50,000 OS mapping) are accompanied by commentary on topics such as geomorphology, archaeology, local history, land-use and environmental issues. A useful Welsh-English glossary is also included, as are summary tables organizing routes by both difficulty and interest.
A remarkably diverse landscape, the Brecon Beacons National Park showcases some of the best scenery in Wales. The area also offers a plethora of sites and activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Favourite attractions for children include Dan-yr-Ogof Show Caves in the Swansea Valley, Brecon Mountain Railway at Penderyn and Big Pit National Coal Museum near Blaenavon. Picturesque market towns on the edges of the park, such as Llandovery, Brecon, Crickhowell and Abergavenny, are also great places to explore.
Geology of the Brecon Beacons
Getting to and staying in the National Park
A solitary guided walk?
Using this guide
1 NORTH-EASTERN VALLEYS AND RIDGES
1 Cwm Llwch and Cefn Cwm Llwch
2 Cwm Llwch Ridge
3 Cwm Llwch Valley
4 Cwm Sere and Cefn Cwm Llwch
5 Cwm Sere and Bryn Teg
6 Cwm Sere Ridge
7 Cwm Sere Valley
8 Cwm Cynwyn and Bryn Teg
9 Cwm Cynwyn and Cefn Cyff
10 Cwm Cynwyn Ridge
11 Cwm Cynwyn Valley
12 Cwm Oergwm and Cefn Cyff
13 Cwm Oergwm and Gist Wen
14 Cwm Oergwm Ridge
15 Cwm Oergwm Valley
2 EASTERN VALLEYS AND RIDGES
17 Cwm Tarthwynni Circuit
18 Blaen-y-glyn and Allt Forgan
19 Blaen-y-glyn and Craig y Fan Ddu
20 Torpantau Circuit
3 SOUTH-WESTERN VALLEYS AND RIDGES
21 Neuadd Horseshoe
22 Cwm Llysiog and Waun Wen
23 Cwm Crew and Cefn Crew
4 FFOREST FAWR
24 Craig Cerrig-gleisiad
25 Fan Fawr
26 Craig Cwm-du and Fan Frynych
27 Craig Cwm-du, Fan Dringarth and Fan Llia
28 Fan Gyhirych and Fan Nedd
5 WATERFALL COUNTRY
29 Pontneddfechan Waterfalls
30 Waterfall Walk
31 Sgwd yr Eira
32 Ystradfellte Falls
33 Afon Nedd and Afon Mellte
6 THE BLACK MOUNTAIN (MYNYDD DU)
34 Carmarthen Fans and Glacial Cwms
35 Nant Pedol and Drysgol
36 Sinc Giedd and Bannau Sir Gaer
37 Afon Twrch
38 Henrhyd Falls and River Tawe
39 Cwm Sawdde and Garreg Las
7 THE BLACK MOUNTAINS (Y MYNYDDOEDD DUON)
40 Pen Cerrig-calch and Table Mountain
41 Craig y Cilau and Cwm Onneu Fach
42 Crug Mawr and Sugar Loaf
43 Llanthony Priory, Offa’s Dyke and Bal Mawr
44 Lord Hereford’s Knob and Nant Bwch
45 Castell Dinas and Waun Fach
APPENDIX 1 Routes by Difficulty
APPENDIX 2 Routes by Interest
APPENDIX 3 Index of Information Boxes
APPENDIX 4 Brief Welsh–English Glossary
APPENDIX 5 Useful Contacts
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Route 27: Height gained is 644 metres (2113 ft) not 696 ft, but the mileage is correct. Thanks to Roger Craven for this correction.
Incorrect Maps and grid references.
This guide is designed to be used in conjunction with the Brecon Beacons National Park Outdoor Leisure Maps (1:25 000):
Western area, OL12 and Eastern Area, OL13.
Unfortunately some of the grid references and the Map codes given at the start of each walk are incorrect.
Walks 1 to 39 are on map OL12.
Walks 1 to 22 start at grid reference SO
(e.g. Walk 1 starts at SO 006 246 on Map OL12)
Walks 40 to 45 are on map OL13
Walk 40 starts at SO 223 192.
In Cicerone’s usual format with sections of OS 1:50,000 map included, this book consists of guides to circular walks in the Brecon Beacons. One or two might serve
as diversions for paddlers wanting excursions from the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. Some routes might be relevant to enthusiasts wanting to tackle spate streams, the frequent snow in the pictures helping set the scene for winter runs.
The hill walks are relevant as they are often the only was to reach launch points. For those interested in wildlife there are long lists of plants with scientific names, birds to see are noted and a hatred of conifer plantations is repeated at intervals.
Of the book’s seven sections, the waterfall country will be the one of greatest interest to paddlers, also the section with least hillclimbing. Sgwd yr Eira is the jewel in the crown and the book recalls how canoeists used it to set the British height record (Shaun Baker and friends, Jun 87 cover story, actually a world record, with Sgwd Isaf Clun-gwyn Part 1 as a bonus) although there are plenty of others pictured for waterfall jumpers to contemplate. Some informative sketches explain the geology which results in the falls in this area andexplains why there are deep pools below the falls, essential for jumpers. Information on the falls and how to reach them is of particular value, perhaps not obtained so easily elsewhere (although it was a book on walking in this area that alerted Shaun to the possibilities in the first place).
Canoeist magazine, December 2010
'If you would like a book that is well laid out, easy to follow, has a range of different routes and full of helpful and interesting information, then this guide will do you very well.
I have already had two friends I regularly walk with try and leave my house with this guide, says it all really!'
Tristan Bawn, www.ukactiveoutdoors.co.uk, 2013
Andy has been a professional photographer for over 20 years and specialises in wildlife and landscape photography. He moved to West Wales in 1999 to be immersed in the environment which inspires him and wrote and photographed Coastline Wales in 2008. He regularly takes his stills and video cameras underwater and is currently working on a number of new books and video projects. A former university lecturer, he now combines his love of photography and his passion for passing on skills to others in a series of photographic and video workshops in West Wales. He is also an external tutor for Aberystwyth University in outdoor and wildlife photography.View Guidebooks by Andrew Davies
David has enjoyed the mountains of Britain all his life, walking and climbing in Wales, Scotland and the Lake District. He has also trekked and climbed in Nepal, Pakistan, Tibet, Ladakh, New Zealand, Ecuador and Patagonia. He was head of a university unit of forensic dentistry, working here and abroad. He is now Emeritus Professor in the subject and in 2003 was appointed OBE for his work.View Guidebooks by David Whittaker
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