Tarell Valley walk

Storey Arms, Brecon Beacons

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The Storey Arms with the old coach road on the left © N McAllister

The Storey Arms with the old coach road on the left

The varying size stones that made up the coach road. © R.Reith

The varying size stones that made up the coach road.

The River Tarell in the Tarell Valley near Brecon. © National Trust

The River Tarell in the Tarell Valley near Brecon.

Glanrhyd Cottages an old tavern. © N.McAllister

Glanrhyd Cottages an old tavern.

Route overview

Follow this glaciated valley down the 18th-century metalled track that was once the main road from the Midlands to Cardiff, then cross and follow alongside the river Tarell, past remains of farmsteads that once spread along this valley at the same period as the road.

Route details

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

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

Start: Storey Arms, grid ref: SN982203

  1. Start the walk by crossing the road from the car park to be outside the Storey Arms. Take the track to the left of the centre down the valley towards Brecon and pass through a kissing gate and cross a stone bridge.

    Show/HideStorey Arms

    Once a coaching inn, Storey Arms in now an outdoor education centre run by Cardiff Council. Many a soldier on training in the Brecon Beacons has been told by their instructors that they can have a pint there when they finish their long walk. Sadly this is not the case and they have to climb into the back of the truck back to camp unrewarded.

    The Storey Arms with the old coach road on the left © N McAllister
  2. Continue downhill along the coach road, on your left next to the river below the new main road you will see stone built sheep pens. These pens were used to wash the sheep before taking them to market. Pass through a large gate and continue until you reach a stile on your left signposted for the youth hostel.

    Show/HideOld roads

    The metalled track on the open land is a good example of how roads were built. All stones would have been no more than an inch in diameter and the wooden coach wheels would grind dust from the stones between the gaps creating a solid track, however you would do a lot of bouncing in the back of the coach as you travelled. These days rubber tyres on vehicles suck up the dust allowing water in that loosens the stones.

    The varying size stones that made up the coach road. © R.Reith
  3. Once you have crossed the stile, walk down to the river and cross it by the wooden bridge. Just above the bridge are the remains of an Bronze Age burial chamber. Turn right and follow the fence above the river until you reach another stile.

  4. You now want to follow the path beside the fence along the river valley. You will cross several stiles and fields. Keep your eyes open as you are surrounded by wildlife as well as farm animals.

    Show/HideRiver Tarell

    The river is home to otters and dippers. Salmon and sewin (sea trout) have been known to swim up this river, quite some feat as the River Tarell flows into the River Usk which travels all the way to the sea at Newport. Look out for red kites, as they are also around.

    The River Tarell in the Tarell Valley near Brecon. © National Trust
  5. Keep the river and fence on your right until you come to the end of the fields. Go over the stile across the bridge and onto the tarmac road, turn right leading up and past the cottages called Old Glanryhd. Keeping straight ahead, the tarmac road will end at Blaen Glyn farm and the National Trust office. You are back on the metalled track of the old coach road, follow this all the way back up to Storey Arms.

    Show/HideOld brewery and tavern

    Glanryhd cottages used to be a tavern and brewery serving the old road back in the 18th century. Drovers would leave their sheep, guarded by their sons, close to the river (in an area marked by pine trees in a circle) and go to the tavern for the evening.

    Glanrhyd Cottages an old tavern. © N.McAllister

End: Storey Arms, grid ref: SN982203

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 5 miles (8km)
  • Time: 3 hours
  • OS Map: Landranger 160; Explorer OL12
  • Terrain:

    A mix of walking surfaces from stone tracks, grass tracks, and tarmaced road. There are a few steep slopes and several stiles to cross. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leads. The stiles are dog friendly.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: The Beacons Way passes through Storey Arms

    By bus: X43 and 470 alight Storey Arms, Information from Traveline Cymru

    By train: Merthyr Tydfil 10 miles (16km)

    By car: A470 Merthyr Tydfil to Brecon. Post Code LD3 8NL

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