Pen y Fan and Corn Du circular walk
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A strenuous mountain walk on well-made footpaths to the summit of Pen y Fan and Corn du.
- Bus stop
Start: Pont ar Daf car park, grid ref: SN988199
Take the footpath through the woods at the southern end of the car park, pass through the kissing gate and cross the wooden footbridge over the river. From here, follow the footpath uphill towards Bwlch Duwynt. As you take this steady climb up the footpath you'll notice the different methods of footpath construction used on the Brecon Beacons. The gullies on the uphill side of the path take the water flowing downhill to suitable crossing points were we have constructed culverts; this keeps most of the water off the footpath and prevents erosion. Some of the footpath has been stone pitched. This method of creating a hardwearing surface predates Roman times, but is costly and very time consuming.
Corn Du is the second highest peak in the Brecon Beacons. Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbour, Pen y Fan, it is nevertheless a beauty in its own right.
Once you reach Bwlch Duwynt (which means 'Windy Pass' in Welsh), take the footpath at about 11 oclock which leads across the southern slope of Corn Du. You'll soon reach the saddle between Corn Du and Pen y Fan. From here there are spectacular views to the south, down the Neuadd Valley to the reservoirs that are above Merthyr Tydfil. Continue along the footpath for the last push to the summit of southern Britains highest mountain - Pen y Fan - at 2906 feet (886m).
Pen y Fan is the highest mountain in southern Britain. Deservedly popular with walkers, the views from the summit are truly spectacular. It's often seen as the terminus of many walks but there are plenty of other Beacons worth exploring too.
The cairn on the summit was a Bronze Age burial chamber. When it was excavated in 1991 a bronze brooch and spearhead were found inside the chamber. The views from the top are spectacular when weather permits. To the north, the town of Brecon can be seen and on a particularly good day the summit of Cadair Idris is just visible. Looking east you can just make out the Sugar Loaf in the far distance, and to the south-west the Bristol Channel at Porthcawl can be seen on a bright day. Once you've finished taking in the views, retrace your steps to the saddle inbetween Pen y Fan and Corn Du, and make your way up the pitched footpath to the summit plateau of Corn Du.
The summit was once covered in peat and grass. The Neuadd valley and reservoir stretch away towards the south.
The cairn on Corn Du was also a Bronze Age burial chamber. Looking north-west from here into the Cwm Llwch valley is Llyn Cwm Llwch. On the ridge line there's the Tommy Jones obelisk, a memorial to a five year old boy who died after getting lost on the Beacons in 1900. Leave Corn Du from the northern end and climb down the steep section to reach the pitched path below which heads towards the obelisk. After about 330 yards (300m) the path divides, take the permisive path to the left that heads down towards the stream, Blaen Taf Fawr. Once across the stream, head upwards following the path to the gate on the Gyrn. Y Gyrn has a considerable amount of heather on it, this is because the grazing by sheep and ponies is managed to promote a healthy habitat for upland birds like red grouse.
Corn Du as viewed from Pen y Fan.
Keep following the path and descend down to the A470 at Storey Arms. The old coach road is still visible on the right as you reach the gate. Turn left and follow the road back to Pont Ar daf car park.
Once a coaching inn, Storey Arms is now an outdoor education centre.
End: Pont ar Daf car park grid ref: SN988199
In partnership with
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 4 miles (6km)
- Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park
A circular walk to the top of southern Britain's highest mountain Pen y Fan on well-made upland footpaths. Dogs are welcome but must be kept under close control.
- How to get here:
By foot: The Beacons Way runs from Abergavenny to Llangadog and passes through the property. The Taff Trail travels along the western and eastern fringes of the property from Beacon (8 miles / 12 km) and also approaches the property from Talybont-on-Usk to the east
By bus: X43 Sixty Sixty buses, Cardiff to Abergavenny, alight Storey Arms for access to the Beacons. For more information go to Transport Direct
By bike: National Cycle Network Route 8 (Lon Las Cymru) and the Taff Trail travels along the western and eastern fringes of the property from Brecon and also approaches the property from the north, from Talybont-on-Usk to the east and Cardiff from the south. The infamous Gap Road, the highest trail in England and Wales, crosses the property and joins the trail at Torpantau
By train: Merthyr Tydfil station 12 miles (19km), Abergavenny station 30 miles (48km). Links from both stations with X43 bus
By car: 8 miles (13km) from Brecon on A470, Brecon to Cardiff
- Telephone: 01874 625515
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brecon-beacons-central/