Welcome to the Brecon Beacons National Park. Here is a collection of our top picks of walks to make sure your 2017 if full of nature!
Nestled into the southern slopes of the Fforest Fawr massif, west of Merthyr Tydfil, Waterfall Country is one of the most beautiful and popular parts of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the Fforest Fawr Geopark, with steep, tree-lined gorges and an abundance of tumbling water.
Known in Welsh as Coed-y-Rhaeadr (Wood of the Water), Waterfall Country lies within the triangle formed by the villages of Hirwaun, Ystradfellte, and Pontneddfechan. Here, old red sandstone and a long belt of outcrop limestone have created a highly distinctive environment of wooded gorges, caves, swallow holes and waterfalls.
A waymarked trail along a gorgeous woodland walk is the best path to talk to get to Sgwyd Yr Eira, the most famous and stunning waterfalls in waterfall country. This walk can be made longer by taking in ‘The Four Falls Trail‘, which is at least three hours but takes in the area’s other gorgeous waterfalls. Find out more about walking in waterfall country here.
2. Pen y Fan
A walk up Pen y Fan the highest mountain in South Wales is a must do in 2017! Challenge yourself and feel exhilarated when reaching the top where you will get suberb 360 degree views of the whole National Park. With well mainntained paths taking you to the summit as well as parking at the base of the mountain, it is an acessible and enjoyable walk for all. More here.
3. Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
It is one of our most beautiful and peaceful waterways following the line of the lovely wooded Usk Valley, it is a true hidden gem. The navigable section of the canal runs for 35 miles from Brecon to the Pontymoile basin. Its location makes it a haven for wildlife and a favourite with nature-lovers, walkers and cyclists. The northern section forms part of the Taff Trail Long Distance Footpath, a 55 mile route that can be walked or cycled that starts at Brecon Basin and ends in Cardiff
4. Craig y Nos Country Park
5. 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
6. Garwnant Visitor Centre
For a great day out for the whole family why not explore one of the many woodlands open to the public within the Brecon Beacons National Park. Garwnant Visitor Centre, owned and managed by Forestry Commission Wales, is situated in Coed Taf Fawr, a large area of forestry situated in the National Park and Fforest Fawr Geopark. Coed Taf Fawr is a large mixed woodland with pleasant walks and streams running through it. It is nestled around three reservoirs,with beautiful views.
There are fabulous views from Dinefwr Castle. It was the capital of Deheubarth under Lord Rhys, a key figure in Welsh history. A Sight of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the only parkland National Nature Reserve (NNR) in Wales, Dinefwr Park is a microcosm of Welsh heritage and natural history. The estate slopes down to the level fields forming the Tywi floodplain where small lakes on the plain edges add more beauty and interest to the landscape. Wynford Vaughan Thomas once said: “ If you take a handful of the soil at Dinefwr and squeeze it in your hand, the juice that will flow from your hands is the essence of Wales.“
8. Storey Arms to the Visitor Centre
A dramatic trek through the heart of the Brecon Beacons, this moderate one-way walk through an inspiring mountainous landscape is home to rare flora and fauna. Steep descents, rocky ravines and peaceful country lanes all feature on a journey that’s packed with variety, ending at the National Park Visitor Centre. Find out the route here.
9. Talybont Reservoir and Forest
Set in the central Brecon Beacons, this is a popular place to visit with a road crossing the 380 metre long dam to forestry walks on the far side. The wide tracks in the Talybont Forest on the eastern side of the reservoir join up with the Brinore Tramroad and Taff Trail to give longer walks with no barriers. Most of the forestry tracks near the reservoir are level but get steeper further up the hill you go. Lay-bys and car parks alongside the Talybont to Pontsticill road offer good views of the reservoir and surrounding hills. There is one bird hide suitable for the disabled. More.
10. Llangorse Lake-Llangasty Bird Hide
Take a peaceful walk to the south shore of Llangorse Lake, where the wildflower meadows, reed beds and bird hide at Llangasty are an ideal spot for watching wildlife.Lots of different types of birds live in and visit the area including wildfowl and waders. The meadows around the bird hide are on level terrain and support a wide variety of wildflowers, including orchids, which carpet the meadows during the summer months. The bird hide which has benches and built-in bird guides is designed to accommodate wheelchairs. There are two routes to the bird hide:
The route from the car park at Llangasty Church passes through 3 narrow kissing gates. This is a level and gentle 700 metre walk across meadows, a small bit of woodland and short sections of boardwalk over the wettest areas.
If you are unable to walk far or you use a wheelchair, there is a route which allows cars to get closer to the bird hide. If you wish to use this route please contact the National Park warden service for more details. This route should only be used during the drier times of the year, with help needed to open the 2 large gates to the slipway. There is a gently- sloping, bumpy but wide grass path which leads to the ramp up to the bird-hide itself. This site is sometimes flooded during the winter. More
11. Llyn y Fan Fach
Llyn y Fan Fach, 12km southeast of Llandovery in the Brecon Beacons and is home to the tale of The Lady of the Lake.
“The story goes that in the 13th century a farmer grazing cattle on the nearby slopes spotted the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.“She was a fairy maiden, who agreed to marry him on one proviso – he must not hit her more than twice.“In time, the inevitable happened – three strikes, and the otherworldly wife disappeared back into the lake, taking her magic cows with her.”
Here’s a link to a walk to Llyn y Fan Fach and Llyn y Fan Fach
12. Carreg Cennen Castle
Carreg Cennen is a haunting, atmospheric castle that appears to spring out of legend and fairytale.
Carreg Cennen Castle never ceases to amaze. There are few castles in Wales which can boast a more spectacular location. Its stout, weatherbeaten ruins crown a sheer limestone crag overlooking the remote Black Mountain (Mynydd Du) and the River Cennen in the western corner of the Brecon Beacons National Park, around four miles southeast of Llandeilo.
An attack on the castle must have been a daunting prospect. Ingeniously adapted to its rocky hilltop, its core is a high walled, strongly towered enclosure, protected by a succession of pits, drawbridges and gatehouses. Approach from the other direction is impossible, for the castle tiptoes on the edge of a sheer 100m cliff. Find out more here