4 hrs 55 mins
Leave the car park from the far end at the picnic bench. Follow the path up onto the road and turn left. Follow the road until you reach the split paths. Stay on the concrete road past the green barrier and down to the old filter house. Walking down the concrete road towards the reservoir, on a clear day you will be able to see Corn Du and Pen-y-Fan in the distance.
Once you pass through the gate at the filter house, walk down the bank to your left, cross the bridge and walk up the bank the other side. The view of the Lower Neuadd reservoir is beautiful. If you look straight ahead through the trees you can catch a glimpse of the Neuadd house. Turn left and walk alongside the reservoir to the gate that will lead you to your first climb and it really is a climb!
Follow the path and the fence line straight up. This area can be very muddy and boggy. A new path has just been laid and really does help, but can still be very muddy. As you near the summit it becomes steeper and rocky. When you reach the summit you will be rewarded with the views from Twyn Mwyalchod trig pillar. On a clear day you will be able to see Pentwyn reservoir to the south, the peaks of the beacons to the north, lower Neuadd reservoir and upper Neuadd reservoir (which is empty at present) below.
Once you have taken in the views and recovered from the climb, head north along the ridge path towards Pen-y-Fan. This path has spectacular views. It is just over two and a half miles before you need to bear right and head towards Corn Du. This section of the walk is usually very busy. Lots of people will be walking up to Pen-y-fan from more popular routes at Pont ar Daf and Storey arms car park. Corn Du will be the first summit and then a sharp descent and climb up to Pen-y-Fan.
The descent from Pen-y-Fan summit is very steep and rocky (known as Jacobs ladder). Take care as it can be slippery underfoot. The view of the Cribyn’s ascent in front of you can be very daunting. However the surrounding views seem to take the edge off it!
The summit of the Cribyn has a large rock, which is great for a rest after the climb and an opportunity to absorb the breathtaking views and the beautiful escarpments.
There is now a short ridgeline walk until you reach another steep descent, before the climb to the summit of Fan-y-Big (pronounced Van-e-Beeg). The ridgeline paths are well defined and there has been new stones laid for the path leading to the summit of Fan-y-Big. Don’t forget to stop at the diving board on the summit of Fan-y-Big for the famous photo!
From the diving board rock at Fan-y-Big, pick up the path which travels in a southerly direction. You will now be walking the Beacons Way. The Beacons way is a 95 mile long distance path stretching the whole length of the Brecon Beacons National park. Follow this ridgeline path for just over half a mile. You will pass by some stone built shelters and have some great views looking back towards the Neuadd reservoirs. When the footpath bears to the right, shortly after the shelters and a slight ascent, this path is difficult to spot. There is no sign post there and you can get distracted by the views to your left. This is where an OS map or the mobile app becomes extremely helpful.
At the pile of stones the footpath takes a sharp left and then once you reach the ridgeline a sharp right. More spectacular views as you follow the ridge line path and then your descent past Blaen y Glyn waterfalls.
When you reach the bottom of the mountain, there is a car park. Turn right and pass the stream heading towards the road. Turn right when you reach the road and follow the road to the sign for Taf Fechan Forest and Torpantau Brecon railway station. Follow the Taff Trail signs turning right. You are now following the Taff trail on forestry road. There are three gates to pass through and there are usually sheep in this area.
This section is approximately one mile. The Taff Trail rejoins the road the walk started from at the green barrier to the Neuadd Reservoir. Turn left at the road following the Taff Trail sign and head back to the car park.