Day one of the Brecon Beacons Super Challenge walk

Brecon, Brecon Beacons, Wales

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The old army camp at Cwm Gwdi © National Trust

The old army camp at Cwm Gwdi

Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons © Joe Cornish

Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons

Cribyn from Pen y Fan © NTPL/Paul Harris

Cribyn from Pen y Fan

Route overview

Mark Rowe, travel writer and seasoned walker, takes on this two-day Super Challenge walk that sees you travel from Brecon to Abergavenny. You will travel over the high mountains and along the tranquil Brecon and Monmouth canal. Day one starts from Brecon and heads into the mountains of the Brecon Beacons.

  • Read more about the experiences Mark had during day one and day two of his walk in the Brecon Beacons

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Trail Map
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Brecon, grid ref: SO043286

  1. Follow the road out of town on west end of Brecon along Newgate Street, turning up along Ffrwdgrech Road, with Drovers Arms pub on your right.

  2. At the three fork roads, take the far left. Follow the road up to and over the cattle grid (with the Cwm Gwdi National Trust sign) and continue up pass the car park and onto the hill.

    Show/HideCwm Gwdi

    Cwm Gwdi was once a military camp and the car park area is where the Nissen huts used to stand (cylindrical structures made from steel, commonly used during the Second World War). The Army used the hill - Allt Ddu - on the left for mortar firing practice.

    The old army camp at Cwm Gwdi © National Trust
  3. Once over the second stile, follow the path line up Cefn Cwm Llwch to Pen y fan, which stands at 2,906ft (886m) high.

    Show/HidePen y Fan

    At 2,906ft (886m), Pen y Fan is the highest mountain in southern Britain. Over 250,000 people walk to the top each year, resulting in £100,000 being spent on footpath construction and maintenance.

    Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons © Joe Cornish
  4. Looking at the Pen y Fan sign turn right and head down the ridge, then up to Cribyn. Take the ridge down to the metalled track.

    Show/HideCraig Cwm Sere

    The path from the top of Pen y Fan to Cribyn has been stone-pitched - this method of path construction dates from before Roman times. It's very hardwearing but takes a long time to make. This path took over four years, with the help of staff and volunteers on working holidays.

    Cribyn from Pen y Fan © NTPL/Paul Harris
  5. Head up, taking the contour path of Fan y Big. Just after the large embedded stone on your left (SO041197) - half way around the ridge, take the small track half-right across the moor. This leads to a small cairn and a larger, erratic collection of stones and angular, splintered shards of rock (SO047189). The path keeps ahead and then bears around to the left, joining with a clear track by the waterfalls at Blaen Caerfanell.

  6. Follow this path along the edge of the ridge and down to the car park.

End: Abergavenny, grid ref: SO298143

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Hard
  • Distance: 16 miles (26km)
  • Time: 6 hours to 7 hours
  • OS Map: Landranger 160 and 161; Explorer OL12 and OL13
  • Terrain:

    Some road-walking at the start but mainly mountain paths and forest tracks. Dogs are welcome but must be on short leads near livestock. Sensible walking gear and a map are essential.

  • How to get here:

    By bus: Route X43, Cardiff to Abergavenny, see Traveline-cymru

    By train: Abergavenny, 25 miles (40km)

    By car: A40 from east and west. A470 from north and south. Postcode LD3 9AL

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