Pen y Fan and Corn Du circular walk

Pont Ar Daf

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The start of the Pont ar Daf footpath © N McAllister

The start of the Pont ar Daf footpath

Looking north to Corn Du from Bwlch Duwynt © Simon Rose 2010

Looking north to Corn Du from Bwlch Duwynt

Looking south into the Neuadd Valley from the burial chamber on Pen y Fan © R. Reith

Looking south into the Neuadd Valley from the burial chamber on Pen y Fan

Lone figure standing on Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons © Paul Harris

Lone figure standing on Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons

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

The Storey Arms with the old coach road on the left

Route overview

A strenuous mountain walk on well-made footpaths to the summit of Pen y Fan and Corn du.

Route details

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

Route of the Pen y Fan and Corn Du walk in the Breacon Beacons
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Pont ar Daf car park, grid ref: SN988199

  1. 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.

    Show/HideBlaen Taf Fawr

    The footbridge crosses the Blaen Taf Fawr that flows all the way to Cardiff.

    The start of the Pont ar Daf footpath © N McAllister
  2. 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).

    Show/HideCorn Du

    Corn Du is the second highest peak in the Brecon Beacons.

    Looking north to Corn Du from Bwlch Duwynt © Simon Rose 2010
  3. 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.

    Show/HideSummit plateau

    The summit was once covered in peat and grass. The Neuadd valley and reservoir stretch away towards the south.

    Looking south into the Neuadd Valley from the burial chamber on Pen y Fan © R. Reith
  4. 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.

    Show/HideCorn Du

    Corn Du as viewed from Pen y Fan.

    Lone figure standing on Corn Du in the Brecon Beacons © Paul Harris
  5. 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.

    Show/HideStorey Arms

    Once a coaching inn, Storey Arms is now an outdoor education centre.

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

End: Pont ar Daf car park grid ref: SN988199

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 4 miles (6km)
  • Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • OS Map: Explorer OL12 Brecon Beacons National Park
  • Terrain:

    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

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