‘Brecon Beacons’ walk – South Wales

DSC_0630Probably the classic ridge walk in the Southern part of the UK, the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe walk starts with a gradual climb, a couple of tough pulls (made truly worth it for the amazing views if you are lucky with the weather) and a fabulous return to the start point but with a pretty precipitous scramble from the ridge edge to the valley floor. The start and end point for the the 9.5 mile circuit is Pont Cwmfedwen car park (map below). A short hike up a minor road and take the path to the right that rose slowly and steadily to the N on the Western flank of Fan y Big. (There are options on where to start and finish. Choose the one that suits). Three miles from the start having ascended 1500 ft to the scarp edge of the horseshoe, the views to the North open up rewarding your efforts. Turning to the W and scaling Cribyn the views get better. Which is just as well, as the steep descent, then the clamber up Pen y Fan is hard work. We had been incredibly fortunate with the weather during our walk given it was October. At the top of Pen y Fan we relaxed and enjoyed brilliant blue sky and crystal clear views to the N and S back down the valley with barely a murmur of wind, just a light, cooling breeze. From Pen y Fan it’s a pleasant 5 mile descent generally to the S past Corn Du along the edge of the valley with a precarious scramble back into the valley in order to cross the small dam of the lower part of the Neuadd Reservoir system, then rejoining our original path back to our start point. The alternative route having clambered back to the valley would have been to stay on the Western side of the valley and small river and take the path through the pine woods back to the minor road a few hundred feet from the car park. Next time perhaps. It’s a great day walk and if the weather is with you, stunningly beautiful. We were very lucky. Suggest strong trail shoes as a minimum for the walk. Wind shirt, gloves and hat vital, wet weather gear a wise back-up.

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View to the North West of Pen y Fan 
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…and to the South 
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The view West back to the steep valley edge from the lower pond of the Dam system

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