A walk in the Brecon Beacons National Park comes complete with perfect picnic spots, awe-inspiring views, fascinating historic sites and grand geological features. Here is a collection of our top picks…so your 2019 is full of nature, fresh air and epic views!
1. 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
2. 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. More here.
3. Pen Y Fan
A walk up Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales, is a must do in 2019! Challenge yourself and feel exhilarated when reaching the top where you will get superb 360 degree views of the whole National Park. With well maintained paths taking you to the summit as well as parking at the base of the mountain, it is an accessible and enjoyable walk for all. More here.
4. 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
5. 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.
6. Craig y Nos Country Park
Situated in a dramatic and romantic location in the secluded upper Swansea Valley, Craig-y-nos Country Park is a 40-acre Victorian garden with shady woodlands, meadows, ponds, lazy lawns and rushing rivers. You are welcome to bring your dog but please keep it on a lead. Dogs are not permitted in the hay meadow while sheep are grazing in the winter months. The river meanders through the park, but just as at home here is the designed landscape of tall trees, lush meadows, woodland plantations, fishpond, lakes, lawns and woodland walks. There is plenty for you to see as you walk around. Discover more here.
7. Bwlch to Tor y Foel
It’s Bwlch with magnitude. Fresh air, lush valleys and big views – this energetic, exhilarating walk comes with lots of ups and downs, with forest, lake, canal and historic tramroad along the way. Find the walking route here.
8. 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. More here.
9. Mynydd Illtud
Cracking commons and ancient settlements. An easy but rewarding walk from the National Park Visitor Centre at Libanus. Along the way, you’ll find wonderful wildlife, panoramic views and an Iron Age hillfort. The common takes its name from St Illtud, a Celtic Christian missionary and teacher of St David, Wales’s patron saint. According to legend, Illtud is buried on the common not far from the Visitor Centre, but his grave is now thought to be at Llantwit Major. For a full route description, please click here.
10. Riverside walk and the Warren, Hay on Wye
The riverside walk or Bailey Walk follows the old railway line alongside the wooded banks of the River Wye and leads to an area of grassland known locally as the ‘Warren’. This is a level walk, with up to four different start points. The surface of the old railway line route itself is mainly compacted earth and stone dust. There are two wide kissing gates along the route and a third gate at Gypsy Castle Lane car park which can also be fully-opened using a RADAR key to allow a mobility scooter through (please re-lock the gate after you’ve passed through it). When you reach the open ground of The Warren, the route down to the river the surface changes to compacted earth and grass. This area is grazed by sheep and has a large number of molehills. More info here.