Henrhyd Falls and Nant Llech walk
Discover the tranquil surroundings at Henrhyd Falls as you take this adventurous walk to the highest waterfall in South Wales.
Admire the spectacular falls in full flow
Plunging into the wooded Graig Llech Gorge, Henrhyd is best seen after a heavy downpour; please take care as paths can get very slippery. After visiting the falls take time to meander down the Nant Llech valley admiring the haven for wildlife that surrounds you and passing a disused watermill, the Melin Llech, along the way.
National Trust car park (no charges apply) grid ref: SN853121
Start your walk from the National Trust car park and pass through two gates, following the footpath down the slope to a path junction at the bottom. Turn left and cross the wooden bridge, walking up the steep steps to the footpath at the top. The bridge was built in 1985 by a team of international volunteers. The steps were added in 2001 following a landslide that destroyed the original path. Continue along the footpath to the waterfall. Henrhyd Falls is the highest in South Wales at 90 ft (27m). Take care as the spray from the falls can make the ground slippery. Once you've taken time to enjoy the spectacular waterfall, retrace your steps back across the bridge to the path junction.
Henrhyd Falls and Coelbren
Henrhyd Falls plunges into the Graig Llech Gorge, an enclosed and steep sided valley that creates its own micro climate where moss and ferns thrive. Found on the western side of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the nearby village of Coelbren. Originally just a chapel and collection of farms – Coelbren grew rapidly with the coming of the Brecon Forest Tramroad in 1820 (check out John Christie), closely followed by the building of the Brecon Swansea and Neath railway in the mid 1800’s– creating Coelbren Junction. Station Road is a clue to the villages railway connections although the Romans had beat the Victorians 2000 years ago when they built Sarn Helen (Roman Road) nearby with an adjoining fort and marching camp – all built in the first decades of the Roman Occupation (approx. AD43 to AD410)
Go straight ahead, following the footpath with Nant Llech on your left-hand side. The trees that cling to the steep sides of the valley are mainly sessile oak and ash, although you can also find small-leafed lime, alder and wych elm. Many of the mature ash trees have been affected by ash die back and we may see these disappear in time. Keep following the footpath and just after you cross a boardwalk, the smaller waterfall can be seen on your left.
Other falls and cascades
Trout can sometimes be seen trying to jump the smaller fall. The valley is a haven for wildlife where many woodland birds can be heard and seen. Keep your eyes open for dippers or even a kingfisher.
Keep following the footpath until you pass through a gate which marks the end of National Trust land. Then cross a small bridge and continue to follow the path down the valley. After about 15 minutes, you'll cross the site of a former large landslide. These features are part of the natural processes that have helped create the dramatic landscape of this steep gorge.
Continue along this path until you reach the site of the disused watermill - the Melin Llech (these buildings are private property, please do not enter). From Melin Llech, continue past the bridge on the left and follow the track uphill for about 23m. Join the footpath on your left and continue along this path to a kissing gate and minor road, cross the road and bear right to another kissing gate on your left.
Preserving our special places
A lot of hard work goes into maintaining our special places and Henrhyd is no exception. A team of dedicated National Trust staff and volunteers work on the many footpaths, bridges, styles and gates every year to help keep the countryside accessible for you to enjoy.
Pass through the kissing gate then follow the path until the River Tawe comes into view. This river flows all the way to Swansea and into the Bristol Channel. You have now reached the midway point of the walk. You can now return to the minor road by the path that you have just followed. At the road, you can either turn left uphill and follow the lanes back to the car park or, retrace the whole route back to Henrhyd Falls following the path by the Nant Llech.
National Trust car park, grid ref: SN853121
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