This week’s Walking Wednesday post gives you some ideas on all the places in the Brecon Beacons where you can enjoy a day out with your dog!
Please follow the countryside code at ALL times!
1. Crickhowell and Table Mountain
This energetic walk gets the pulses pounding in more ways than one. The short, sharp ascent of 380m is breathtaking, just like the views across the Usk valley and Brecon Beacons from the summit.
You’ll want to spend some time exploring the charming little country town of Crickhowell before heading up to Table Mountain. There’s loads of places to take your dog for a wander. Head to Bullpit Meadow to walk alongside the River Usk next to the 13-arched bridge dating from the 16th century. Pop into The Bear for lunch and head to Pavlovas for an ice cream afterwards! (Both are dog friendly!) Crickhowell is a Walkers are Welcome town and hosts a well-regarded walking festival each March. Looming over Crickhowell, is Table Mountain, it’s easy to see why this 451m peak was thus named. Sloping at a slightly tipsy angle, its flat top is an iconic Brecon Beacons feature. The views are sensational. At your feet gazing westwards you have the lovely Usk valley rising into the central Brecon Beacons and industrial valleys of South Wales, while the brooding Black Mountains look over your shoulder. Full Route description here.
3. Sugarloaf Mountain
This rewarding walk takes you up the distinctive Sugar Loaf Mountain.Viewed from some directions it has the shape of a sugar loaf or even a volcano (which it isn’t!). It is a short climb to the summit and on a clear day it is possible to see hills as far north as Shropshire and as far south as Somerset as well as many of the major mountains in the Brecon Beacons. Below Sugar Loaf, Abergavenny is an interesting market town with a castle and market hall and lots to explore. More here
4. The Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
The section of the Mon and Brec which runs through the Brecon Beacons National Park was originally called the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal. Mainly supplied with water by the River Usk, it stretched for 35 miles from Brecon to Pontymoile, near Pontypool. Construction began in 1795 and the final section was completed in 1812. For a short walk start from the Coach and Horses in Llangynidr and make your way towards the three locks or to make a day of it walk from Llangynidr, passing through the peaceful village of Talybont and ending your journey at the Canal Basin in Brecon.
5. Cefn Llechid
Begin from the National Park Visitor Centre (also known as the Mountain Centre) to an out-of-the-way common features unspoilt landscapes alongside vivid reminders of the area’s human history. The neighbouring marshlands of Traeth Mawr (‘Great Mire’) and Traeth Bach (‘Little Mire’) are bursting with nature, forming part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. They provide a habitat for fascinating bog and fen plants like sundews and butterworts, which feed off insects trapped by their specially adapted leaves. You may also see birds like snipes, curlews and lapwings, as well as colourful dragonflies and rare damselflies. Remember to keep your dog on a lead!
6. Brecon Promenade
Take a stroll alongside the River Usk at Brecon Promenade, popular with families for walking, playing and exercising dogs. It consists of surfaced riverside paths, large meadows and a children’s play area. A tarmac path, complete with benches, runs downstream for several hundred metres from the Promenade car park towards Brecon and passes the weir, where the path slopes up and then down. At the town end of the walk there is a short but steep flood embankment which must be crossed to reach the car park near Watergate bridge. The walk further upstream from the Promenade car park leads to un-surfaced paths and meadows. A further 500 metres are accessible through narrow kissing gates.
7. Myndydd Illtyd Common
This is an easy walk that offers some great views of the Brecon Beacons. We recommend this walk as a dog friendly walk because there is loads of open space, not too strenuous, great for young children and those not up for a hilly climb! There are lots of options for routes to the top of the common.
An easy way to get there is to leave Brecon from the Llanfaes roundabout that connects the A40 and A470. From Brecon take the third exit that goes past the cattle market.
Go along the country road for about 2.5 miles, going past a cattle grid; continue along the same road veering right at the fork. After the fork find a convenient place to park, by the side of the road.
There are various paths along the common that are easy to spot. The paths are all short grassed and stand out amongst the high bracken. Follow the paths, making sure you’re heading in a north direction. The ascent is very steady and takes about an hour to walk up to the top. Whilst walking up, look out for the two bogs Traeth Mawr and Traeth Bach. The bogs have been designated as sites of special scientific interest due to the water having high acidic and alkaline levels, which have influenced the presence of some unique plants. There is also some belief that an ancient Iron Age village was situated there that may have sunk many centuries ago. The bogs can be avoided by sticking to the paths.
Towards the top of the peak, you will see a white marker that indicates the highest point around you. From the marker on a clear day there are fabulous 360 degree views of the area including a wonderful view of Pen-y-Fan.
Myndydd Illtud Common map reference: OS Grid Reference: Explorer Map OL 12 / OL13 or Landranger Map 160 / 161 – SO 104 205.
8. Talybont Reservoir and Forest Circular~
This walk covers a variety of terrain from forest land to old tram tracks. It’s a loop around a reservoir that can be extended into the forest and surrounding area.
Talybont reservoir is the largest still water reservoir in the Brecon Beacons, it’s 3km long.
To get there from Brecon or Crickhowell head to Talybont-on-Usk on the A40. When you get to Talybont, aim for the post office, if you are coming from the direction of the Star Inn, take a left over the canal bridge. Continue on the road, past the Brecons Beacons Holiday Cottages offices for about another mile.
After an accent up a steep hill and through some forested
land you will see the reservoir ahead. There are quite a lot of lay-bys and car parks along the Talybont to Pontsticill road.
Once you have parked up, walk along the road until you come to signs marking the reservoir footpath, there are various paths markings along the road. Make sure the path you choose is the circular one and just follow it. On the Eastern side of the reservoir, walkers can join onto the old Brinore Tramroad and Taff Trail to make the loop a bit longer.
The majority of forest tracks along the reservoir are level, however if you wish to go up the hill the paths get steeper.
The walk is about 3 to 4 miles long, and is easy to do. Talybont-on-Usk grid reference: Grid Reference: Explorer Map OL 12 / OL13 or Landranger Map 160 / 161 – SO 104 205.
9. Llangorse Lake
Llangorse Lake is the largest natural lake in the southern half of Wales and was created by glaciers during the last Ice Age.
The lake is also home to a 9th Century artificial island, known as the Crannog which has a small accessible visitor centre in the style of a thatched, round house. Keep your dog on a lead and they can enjoy walking around the lake and meeting other dogs!
Or why not have a go at Bwlch with Altitude? An energetic 12 mile circular walk with 360 degree views of Llangorse Lake. You will climb two hills – that’s the altitude bit -starting and ending at the pub in Bwlch.
10. Pen Y Fan
Take the footpath through the woods at the southern end of the car park, pass through the kissing gate and cross the wooden footbridge over the river. From here, follow the footpath uphill towards Bwlch Duwynt. Once you reach Bwlch Duwynt (which means ‘Windy Pass’ in Welsh), take the footpath at about 11 o’clock which leads across the southern slope of Corn Du. You’ll soon reach the saddle between Corn Du and Pen y Fan. From here there are spectacular views to the south, down the Neuadd Valley to the reservoirs that are above Merthyr Tydfil. Continue along the footpath for the last push to the summit of southern Britain’s highest mountain – Pen y Fan – at 2906 feet (886m). There isn’t a better way to enjoy the walk if you complete it with your pooch!