Brecon Beacons National Park (Bannau Brycheiniog) is a protected area covering 1344km². It earnt it's national park status in 1957.
It consists of mountain ranges, lakes, reservoirs, canals, forests,and historic towns and villages. Not forgetting its caves, castles, nature reserves and spectacular waterfalls. There is also an abundance of wildlife and the Red Kite is an extremely common sight, gliding in the skies above. The park also achieved UNESCO Global Geopark status in 2005 as Wales’ first geopark. Its is also a Dark sky reserve.
My favorite part of the Brecon Beacons is the mountain ranges.
To the western area is the Black Mountain Range, also know as the Camarthenshire Fans, the heighest peak within the range is Fan Brycheiniog (802m). Llyn Fan y Fawr and Llyn Fan y Fach are lakes formed from glacial movement during the ice ages. The shape of the landscape is truly breath taking with its escarpments, lakes and cwms (amphitheatre like valleys). Picws Du (749 metres), Fan Foel and Fan Hir (761 metres) are popular with walkers as it forms a ridge along side the lakes. In the far western area of the Black Mountain Range lies Tair Carn Uchaf (482m) which has a huge cairn at the summit (one of three cairns which gives the peak its name). Gareg Lwyd is a subsidary summit of Fan Brychenioig at 616m it has no footpath to access the summit, but can be reached from the A4069 mountain road. It has a dry stone built OS triangulation pillar at the summit and a large cairn.
The Black Mountains can be found to the eastern area of the park. It forms a natural boarder between England and Wales. These are made from old red sandstone and were once quarried for building materials.The highest peak of the Black Mountains is Waun Fach (811m), other well know peaks include Black Mountain (703m), Hay Bluff (677m), the Sugar Loaf (596m) and Ysgyryd Fawr (486m). Crug Hywel, Pen Allt Mawr and Pen Cerrig Calch which are subsidiary summits of Waun Fach are also popular walking routes. Crug Hywel also know as table mountain is taken up entirley by a iron age hill fort. The Beacons Way which is a foot path strecthing from the eastern end of the park all the way to the western end, runs through Table Mountain and on to Crug Mawr, which then ends (or begins) at the Skirrid ( Ysgyryd fawr). Offas Dyke another long distance path which runs from North Wales in Prestatyn, 177 miles to the south near Chepstow, passes along side the black mountains, following the Wales and England border.
The Central Beacons are probably the most visited mountain range within the park, as this is home to Pen-y-Fan. Pen-y-Fan is the heighest point in southern britain at a height of 886 metres. Followed closely by its neighbours Corn Du (873m), Cribyn (795m), Fan-y-Big (719m), Bwlch y Ddwyallt (754m) and Waun Rydd (769m).
Corn Du, Pen-y-Fan, Cribyn and Fan-y-Big (pronounced van e beeg) form a horseshoe shape around two reservoirs, upper neaudd and lower neaudd. This horse shoe walk along the ridge is extremely popular with walkers.
The Taff Fawr valley seperates the Central Beacons from Fforest Fawr massif, this area has an under ground cave system, Ogof Ffynnon Ddu and Porth yr Ogof. The Fforest Fawr massive also has the peaks of Fan Fawr (734m), Fan Frynych (629m), Craig Cerrig-Gleisiad (629m), Fan Llia (632m), Fan Nedd (663m), Fan Gyhirych (725m), Fan Bwlch Chwyth (603m) and Cefn Cul (562m).
All of my walking routes available to download on GPX file click on links under maps. For use with Ordnance Survey Maps.
Pen y Fan Circular Walk
3 hrs 50 mins
3 hrs 50 mins
- Free parking Lower Neaudd Reservoir Carpark
- This walk starts at car park just south of the Neaudd Reservoirs.
- Follow the road up to lower Neauadd Reservoir, turn left and walk along side reservoir, through gate and follow the outer edge of trees up to the summit where Twyn Mwyalchod triangular pillar awaits.
- Its just then pretty much following the path on the ridge line all the way around. Up over Corn Du, Pen y Fan and Cribyn. There is also an extended route which will take in Fan y Big and Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion (see maps below).
This is the extended route for the Pen-y-Fan Circular. It takes you across Fan-y-Big (dont't forget to stop at the diving board for that famous photo) and Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion. Your on the Beacons Way from Pen-y-Fan until you desend to Upper Blaen y Glyn carpark, then pick up the Taff Trail and walk through Taff Fechan forest back to the carpark. You maybe lucky and see the Brecon railway steam train at Torpantau station as you pass.
4 hrs 45 mins